• Sridhar Kumaraswami, PTI, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Nov 28, 2003 14:41 IST

The border constituency of Najafgarh is set to witness one of the most interesting quadrangular contests in this election. Sitting Congress MLA Kanwal Yadav will have his work cut out defeating Independent candidate Ranbir Singh Kharab.

The presence of BJP’s Jai Om Dagar, it is being speculated, will not make much of a difference in the results, as it will ultimately boil down to Yadav and Kharab.

Also running from the constituency is Bharat Singh of the Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana's ruling party.

Though Najafgarh is dominated by Jats, the seat also has a sizeable Yadav and Brahmin population. Barring Yadav, the other three main candidates are Jats. The constituency has several villages and unauthorised colonies and there is a rural-urban divide of sorts.

It has been often seen that the unauthorised colonies do not vote the same way as the villages.

Yadav takes credit for having "established a Polytechnic college in Jaffarpur Kala, getting an underground reservoir constructed at Ujwa village and a bus terminal at Najafgarh to improve transport facilities". Dismissing the factor that he is not a Jat, he claims that "people do not vote on a caste basis".

Independent candidate Kharab, an influential Jat of the area, has promised to improve civic amenities in the constituency and solve the problem of acute water-shortage in the constituency. A factor that goes in his favour is that Najafgarh elected an independent candidate to the assembly in 1993.

The BJP's campaign is yet to pick up steam but Dagar — a Sahib Singh Verma loyalist — is confident. “People here respect Sahib Singh Verma and will vote for the BJP,” he declares. The BJP did not contest the elections last time in 1998 as they had left the seat for the INLD with which it was in alliance at that time. Dagar had however contested as an independent in 1998, a factor which contributed to the defeat of the INLD candidate.

The INLD candidate Bharat Singh, however, has the police worried. Singh is the brother of notorious gangster Kishan Pehelwan. That’s why the seat has been declared by the police as one of the most "sensitive" constituencies in the capital.

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