The newly drawn Dwarka assembly seat is caught in a tug of war between Purvanchalis (migrants from east UP and Bihar) and Rajputs.
Till last time, the constituency area was called Nasirpur and was dominated by the Purvanchalis. Mahabal Mishra, the sitting MLA, himself hails from Madhubani in Bihar.
But post-delimitation, areas like Sitapuri, which have a heavy Purvanchali concentration, have been deleted from this constituency.
The Election Commission places the electoral strength in the constituency at 1.40 lakh, of which only 18 per cent are now Purvanchalis. On the other hand, the number of Rajput voters — mainly Chauhans and Tanwars — in the redrawn constituency has increased considerably. Different estimates peg their electoral strength between 30,000 and 40,000 votes.
Meet the candidates
Congressman Mishra moved to Delhi in 1982. He was in the Army before he joined politics. He is known for his (Railway Minister) Lalu Yadav brand of mannerisms, and if he wins again, it would be his hat trick in the constituency.
BJP’s Pradyumn Rajput, on the other hand, is a first-time hopeful. He was born and brought up in Delhi, and his family owns farmland in the Sagarpur area. The family also runs a garment business and has opened many schools in the city.
“Mishra has been using caste politics for years to win elections but all that will end now. I don’t believe in such petty politics but if the contest does boil down to caste and community loyalties, I’m sure of getting support of my Rajput community,” said Rajput.
Mishra, too, sounded sanguine: “My work will speak for me. For years, I have been carrying out developmental work in my constituency. Don’t ask me what I’ve done. Ask the people and they will tell you.”
Scarcity of water and electricity is going to be a major election issue yet again, as a large area of the constituency comprises regularised unauthorised colonies.
The voters this correspondent spoke to said they were not interested in caste politics and would elect their representative for his track record. “There’s just one park in the entire constituency — at Sagarpur — for nearly two lakh people. While basic needs are not fulfilled, the politicians are talking about building flyovers,” said Satish Kumar, a resident of Dashrathpuri.
Others seemed quite happy with the construction of new flyovers, roads and other amenities in the area. “We know Mishra-ji from the time when he was a councillor and he is very accessible,” said Vivek Rana, a resident of the area.
The constituency has traditionally been a Congress stronghold, but post delimitation, areas like Sitapuri, Kailashpuri, Sadh Nagar and Mahavir Enclave parts I, II and III have been deleted from it while many new areas such as Dabri, Manglapuri, West Sagarpur and Sagarpur have been added.
At present, only one municipal ward, Sagarpuri, is with BJP and the rest are with Congress. In the last assembly elections, the BJP candidate had stood third.