It’s a battle between two first-timers in the newly carved out Patparganj assembly segment.
While Congress has fielded Anil Chaudhary, a sitting municipal councillor, Nakul Bhardwaj is BJP’s candidate. Both started their political career in college. While Bhardwaj is a former Delhi University Students Union president, Chaudhary was Delhi unit president of National Students Union of India, Congress’ youth wing.
Thanks to the emergence of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the area, the contest here is not going to be a cakewalk for either Congress or BJP and both know that.
Of the 1,66,734 voters in the segment, 17 per cent belong to Other Backward Castes while 13 per cent are from Schedule Castes. Pandits form another 18 per cent of the vote bank while Rajputs and Gujjars account for 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
“BSP has a strong presence in some of OBC-dominated colonies. The party might not win the seat, but it will eat into the votes,” said L.K. Chaurasia, a resident of Mandawali.
Bhardwaj hopes that BSP’s entry in the fray will benefit him. “BSP will only help us by eating into Congress votes. Besides, people here want change. Ask anybody and they will tell you how the sitting MLA Meera Bhardwaj failed to do anything in the area.”
Residents, however, do not seem convinced. “Even the earlier MLA had promised the same things when she came asking for our votes in 2003. But the condition of basic civic amenities has only deteriorated since then,” said Kaushalya Jain, a homemaker from Chander Vihar.
Bhardwaj’s rival, Chaudhary, has made ‘development’ his poll plank. “Unlike Bhardwaj, I have my work to show. I have been the municipal councillor of this ward for the last eight years. People know me. It was during my party’s tenure that the area saw all round development. Nakul is an outsider here and he is no competition,” he said.