Former Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh and former AAP MLA Ved Parkash inclusion in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp just days ahead of the corporation elections has paid rich dividends to the saffron party as it won most seats in their bastions — Gandhi Nagar and Bawana.
In Gandhi Nagar assembly constituency, which has been represented by Singh four times as MLA from 1998 to 2013, BJP won all the seats.
In Bawana assembly constituency, BJP won three out of five wards — Bawana, Pooth Khurd, and Rohini D while it lost from Rohini C and Begumpur.
Gandhi Nagar residents said Singh’s personal rapport with the locals and being available for the people in the area despite not being in power might have influenced several voters to switch to BJP.
Ravinder Singh, a resident of Raghubarpura ward, said that the area is a business hub in East Delhi as it has the largest wholesale market for readymade apparel but no attention was paid to provide civic facilities to people in the last two years.
The footpaths are heavily encroached, drains are overflowing and there is rampant illegal construction.
“People were expecting BJP to pull off Kanti Nagar and Raghubar Pura but Shastri Park was expected to be a tough fight,” he said.
But it seems that traders saw their hope in Singh and BJP combo as he had done good work in the past and was available for people irrespective of which party they belonged to.
“He had got the encroachments cleared and the road near Loha Pul was widened from 35 feet to 60 feet giving major relief to traders,” he said.
In Gandhi Nagar, the population which is largely Sindhi, Marwari and Punjabi is mostly into business.
Anil Sindhwani, a resident of Azad Nagar, said though Singh didn’t campaign for the party in Gandhi Nagar constituency as the Congress candidates here was given a ticket on the backing of Singh but he had tried to send the message to vote for BJP through his volunteers.
“His politics is of man-to-man marking and has personal rapport with most people. He helped several people get their children admission in different schools,” he said.
In Bawana, however, people said that the BJP had the natural edge as AAP had neglected the outer Delhi areas on the developmental front.
“In Bawana, Arvind Kerjriwal had appealed to not pay their electricity and water bills. However, he didn’t take the development forward. There is lack of connectivity to the main city, which means people have to shell out huge money to go to schools, and markets,” said Mahesh Kumar, a resident.