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New constituencies, new battles

Redrawing of constituencies has made even heavyweights uncertain of retaining their seats in the coming elections. Atul Mathur reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 16, 2008 01:38 IST
Atul Mathur

The wall dividing house number 58 and 59 in C Block, Jangpura Extension is no less than any Line of Control. It separates two political war fronts — the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency from East Delhi and the Kasturba Nagar assembly segment from Jangpura.

Delimitation or redrawing of constituencies that comes into force in the upcoming Assembly polls has not only changed the geographical strongholds of many city politicians, leaving their fates hanging in balance. It has also shifted some tony South Delhi addresses to the “not-so-hip” Jamna Paar East Delhi constituency.

But as a political chunk, East Delhi constituency is important. The winning or losing candidates from the 10 Assembly segments each from East and North East Lok Sabha constituencies may decide the next chief minister and team of ministers in the state.

However, the going will not be that easy even for political heavyweights like Dr AK Walia, the only minister from Sheila Dikshit’s cabinet who lasted for 10 years.

The Geeta Colony seat that got him to the Delhi Assembly for three consecutive terms will have to try his luck from an unfamiliar turf. He is expecting to contest from the newly-constituted Laxmi Nagar seat that includes almost 50 per cent area of his own Geeta Colony and 50 per cent of another scrapped constituency of Mandawali. “I have known people in these areas for long. But I am meeting them personally almost everyday to renew ties,” he said.

The other doctor-politician, Dr Harshwardhan, will also have to woo new voters. A part of Vishwas Nagar and Geeta Colony have been added to his Krishna Nagar constituency.

Though Delhi parliamentary secretary Naseeb Singh is confident of retaining his seat, it may not be that easy for him. The last municipal elections, which were contested on the basis of newly-drawn constituencies, saw BJP candidates winning from all the four wards in this assembly segment. About 20,000 voters of this constituency are now a part of Krishna Nagar constituency.

“A strong BJP candidate can easily wrest this seat from the Congress,” a senior Congress leader accepted on condition of anonymity. The inclusion of Old Seemapuri in Shahdara assembly seat has given advantage to sitting Congress leader Narendra Nath. Though BJP has two out of four municipal councillors in this area, it may still be a smooth sailing for Nath.

“There is every possibility that Akali Dal gets this seat in seat sharing arrangement. Otherwise, we should have a very strong candidate to give a fight to the Congress,” a BJP leader said. The inclusion of some parts of Shastri Park, a Muslim-dominated area, has given further advantage to Congress on the Gandhi Nagar seat. Similarly, inclusion of some areas of Welcome and Nand Nagari areas in Rohtash Nagar has made it easier for former DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma.

However, the deletion of Yamuna Vihar seat has pitted the BJP’s Sahib Singh Chauhan and Congress’s Bheesham Sharma against each other in Ghonda, thus making it keenly contested.