Aya Nagar, an unauthorised colony located on the Delhi-Gurgaon border, witnessed a star-studded campaign with all parties bringing in their heavyweights to woo the voters.
Former Union minister Sachin Pilot, MP Raj Babbar, actress-turned-politician Nagma, and Mahabharata-fame actor Firoz Khan (Arjun) canvassed votes for the Congress candidate while the BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri took to the stage his party nominee. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and actor Ravi Kishan, who recently joined the party, did not turn up.
“The election takes place after five years and it is important that you should participate in electoral process. The Congress has given ticket to Ved Pal after a lot of thinking. He comes from among you and I am sure that he will work to resolve your issues. There are many independent candidates contesting in elections but they are there to split votes,” said Sachin Pilot, who left the venue within 20 minutes.
Firoz Khan, who played Arjun in the TV serial, Mahabharata, entertained the public with dialogues from the serial, sang songs and asked the people to make the right choice.
“The central government has failed to deliver on its promises to transfer Rs 15 lakh in the account of all the poor. Agar aap Vedpal Ko vote denge to Mahabharat ke Arjun par ehsaan Karenge (If you will vote for Vedpal then you be doing a favour to the Arjun of Mahabharat),” he said.
Though hundreds of people were present in Khel Parisar to hear the celebrities, they said it may not help change anything. “Public meetings take place before every election. Political parties often use celebrities to woo young voters, who don’t take elections seriously,” said Nutan Jha, a local resident.
According to Neela, another local, Aya Nagar is worse than villages when it comes to civic amenities. “There is no sewage system, drains and roads are damaged too. Lack of drinking water is another major problem here,” she said, while attending the Congress rally.
The public meeting organised by BJP, barely 500 metres from the venue of Congress meeting, started two hours late. The audience was angry as neither Manoj Tiwari nor Ravi Kishan turned up. But according to Jagdish Lohia, BJP candidate from Aya Nagar, people care for development only.
“During the tenure of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, provisional regularisation certificate were issued to the residents of area but even after 15 years our colony has not been regularised in government records. The water bodies are still used for dumping sewerage and during rains, whole area is inundated. And now the Aam Aadmi government is delaying the development here,” he said.