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That’s what Delhi wants

Politicians may rail at terrorism and demolition, but bijli, sadak and paani once again top the list of voters’ concern in Delhi that goes to polls on Saturday, reports Rajesh Mahapatra. HT survey: See graphics

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2008 03:52 IST
Rajesh Mahapatra

Politicians may rail at terrorism and demolition, but bijli, sadak and paani once again top the list of voters’ concern in Delhi that goes to polls on Saturday.

The order has reversed, though.

Water shortage has emerged as the biggest concern, according to numbers distilled out from a survey of more than 36,000 respondents across the city-state’s 69 constituencies. Lack of good roads and electricity outages follow, in that order.

There is also a new concern — lack of parking facilities. Delhi has more cars than Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata put together, and adds nearly 30,000 new vehicles each month.

Among other surprises, pollution remains a major issue, despite Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s much-laboured campaign to drive out fuming factories and shift public transportation to CNG.

In short, it’s a combination of first world aspirations and festering concerns of a developing economy with which 10 million-plus voters of Delhi appear to be heading for the polls.

There are few takers for concerns relating to terrorism, corruption and a court-ordered drive to seal and demolish unauthorised structures.

“These are larger issues to keep the party faithfuls together,” said Dipankar Gupta, a professor of sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Bharatiya Janata Party, which is seeking to wrest power, has tried to make capital of the recent extremist attacks in the city by accusing the Congress-led coalition at the Centre for being “soft on terror”.

On its part, the Congress faces the daunting task of convincing voters it could do little to tame inflation, which it insists was due to “global developments”.

That said, it can take solace in the fact that the average rating of MLAs in the current assembly was 5.14 on a scale of 10, and a majority of Delhi’s residents, 55 per cent, say they still need an MLA – thus reposing faith in the democratic system, according to the results of HT-C fore survey.

(With inputs from Arnab Hazra, Moushumi Das Gupta)