Traditionally, Lok Sabha polls were almost a pointless exercise in the urban quarters of West Delhi.
For, as part of the Outer Delhi constituency — 80 per cent of it comprised the villages — before the delimitation exercise, the urban pockets never had contesting candidates speaking in a language residents quite understood.
“They used to speak on issues like Lal Dora land, primary education, girl-child development and farm-credit, which, frankly, did not mean anything to us,” said businessman SP Sharma (53), a resident of Janak Puri.
This time, things have changed dramatically.
After delimitation, West Delhi has shed its rural tag with relief, as urban centres of Outer Delhi comprise majority of the constituency. So, suddenly its urbane face is out there for everyone to see.
“There is nothing in South or Central Delhi that we don’t have here. We do not even need to go to Connaught place or South Extension for anything,” said 19-year old Puja Ahuja, student of Janak Puri’s Bharti College, hanging out with friends at a mall in Rajouri Garden on a Saturday.
Four glitzy malls huddled together in Rajouri Garden contain the biggest brands in clothing, accessories and restaurants, flaunting the aspirations of the majority —English-speaking, service-class or business class electorate —that throngs these places from areas connected by the Metro.
The Metro runs through the heart of West Delhi like a symbol of boom the areas have witnessed over the years.
Starting from remote Dwarka Sector 9, the metro connects the old colonies of Uttam Nagar, Vikaspuri, Tilak Nagar and Kirti Nagar, traditionally populated by the Punjabi business class, with the group housing societies of Dwarka, the DDA flats in Janakpuri and the plotted clusters of Tagore Garden, Hari Nagar and Keshav Puram.
“The office-hour rush makes it like the Mumbai local trains and indicates the shift from South and Central Delhi to West Delhi areas,” said Damodaran Nair, a senior executive with Lintas, who moved to Ishwar Apartments in Dwarka last year from Chittaranjan Park.
West Delhi is no longer the “godforsaken place” where the South Delhi elite bought flats or plots only for investment in real estate. Instead, affluent young drivers of the new economy have made it their homes. “But the development here is due to private initiatives. Government work, or lack of it, is evident in the unauthorised colonies of Mahavir Enclave, next to Dwarka,” said Nair.