A lot has changed in Delhi in the last five years. But the changes are perhaps most dramatic for Delhi’s politicians.
So, if in the last Lok Sabha elections, it was a foregone conclusion that the BJP would win the South Delhi parliamentary seat, this time one can’t be so sure.
For one, South Delhi is no longer the cluster of posh colonies that gave it the aura of exclusivity. The new South Delhi constituency has been mainly carved out from the erstwhile Outer Delhi Parliamentary constituency – another Congress stronghold – and mostly comprises urban villages, unauthorised colonies and slums, apart from pockets like Vasant Kunj and Kalkaji.
Small is big
Delhi once had the distinction of having the country’s smallest Parliamentary constituency along with the most populous.
Now, Chandni Chowk is no longer the smallest Parliamentary constituency in the country that it used to be pre-delimitation, with an area of 10.59 sq km. Back then, Calcutta Northwest (13.23 sq km) and Mumbai South (13.73 sq km) followed close on its heels. Chandni Chowk’s electorate of 4.5 lakh voters has also grown threefold to 14.10 lakh voters.
Faith no bar
The Muslim vote will also cease to be the deciding factor for Chandni Chowk seat with the inclusion of BJP-dominated areas like Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Model Town and Trinagar.
By dissolving Karol Bagh, which used to be a reserved Lok Sabha seat, and melding it into Delhi and Sadar seats, some of their areas have also been included in Chandni Chowk.
Cut to size
Outer Delhi, the most populous constituency in the country with over 37 lakh voters, has been trifurcated into Northwest, South and West Delhi Parliamentary constituencies.
In comparison, Thane in Maharashtra was the second most populous parliamentary segment in the country while Lakshadweep was the least populous Lok Sabha constituency before delimitation.
Winds of change
The sharp division etched over the years, which ensured the victory of certain leaders from certain seats and the representation of a few communities is also set to end. The Congress leadership that is involved in drawing the list of candidates from Delhi is also aware of this change.
“It is true that six of the seven sitting MPs in Delhi are from Congress, but post-delimitation the complexion of the city has changed and we have that in mind while deciding candidates,” said a senior Congress leader.
Original South Delhi colonies are now part of New Delhi constituency – an indicator of the city’s amoebic growth. There has been no change in the number of Parliamentary constituencies, which stands at seven.
“New Delhi used to be a babu-dominated constituency. Now it has the government colonies, but it also has urban villages like Kotla Mubarakpur, Munirka, Zamrudpur and Chirag Dilli, apart from Greater Kailash, Pamposh Enclave and Malviya Nagar,” said a city Congress leader.
The deletion of the Karol Bagh Lok Sabha seat means that a new reserved seat has emerged in Northwest Delhi with new possibilities in leadership.
Northwest Delhi, which includes a major chunk of the erstwhile Outer Delhi seat, is now Delhi’s reserved parliamentary seat. It includes areas like Bawana, Sultanpur Majra, Narela, Badli, Mundka, Kirari and Mangolpuri, which are dominated by Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Caste (OBC) voters.
Rohini, Delhi’s biggest residential colony with many co-operative housing societies and DDA flats, will also vote for the Northwest parliamentary seat in these elections. It is Delhi’s biggest parliamentary constituency with 17.94 lakh voters.
But what difference does it make to the average voter? They can demand better services and representation. “Delimitation will ensure better distribution of funds. Earlier, each MP would get a fixed amount for development regardless of the size and population of his constituency,” said a city leader.