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Delhi: In a city of many faces, just one voice

delhi Updated: May 18, 2009 01:08 IST
Ritika Chopra
Ritika Chopra
Hindustan Times
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I saw Delhi’s many faces as I travelled on my journey, on the Metro lines meandering through the city of 14 million, in train cars trundling across several worlds that make up this metropolis.

The concerns and aspiration of those different worlds turned out to be an advertisement of sorts of the election results that turned up.

Two of these were particularly telling — half a city and worlds apart.

Welcome, a lower middle-class area in north-east Delhi, began as a resettlement colony for slumdwellers in the 1960s. Forty years on, it still doesn’t have a senior secondary school. Dwarka is Asia’s largest planned residential subcity, parked in the West Delhi constituency.

Dwarka, inhabited by urban middle-class families from different parts of India, voted in large numbers during the Assembly elections last year, shedding the tag of political apathy and disconnect with affairs of their city. And it worked.

Residents across the capital followed suit during the Lok Sabha elections. Turning poll myths on their heads, the urban middle and upper class families of posh areas such as Greater Kailash (56.6 per cent) and Malviya Nagar (59.2 per cent) in South Delhi stepped out of their upmarket bungalows and apartments to exercise their franchise.

Can I call it the Dwarka effect? I don’t know. But yes, in hindsight, the mood at the subcity did bear signs of the changing attitude of the educated electorate in the Capital.

Welcome, on the other hand, worked as a barometer for the underdeveloped pockets of Delhi. Good governance was one of the key election issues in this colony. And that is what the north-east constituency voted for.

East Delhi is finally shedding its ‘Jamna paar’ (beyond the Yamuna) tag thanks to the development triggered by the approaching Commonwealth Games. But none of the benefits seems to have trickled into the north-east constituency, which has been carved out of the erstwhile east.

So the mandate here was clearly in favour of the man who promised good governance and development — JP Aggarwal (61) of the Congress.

And a lesson for the candidate who peddled hardline Hindutva: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s B.L. Sharma (79). He lost by over 2 lakh votes.

In a city where the Metro is the face of the new India, those who talked anything other than development had clearly missed the train.