Electing Chaudhary Prem Singh has become a habit with Ambedkar Nagar. Singh has represented the constituency in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Assembly for the last 50 years.
This south Delhi constituency, to which some areas have been added after delimitation, comprises villages, unauthorised colonies and resettlement colonies. It is a reserved constituency with a large population of Scheduled Castes, who are Singh’s core vote bank. Ahirs and Gujjars are other prominent communities settled here.
Singh has a strong hold over areas like Madangir, Khanpur and Dakshinpuri, where the concentration of the ‘Valmiki’ community is highest. All these areas are highly congested, have narrow roads and inadequate sewerage. The support for Singh, however, has not diminished.
“This is a Congress area and Prem Singh would again win from here. Congress has done much development work here over the years,” said Rakesh Kumar, a Dakshinpuri resident.
The only worry for Singh this time would be Pushpa Vihar, a government colony included in the constituency after delimitation. Pushpa Vihar is a BJP stronghold and its sitting MLA as well as municipal councillor are from the party.
“The present representatives from this area are from BJP and most votes could go their way,” said K.R. Rana, a government employee.
“BJP has done a lot of work here, the most recent being installation of security walls and gates all over the colony,” said Sanjay Kumar, a student who has been living in Pushpa Vihar for the last two years.
Singh, however, is confident of yet another win. “I am going to win again, and even from the new areas, which are with BJP at present,” he said. “People of Pushpa Vihar know the work I have done for my area. I will provide more facilities in their colony too,” he said, adding, “Government employees living in this area are happy with Congress because of the salary hike they got after the sixth Pay Commission.”
BJP’s Suresh Chand Pahelwan has not given up hope either. “He (Singh) has not done any development work in the area despite winning so many times. While he stays in Lado Sarai, I live in a small house in the area itself,” he said.
The controversial Bus Rapid Transit corridor starts from Singh’s constituency and has received much flak from road users. “I know BRT is a problem but I have written to the Lieutenant Governor to allow cars inside bus lanes during peak hours,” he said.
Inadequate power supply and complaints of ‘fast’ meters are also important issues in areas like Khanpur. “I used to pay Rs 1,200 per month for power with the old meters. Now, the bill comes close to Rs 3,500,” said Surender, a resident. He said BJP has a good chance this time of causing an upset.