If you turn right off National Highway 10 in northwest Delhi, it is a different Delhi altogether. Tempos and bullock carts jostle for space with cars, buses, two-wheelers and pedestrians on a narrow stretch that leads to the railway crossing near the Nangloi railway station.
The railway crossing is one of the only two accesses to Kirari, one of the most densely populated assembly constituencies in that side of Delhi.
“It takes no less than two hours to get to this place if you are driving. The railway crossing needs a flyover but the sitting BJP MLA did nothing to get it approved,” said Pratyush Kanth, 43, the Congress candidate from Kirari.
It surprised many when the Congress announced Kanth’s candidature from Kirari. Kanth, who belongs to a family of professionals, was a senior journalist with a well-known English daily. His daughter, due to appear for her class 10 boards this year, was highly disapproving but his wife and parents supported him.
“I have always felt that if you really want to contribute to development, you must join politics. I had been mulling over it for three-four years now family commitments kept me out of it. But now I was ready to take the plunge,” said the St. Stephen’s College graduate.
But why Kirari? “There is so much to do in Kirari. This constituency has been neglected by the BJP MLA and municipal councillors over the years. There is no supply of potable water and people depend on water tankers. Roads and drainage are in a pathetic condition. There is no medical care or education facility. The constituency does not even have a post office or a petrol pump. I am not making any big promises. Whether I win or lose, I want to improve the life of the people of this area with dedication and commitment,” Kanth said while walking down a narrow street in Aman Vihar.
The constituency has about 85% Purvanchali population. 30 % of the total population is Muslim.