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Shoaib shifts to northeast

delhi Updated: Apr 16, 2009 01:24 IST
Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Prominent Muslim leader from the walled city and a sitting MLA, Shoaib Iqbal (49), will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Northeast Delhi parliamentary constituency, shifting his base from Chandni Chowk.

“Apart from minority votes, there is a large migrant population from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh living in various Northeast Delhi areas. These people are traditional voters of Ram Vilas Paswan, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav who have formed the third force,” said Iqbal, flag-bearer of front constituent, the Pawan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in Delhi.

“A big local population has either moved to Northeast delhi from the walled city or have their houses there and they come to Chandni chowk and vice versa. They have seen my work for the constituency and will surely vote for me,” he added reasoning his decision to shift from Chandni Chowk.

Iqbal has fought four assembly elections from the Matia Mahal assembly seat, a constituent of Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, and won comfortably. Though he never won a Lok Sabha election from Chandni Chowk, he was polled sizeable number of Muslim votes in 1998 as well as in 1999, thus tilting the electoral balance in the BJP’s favour.

Iqbal said there is a good combination of Muslim, Dalit and backward votes in Northeast Delhi. He added that Paswan, Lalu, Mulayam and Sanjay Dutt have promised to campaign for him in the constituency, which would help him consolidating on the third force’s vote share.

Iqbal has fought four assembly elections from Matia Mahal assembly seat, a constituent of Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, and won comfortably. Though he never won a Lok Sabha election from Chandni Chowk, he was polled sizeable number of Muslim votes in 1998 as well as in 1999, thus tilting the balance in the BJP’s favour.

In 2004, Iqbal stayed out of the fray and Congress candidate Kapil Sibal comfortably won from this seat.

According to Iqbal, Delhi is a small state and the electorate of one constituency is aware of the performance of political leaders in other areas.

“Northeast Delhi has seen almost no development in the past few years and the electorate wants a political leader who could bring some change. While the rest of Delhi has seen change, people in this part of the city still struggle for basic facilities like water, sanitation and electricity,” he said.