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Tailoring agenda to suit voters

The Lok Sabha hopefuls contesting from Delhi believe in hard selling their ability to know the concerns of their electorate. They not just propagate their party line, but often modify it to suit the sentiment or problems of that particular area. Anuradha Mukherjee reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 27, 2009 00:36 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee

It’s supposed to be an election sans issues, but the Lok Sabha hopefuls contesting from Delhi believe in hard selling their ability to know the concerns of their electorate. They not just propagate their party line, but often modify it to suit the sentiment or problems of that particular area.

“There are some broad national themes. But you can’t go to a posh colony and start counting what all your government has done for the slums or unauthorised colonies,” a Congress leader said.

So how do leaders decide what to say in which gathering? Some say they have categorised areas on the basis of economics and demographic composition.

New Delhi parliamentary constituency Congress candidate Ajay Maken said he received the biggest applause whenever he mentioned Manmohan Singh’s name as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate. But even he is careful to build in some local issues in his speeches to maintain his connect with voters.

“When I go to a government colony like Lodi Road, RK Puram or Gole Market, I remind them that the 6th Pay Commission was introduced in 2003, but the NDA government failed to implement it. In areas like Paharganj and Karol Bagh, I speak about relief in sealing and demolition and relief under MPD 2021,” he said.

Party colleague and Northwest Delhi candidate Krishna Tirath, however, said she mostly concentrated on the Congress-led UPA government’s achievements. “Issues like the Nuclear Deal, education for all, and the Laadli Scheme are relevant even locally,” she said.

Tirath’s BJP counterpart Meera Kanwaria said in her constituency, rural voters wanted local issues to be addressed. “My area has three or four different types of voters—there is Rohini where you have educated voters, and in rural areas civic amenities are an issue. There are no roads or schools. Acquisition of farmlands and the land rates are a major issue here. In Rohini, we just can’t raise these issues. There the main issue is the hike in school fee,” she added.

According to Vijay Goel, BJP candidate from New Delhi, “The main problems Delhiites face are water scarcity, poor sewerage system, lack of parking space and school fee hike. Unfortunately, many of these have direct relation to the urban development ministry, which my opponent Ajay Maken is a minister of state of.”

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