Talking points: Here are the key issues in Delhi polls

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 12, 2015 16:58 IST

Political parties are gearing up for the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi and have started making a noise about their poll promises in order to woo voters.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) finished second to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and came to power with the outside support of the Congress after the December 2013 elections that produced a hung assembly.

Arvind Kejriwal resigned in February 2014 after just 49 days as the chief minister because he was thwarted by the Congress and the BJP from pushing through the lokpal bill in the assembly. Delhi has been under President's Rule since then.

This time around too, political parties will promise the moon to the people and campaign intensely.

HT brings you the major issues that plague the national capital:

Law and order:
Safety is arguably the biggest concern that those living in Delhi face. Since 2013, there has been a 99% jump in number of crimes reported, even as the percentage of cases solved remains below 30. Delhi has got the disrepute of being an unsafe city for women with 2,000 cases of rape reported in 2014, an increase of 30% from 2013. Snatching has recorded a 100% increase, and only 25% cases are solved.

Water supply: The short lived AAP government had delivered on its promise of providing 700 litres of free water each and every
household per day. The scheme, however, was stopped after the AAP government's resignation. Delhi faces a shortage of 172 MGD of water every day with the problem so acute in areas like Dwarka that residents have to survive by buying water from private players.

Electricity: AAP had reduced power bills by 50%, after the exit of their government in February the subsidy ended increasing power bills again. The BJP-led centre once again provided subsidy for all those consuming up to 400 units. BJP has promised to reduce power bills by introducing power discom portability.

Traffic: With more than 100 flyovers – at least 25 of them added in the last six years – Delhi has earned the tag of the 'city of flyovers'. More than 800 km of roads have also been added in this period, apart from large number of foot over bridges. This, however, has failed to check the perennial traffic congestion on Delhi's arterial roads.

Transport: In the last 12 years, the Delhi Metro has become the lifeline of the city by introducing Delhiites to faster and comfortable mode of mass transit. During this period, population has gone up too and so has the need for better mobility. The lack of last mile connectivity and feeder services has meant that public transport in Delhi is yet to reach the standards of any global city of its size.

Illegal colonies: More than 50 lakh residents of Delhi or every third Delhiite, live in an unauthorised colony. The BJP-led Centre has regularised 1,939 unauthorised colonies in the city by bringing in an ordinance. However, whether development work will be carried out and if people will be able to sell their properties is a major issue.

Corruption: Corruption was the main plank on which the AAP fought the previous assembly elections, bringing the issue to the forefront. The party had launched a helpline for reporting corruption related complaints asking people to even conduct sting operations. After the exit of AAP, Delhi Police launched a similar helpline. Modi has promised zero-tolerance for corruption at all levels.

Lack of parking space: This is a major problem faced by Delhiites, which results not only in neighbourhood quarrels but fisticuffs and in some cases, murders too. Nearly 1,400 cars are added to Delhi's streets every day while work on construction of new parking lots is quite slow. Delhi's parking space requirement increases by 310 football fields each year to accommodate the cars that are added daily.

Price rise: Inflation was one of the major issues during the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014 and is likely to be still a major cause of concern when Delhi goes to poll again. Prices of items of every day need, particularly vegetables, have seen major fluctuations and spike. Cost of living in the city has increased but income has necessarily not.

Education: Affordable and quality education is a big issue, particularly with voters who are young parents. Though there are large number of schools in the city, the preference for a few ‘good schools’ causes a major hue and cry during nursery admissions. Appointment of school teachers in government-run schools is another issue.

Healthcare: Though there is quite a number of government run as well as private healthcare institutes in the city, they fail to cater to the sheer number of patients, including those to come from other states. The bed-population ratio is 2.6 per 10,000 people and 80% people are forced to go to private hospitals due to lack of affordable healthcare.

Unemployment: Since 2003, more than 10 lakh people have registered with the employment exchange but only slightly more than 11,000 people have got jobs. Apart from unemployment, under employment is also a major issue, particularly with the aspirational youth who constitute a major block of the electorate.

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