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Gurgaon: truly a gaon case

It is home to over 100 multinationals and known as a business hub of north India, but Gurgaon’s political heart beats in its villages. Sanjeev K Ahuja reports. See graphics

india Updated: Apr 16, 2009 01:30 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

It is home to over 100 multinationals and known as a business hub of north India, but Gurgaon’s political heart beats in its villages.

Millennium City and its needs and aspirations do not resonate in the constituency’s villages or even across the expressway in Old Gurgaon. With the numbers on its side, rural Gurgaon will dictate the electoral agenda – and posh Gurgaon is bound to be disappointed.

The cosmopolitan population in Gurgaon city notwithstanding, elections in the rest of the constituency are still fought on caste lines.

“Most candidates are conservative politicians. They are either from political dynasties, or are rooted in villages. They have no schemes or policies to address our concerns,” said Rakesh Mittal (name changed), an MNC executive.

Just 27 per cent of Gurgaon’s voters live in urban areas. In fact, of the total 1,286 polling booths in Gurgaon constituency, only 80 are set in New Gurgaon. And these booths don’t account for more than 9-10 per cent votes.

“Voter registration in New Gurgaon has grown 35-40 per cent in the last summary revision,” said sub-divisional magistrate Shakti Singh. But those in the know, like Col Rattan Singh, said residents sought voter ID cards merely as residential proof, not to vote.

Singh, who contested the Assembly elections in 2005 from the RWAs-supported Gurgaon Residents Party (GRP) got just 5836 votes.

“Gurgaon would remain a rural constituency unless people from urban areas come out and vote,” Singh said.

But now there is a concerted effort to draw out urban voters. Gauri Sareen (42), a resident of Oakwood Estate, has lived in Gurgaon for six years. She led a campaign in Gurgaon to encourage people to get registered and vote. “The mood is upbeat and I believe the poll percentage in urban areas will go up to 40-45 per cent. The Art of Living had launched a massive campaign in Gurgaon to motivate people to vote,” she said.

Despite the cynicism, there are families looking forward to voting together. Rakesh Sharma, a management executive with Quattro BPO solutions and resident of Nirvana City, Sector 50, is among them.

“I have been doing it for the last 13 years, and this time too I will go to Badshahpur village and vote, along with my family. I do get impressed by various campaigns,” said Sharma.

See graphics

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