The New Delhi constituency is all set for a battle royale. One of the most posh and pampered areas of the Capital, New Delhi is the constituency of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who has won three consecutive elections from this seat.
Though she hasn’t filed her nomination from the constituency yet, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal has already thrown down the gauntlet.
The New Delhi constituency is unlike any other area in the city and so are its problems. Bad roads, sanitation, water and power — the issues that usually plague other constituencies — are not talked about with much passion here.
Price rise and increasing crime, however, can tilt voting in this babu bastion.
The areas in the constituency fall under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Council and the civic amenities provided are one of the best in the city.
Dikshit, if she decides to contest the election from here, would be fighting both anti-incumbency and high inflation for a fourth win.
From government employees, who form the bulk of the electorate, to slum dwellers living in the area, price rise is the biggest issue for voters here.
Amar Singh, 40, a government employee who lives in Sarojini Nagar, feels that the state government is taking some measures to provide relief but these are not enough.
“I’m the only earning member of my family and with a salary of `30,000 a month, managing the household budget was still possible till some time ago. Now, my monthly budget has gone for a toss,” Singh said, while buying two kilograms of onion at Rs 60 per kg from a mobile van arranged by the Delhi government.
During the 2008 elections, the government employees were in a joyous mood because of salary hikes brought by the sixth pay commission.
Inflation, however, weaned off the effect in the following years.
Though most voters seem to be satisfied with Dikshit, they said inflation would be on their minds when they vote.
Though the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are yet to start their campaign in the constituency, members and volunteers of AAP have started canvassing by talking to people at Metro stations, markets and by going door to door.
Voters seemed to be slightly proud of the fact that not only the chief minister is their local MLA but Arvind Kejriwal would be contesting from this area.
They, however, also complain that Dikshit isn’t approachable.
“We haven’t seen her much after the last elections as she seldom visits the area,” said Ramesh Sharma, a resident of Gole Market.
Despite a robust police presence, spurt in crime is a big concern. Burglaries have been reported from Sarojini Nagar and Laxmi Bai Nagar and residents are particularly afraid of the ‘burgle and burn’ gangs. Chain snatching is a big menace too.