Patparganj assembly seat is set to witness a triangular contest with the Aam Aadmi Party throwing down the gauntlet apart from traditional rivals Congress and the BJP.
Several problems in the constituency are area-specific but few ring a bell across all profiles of the electorate. Water quality issue and (lack of) sewer and garbage/unhygienic conditions dominate the issues for the approximately 1.8 lakh voters of Patpartganj.
The constituency has three distinct areas. The first is group cooperative housing societies (Indraprastha Extension, Mayur Vihar I & II) and DDA flats comprising mostly educated, professional and salaried people. The second is people from Mandavali, Vinod Nagar and Patparganj comprising mostly traders/business class or migrant salaried people and those engaged in private odd-jobs.
The third and a substantial population belong to slums clusters and resettlement colonies such as Shashi Garden. These have mostly daily-wage workers apart from drivers, domestic aids and autorickshaw drivers, etc.
Ashok George, a builder from Mayur Vihar I, said, “Our area has a persistent water quality issue. When we approach the Delhi Jal Board, nobody listens to our complaint.”
Sewer is another issue in areas such as Mandavali and Vinod Nagar. Ajit Kumar, a resident of West Vinod Nagar, said, “The drains are not cleaned regularly which pose a health hazard.”
In the 2008 elections, the Congress and BJP shared the maximum votes while Bahujan Samaj Party was a close third. Congress had fielded Chaudhary Anil Kumar — winner with a margin of 600-odd votes. BJP’s Nakul Bhardwaj was the runner-up. However, neither Congress nor the BJP has announced their candidates as yet this year.
AAP’s candidate is Manish Sisodia and Irshad Ali is BSP’s candidate designate.
Along with planned colonies, each party is also targeting fringe colonies that have their share of problems. Here, too, lack of potable drinking water is a major issue.
Noorjahan Khatoon from Ramprasad Bismil Camp in Shashi Garden said, “Dirty, non-potable water is a bane we have to live with. Garbage can be seen strewn everywhere.”
Even as the Congress and the BJP supporters are striking a confident note, in most areas, people recognise AAP’s symbol, if not the candidate.