City’s prime location of Ambedkar Road is not the most sought after site for candidates to set up their election campaign office anymore. For more than three decades, the area has been abuzz with political activity during local body, mayoral, assembly and general elections.
This time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Atul Garg has opened his office in Jagdish Nagar. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidates have also chosen not to open their office in the area.
“Ambedkar Road has less parking space and has become congested. I am of a new mindset and am not banking on traditional choices. We had been running election offices there from 1995 to 2012, for all elections. The major issue is the lack of parking space. So, we decided to open our office at a different location. However, the majority of the candidates still consider it a lucky area,” Garg said.
Ambedkar Road connects Old bus stand to Chaudhary Morh crossing (GT Road). The area is generally filled with public and vehicles as it houses prime commercial complexes, showrooms, banks, major markets such at Turab Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and the vegetable market, among others.
Some of the vacant commercial complexes are used as campaign office by parties.
“Ambedkar Road used to be filled with activity day and night during the elections. Food, snacks and refreshments were prepared as parties roped in halwais. Since all parties used to set up an office here, it was a major attraction for politicians and the public,” Rajendra Tyagi, a senior councillor, said.
Ambedkar Road emerged as a popular choice in the 1990s, when commercial complexes were constructed but remained vacant.
“Parties hired rooms and office spaces as their campaign office. Before that, such offices were set up at dharamshalas on Hapur Road or even at Ghanta Ghar Ramlila Ground. Earlier, the city was small and was a single segment. However, it has now been divided into three segments — Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad and Sahibabad — so, it is no more a popular choice,” Tyagi said.
The BJP broke the trend in 2014 when the party fielded General (retd) VK Singh in the general elections. The campaign office was opened in Kavi Nagar, next to Ramlila Ground.
RLD candidate Sultan Singh Khari has opened his office at Vijay Nagar, which is also his place of residence. “I have a major presence here as people know me in my area. So I decided to skip Ambedkar Road, which is far from here,” he said.
BSP candidate Suresh Bansal has opened his main election campaign office in Vijay Nagar, which is a large voter base. He has, however, also opened an office on Ambedkar Road to cater to the public in the old city area.
On the other hand, KK Sharma, the Congress-Samajwadi Party candidate is one of the few to set up a campaign office on Ambedkar Road.
“We have, once again, gone with Ambedkar Road for opening the campaign office. In my memory, for last three decades, all the political parties set up their office here during elections,” Harendra Kasana, district president of Congress, said.