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Litmus test for Dikshit in high-profile New Delhi seat

PTI  New Delhi, November 29, 2013
First Published: 15:48 IST(29/11/2013) | Last Updated: 16:12 IST(29/11/2013)
68-year-old Bala Devi happily tells about the newly installed hand pump in her jhuggi in New Delhi area. She only wishes it would have been of great help if the pump was installed earlier like a basic necessity and not like an election sop.

  
For Bala Devi and many others residing in small clusters in New Delhi, basic survival is the only issue that comes up when they discuss the upcoming assembly elections in their high-profile constituency that is all set to witness an intense fight among Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, BJP's Vijender Gupta and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
 
Though most of the areas in the constituency are well developed, there are localities where basic infrastructure is in bad shape.
 
75-year-old Dikshit has been representing the constituency for the last 15 years and her development model will face tough test in the area which comprises over 1.18 lakh voters, 60 % of whom are government employees and their families.
 
Residents in various unauthorised settlements said though the Congress government ahead of the last assembly polls had promised they would regularise the colonies and improve the infrastructure, nothing has been done so far.
 
"We don't want to leave this place and go. Politicians talk about settling us somewhere else. We fear we can be asked to leave this place,", said Bahadur Lal, a resident of a slum cluster behind the Race Course Road, said.
   
There are at least four such slums little away from the Race Course Road and residents there said lack of basic infrastructure like drinking water facility and sewer lines are major issues for them.
 
A recent opinion poll had predicted that Kejriwal may humble Dikshit in the constituency but she strongly debunked the survey result questioning its credibility.
 
"I am very confident about my victory as well as Congress win in the polls. We are going to form the next government. The opinion polls do not have any basis," she said.
 
BJP which has already deployed a battery of star campaigners in the constituency said it was hopeful of pulling off an upset.
 
Kejriwal, who has been campaigning door-to-door, said people of the constituency are going to defeat Dikshit.
 
In 2008 election, Dikshit had polled 39,778 votes against her immediate BJP rival Vijay Jolly's 25,796 votes.
   
Dikshit had defeated BJP candidate Poonam Azad, wife of cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad by over 11,000 votes in the 2003 assembly polls.
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