2 lakh votes? Netas just don’t care
Within minutes of walking into the posh neighbourhoods of Kalkaji and Vasant Kunj, you realise something’s amiss. These DDA-built colonies of flats and plotted houses in South Delhi are totally spared of all signs of the general election campaigning that otherwise have the rest of the city in their grip, reports Avishek G Dastidar.delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2009 00:55 IST
Within minutes of walking into the posh neighbourhoods of Kalkaji and Vasant Kunj, you realise something’s amiss.
These two DDA-built colonies of flats and plotted houses — hardly 10 kilometres apart from each other in South Delhi — are totally spared of all signs of the general election campaigning that otherwise have the rest of the city in their grip.
Politicians have not campaigned here, the lamp posts are free from placards of candidates, and residents have not been flooded with pamphlets enlisting the politicians’ ‘vision’ for the area.
In the post-delimitation South Delhi constituency, amid the villages and unauthorised colonies that make over 90 per cent of the votes, these two areas of the affluent urban middle-class are a horrible mismatch. Together, they represent less than 2 lakh votes in the 16-lakh voter base.
And politicians are treating them accordingly.
“They have not come here canvassing because they cannot sell us the bijli, sadak, paani (power, roads and water) rhetoric like they do in the villages. And they have never come here to know what we want,” said 65-year old J.N. Sood, a retired Reserve Bank officer who is part of Vasant Kunj Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA).
What they really want is not on any politician’s list.
For one, they want the dreaded traffic mess in peak hours to end.
For Vasant Kunj, the Mehrauli-Mahipalpur road and the Aruna Asaf Ali Marg are peak-hour traffic horror, while the Outer Ring Road with Nehru Place as the back spot is Kalkaji’s pain.
The jams have office-goers keeping over 30 minutes to cross a mere two-kilometre stretch in morning hours.
“School buses of five private schools around us are parked on the road, holding up traffic. We have been complaining for years,” said Anil Sood, senior member of the RWA.
The constant ear-splitting noise of aircraft landings in the night, overflowing sewage flooding the lawns of low-lying areas in the monsoon, the parking lots spilling over-the list goes on, and does not tally with those of the politicians’.
For Kalkaji, rife with car theft cases and a rising crime graph of sleepy South Delhi neighbourhoods, the pet peeves are quite different.
“There is nothing tangible that we need. We want the intangibles like safety and security. It is difficult to promise that, may be that’s why politicians are avoiding us,” said DS Choudhary, president of Kalkaji RWAs.
When asked, the politicians claimed innocence, but the disconnect was showing.
Congress strongman Sajjan Kumar, who is doing the talking for brother Ramesh Kumar, said work was on to decongest Vasant Kunj.
“Kalkaji is a new area. We are speaking with the people there,” he said.
But Ramesh Bidhuri, his BJP counterpart, said that if there was disconnect with politicians, then residents were responsible for it too.
“These areas are full of people who do not come out to vote. My message to them is to get your problems solved by politicians, you must come out and vote for them,” he said.