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Balgit Nagar (SC)

The Baljit Nagar reserved constituency in Karol Bagh has been a traditional Congress stronghold. The party?s Krishna Tirath has represented the seat for the last 18 years.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2003 18:00 IST

The Baljit Nagar reserved constituency in Karol Bagh has been a traditional Congress stronghold. The party’s Krishna Tirath has represented the seat for the last 18 years — as metropolitan councillor from 1985 to 1993 and as MLA after that.

For the coming assembly polls, the BJP has fielded former councillor K.C. Ravi against Tirath who had defeated Ravi by a narrow margin of 1,500 votes in the 1993 assembly elections. According to residents of the locality, Ravi’s refusal to make peace with area don Dev Raj Dewan, owner of the infamous Kamal restaurant cum cabaret, had led to her downfall.

Both Tirath and Ravi are Jatavs, the dominant community in Baljit Nagar with 22,000 votes. Residents say that only Ravi, a factory owner, can pose a challenge to Tirath as he too belongs to the Jatav community. This is underscored by the fact that Tirath’s rival in the 1998 assembly elections, Yogender Chandolia (who is from the Reghar community which has only 1,000 votes), had lost by a huge margin of more than 10,000 votes.

Tirath, whose father-in-law T. Sohan Lal was Member of Parliament from Karol Bagh, is a post-graduate and a former national-level sportswoman. She said that Ravi is a former history-sheeter, and has little chance of winning. “I defeated him in 1993 when there was a strong BJP wave. This time the victory margin will be much higher,” she said. Construction of a huge water reservoir, a gymnasium for women, a recreation centre for the aged and a 33 KV grid are her achievements.

Countering the criminal charge, Ravi’s followers, however, said that the BJP candidate has now mended his ways and is heavily into community and religious service. Ravi said that he would give a tough fight to Tirath and win because residents of the area were unhappy with her for not undertaking development works. “Tirath may have constructed water reservoirs, but there are no proper connections, the motors are non-functional and a distribution network has not been laid,” Ravi said. Water shortage is still the biggest problem in the area, he said.

Karol Bagh has about 1 lakh voters. Apart from the dominant Jatavs, there are 5,000 Valmikis, 5,000 Vaishes and 3,500 Sikhs in the area.