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Date set for whole new polls

Polls will be held in two phases in Chhattisgarh on Nov 14 and 20. MP will go to the polls on Nov 25. Elections in Delhi and Mizoram will be held on Nov 29, while in Rajasthan the exercise will be held on Dec 4. See Graph.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2008 01:15 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee
Anuradha Mukherjee
Hindustan Times

Elections TO five states including Delhi were announced on Tuesday. The parties know whom to field from where but do you know your constituency? It’s not the same as in the last election, most probably.

In fact, your old constituency may well have disappeared. All assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies stand redrawn after the delimitation exercise that ended seven months ago, across the country.

All five states going to polls now — Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram (see box for poll schedule) — will have the same disorienting experience till everyone gets used to the new boundaries.

In Delhi, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra stands closely affected. He is likely to contest from Greater Kailash, which was in South Delhi Lok Sabha area. Now it’s part of New Delhi.

BJP insiders said Malhotra, who is the sitting South Delhi MP, would be contesting from Greater Kailash because of the changed profile of the new South Delhi parliamentary constituency — now mainly of rural areas and unauthorised colonies.

Kalkaji is the only part of the old South Delhi constituency that remains in the new parliamentary segment by the same name.

The trader class, which is supposed to be the BJP’s mainstay, is not a large part of the electorate here. “GK will suit Malhotra’s profile better now,” said a party leader.

But Malhotra says he may contest from two assembly seats — one in the north and another in south.

“Party members are pressuring me to contest from two places — Rohini and Greater Kailash as this is expected to have a positive effect on neighbouring seats too,” he said. “But I have not decided yet. Greater Kailash is also suitable as it is a part of my parliamentary segment.” The Rohini seat also has large concentration of traders and professionals and is considered a BJP stronghold.

Chief Minister for 10 consecutive years, Sheila Dikshit’s assembly seat Gole Market has been scrapped and she is expected to contest from the New Delhi assembly seat. “The area is the same. Only the name had changed,” said Dikshit.

Elsewhere, party colleagues, who earlier represented neighbouring assembly seats, find themselves pitted against each other. Malviya Nagar MLA and Delhi health minister Yoganand Shastri and Congress MLA Kiran Walia both are said to be contending for the same seat.

The Hauz Khas seat that Walia represented has been scrapped and large chunks from it are now part of the Malviya Nagar seat. Hauz Khas colony is part of the RK Puram seat.

Similarly, the Outer Delhi parliamentary segment has been trifurcated into the northwest, west and south Delhi constituency — virtually ending Congress MP Sajjan Kumar’s clout in the area.

Minto Road is another seat dissolved and parts of it merged with the Jungpura seat. Tajdar Babar (Minto Road MLA) and Jungpura legislator Talwinder Singh Marwah are both staking claim here.

BJP state president Harsh Vardhan said the party would announce its list of candidates for the assembly polls before Diwali. “November 29 is not just the date of election in Delhi, but also the end of 10 years of misrule by the Sheila Dikshit government,” he said.

Dikshit, however, seemed confident of the party’s prospects. “Things have improved in Delhi in the last 10 years, not gone down. We have done a lot of things in Delhi —social, economic and infrastructure. Delhi’s economy is booming and the people know this,” she said.

The Congress would announce its Delhi list of candidates in the next 15-20 days, she added.

Harsh Vardhan said inflation and terrorism would be the big issues for the party both in Delhi and outside. “Apart from this the Dikshit government’s misrule and failure on all counts, be it education, health of roads and her arrogant and callous behaviour will become a major issue for Delhi voters. She has insulted us time and again. The latest episode was Soumya’s death,” he said.

Dikshit, however, felt her statements were taken out of context. “I have clarified my statement in front of the media. The BJP or anybody can criticise me if they do not like something I have said,” said Dikshit.

First Published: Oct 14, 2008 12:22 IST