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Mandavli (SC)

Mandawali promises one of the toughest contests in theDelhi assembly elections. Sitting Congress MLA Meera Bhardwaj is pitted against Birendra Juyal of the BJP.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 13:56 IST

Mandawali promises one of the toughest contests in theDelhi assembly elections. Sitting Congress MLA Meera Bhardwaj is pitted against Birendra Juyal of the BJP.

This east Delhi constituency is a conglomeration of villages, resettlement and lower middle class colonies as well as 22 group housing societies. Both candidates’ campaigns have been intensified to attract the 1.4 lakh voters of the constituency. Ironically, while Bhardwaj is asking for votes in the name of “development”, her rival is seeking votes accusing Bhardwaj of "no-development" or "destruction" of the constituency over five years.

The sitting MLA’s woes are compounded by Congress rebel Ashutosh Upreti contesting on a ticket from the Nationalist Congress Party. Upreti lost the 1993 elections on a Congress ticket.

Bhardwaj won the 1998 elections with a slim margin of 1800 votes. But contends she can win because "I’ve worked hard since then and delivered what I promised". That includes new water lines, village chaupals, an embankment on a drain, 40-odd kms of power lines and upgraded transformers.

"Rubbish" says Juyal. This constituency is among the most backward in Delhi.No schools have been opened, parks are in bad shape, the overflowing sewers are spilling into drinking water supply, he says. "People will vote for me because I am always there for them unlike the Congress candidate," he said.

The electorate comprises around 25,000 Brahmins, 12,000 each from Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, 20,000Muslims, some south Indians and the villagers. The main areas being Pandav Nagar, Ganesh Nagar, Shakarpur, Vinod Nagar, Saraspur village and some group housing societies.

"The image of our government and the development all over Delhi in the last five years are key poll issues," says Bhardwaj. Juyal, whose association with the RSS and VHP is long, says it is high time voters ejected the Congress out of power in this election, lest they regret it over the next five years.

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 13:56 IST