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Okhla

Two-time Congress MLA and former transport Minister Parvez Hashmi will face the BJP?s Rajpal Singh, a first-timer. Hashmi says the only issue in this poll is his margin of victory. Of the 1.25 lakh voters here, over 55,000 are Muslims.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 13:50 IST

Two-time Congress MLA and former transport Minister Parvez Hashmi will face the BJP’s Rajpal Singh, a first-timer. Hashmi says the only issue in this poll is his margin of victory. Of the 1.25 lakh voters here, over 55,000 are Muslims.

“In 1993, the BJP fielded a Muslim candidate and I won by 1,400 votes. The next time they fielded a Punjabi and I won by 18,000 votes. This time they have fielded a Gujjar and my margin will be over 25,000 votes,” boasts Hashmi. However, the Samajwadi Party’s Wasim Ahmed and Asgar Khan of JD (S) may make a dent in his vote share.

Rajpal Singh, on the other hand feels that anti-incumbency has finally caught up with his opponent. “Despite being almost on the banks of the Yamuna, the area faces such a severe water crisis. The power bills have gone up from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000. The house taxes of people in urbanised villages have not been written off,” said Singh.

Hashmi, however, says that he has got 52 transformers, a grid station, and chaupals built in several villages. “A senior secondary school has been constructed. As far as water is concerned, once the Sonia Vihar plant gets operational next year, our area will be the first to get water,” said Hashmi.

The constituency has a mix of posh areas like New Friends Colony, Friends Colony and Kalindi and also places like Srinivaspuri, Batla House and Garhi village.

Singh touches a raw nerve by pointing out that Hashmi was dropped from the Sheila Dikshit ministry “on corruption charges”. “People who are needed to strengthen the party are deputed to work for it. A government comes from a strong party and not the other way round,” he said.

While allegations and counter allegations continue, the people of the area have a mixed feeling.

A New Friends Colony resident says the area does have anything posh about it. “The roads are in a bad condition and even the local shopping market is in a mess,” he said.

Padam Singh, a Garhi resident, says he gets water for only a few minutes every week. “We just depend on tankers and even they don’t come regularly,” he said.

A major portion of the constituency comprises industrial areas and has a large chunk of migrant population.

The electorate, it seems is yet to make up its mind on whether to bank on experience or youth to solve their problems.

First Published: Nov 28, 2003 13:50 IST