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Paharganj

Paharganj is almost like a mini city within the Capital. A railway station, markets, budget hotels, an exclusive pocket for foreigners replete with bars and bakeries, enough Internet and STD booths and yes, heavy traffic.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2003 11:57 IST

Paharganj is almost like a mini city within the Capital. A railway station, markets, budget hotels, an exclusive pocket for foreigners replete with bars and bakeries, enough Internet and STD booths and yes, heavy traffic.

The constituency has all these and a little more than 82,000 voters, a large number of whom are traders. While the majority of the electorate in Paharganj, which falls under the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, are Hindus, around 22,000 Muslims also live there. The constituency is also home to around 12,000 Jains. Some of the areas falling under this constituency include parts of Turkman Gate, Chuna Mandi and the main Paharganj bazaar.

Virender Babbar of the BJP will try to take the seat away from sitting Congress MLA Anjali Rai who is also the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women. In 1998, Rai had defeated her nearest candidate, BJP's Nirmal Khandelwal, by more than 16,500 votes.

Babbar says that Rai has done precious little for Paharganj. "Rai doesn't even stay in this constituency. Her house is in Kirti Nagar and as such she is not even aware of the problems that residents of Paharganj face," he says.

Babbar alleges that last time, Rai had made false promises to the voters about improving their quality of life. "But nothing has happened and the citizens are suffering from water and power problems."

Rai says the allegation that she disappeared from the constituency after the last election is not true. "I divided my days and time between different offices in the constituency. The timings were always displayed prominently on posters and pamphlets. Further, people were also welcome at the office of the Delhi Commission for Women," she says.

She, however, admits that there is more work to be done in the constituency. "Lots of work have been done. But more needs to be done as well. As far as basic necessities like water and power are concerned, much of the work has already been done. But I also want to develop the parks in Paharganj that does not have much greenery. I want to develop parks on empty plots of land, not community centres. The children need places to play," Rai says.

First Published: Nov 29, 2003 11:57 IST