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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

In Delhi, nationalism pitch may be blunted by infra, education

A look at the Sheila Dikshit constituency and how things have changed on the ground since AAP came into the picture.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 21, 2019 13:04 IST
Risha Chitlangia
Risha Chitlangia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit during one of her poll rallies in Delhi.
Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit during one of her poll rallies in Delhi. (HT Photo)
         

It was a keenly watched contest here, as three-time chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit was pitted against sitting Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament and Bhojpuri actor-singer Manoj Tiwari and Aam Aadmi Party’s Purvanchali leader Dilip Pandey.

Haji Ishaq Malik (87), a social worker and resident of Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, said that this time it was about choosing a party which “can be a better alternative to the BJP”. “People are very happy with the work done by the AAP. But Dikshit’s entry had changed the situation on ground, as she had done a lot of work during her tenure as Delhi’s CM,” he said.

The densely-populated constituency with 2.28 million electorate — the second highest in Delhi — has the highest population of Muslims (close to 25%) in the city. Political analyst Tanvir Aeijaz said that their vote was likely to be split between the AAP and the Congress.

In Khajoori Khas’ slum cluster (often referred as Kachhi Khajoori), unemployment, demonetization, the ongoing sealing drive, and national security are some of the key issues on which people said that they voted.

“We suffered a lot during demonetisation. And now, it is the sealing drive which has rendered so many people jobless. The central government has not done anything to stop the sealing in Delhi,” said Mohd Naushad (40), a tailor at Khajoori Khas slum cluster.

Seema Kumari (38), a resident, said that she too voted to elect the next prime minister, but cited “national security” as one of her reasons. “There are a lot of local issues like lack of sanitation, overflowing drains. But this election was about country’s safety,” she said.

For first-time voter Sonam Singh, who is seeking admission in college, her vote was decided by the party that she felt would provide better educational facilities. “There are no colleges or good educational institutes in the area. Why should we go to north or south Delhi for higher education?” said Singh, a resident of Karawal Nagar. One of the main poll promises of BJP and AAP’s candidates (Gautam Gambhir and Atishi respectively) from the neighbouring constituency (East Delhi) has been to open colleges in the trans-Yamuna area.