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In South Delhi, Congress fights against anti-incumbency

New Delhi: One may not be astonished to find almost half a kilometre of pots and buckets lined in a discreet manner on a narrow road everyday in Delhi's Sangam Vihar with the owners of these utensils talking to each other in a loud cacophony of voices. For the curious readers, this is how each day passes in this neglected locality of the national capital where life is a struggle for a single drop of water. As soon as a water tanker owned by the Delhi Jal Board shows up all hell breaks loose as everyone dashes to fill up their utensils. The better off residents get their daily quota from private tankers at a hefty sum of around Rs 3,500 per tank.

In terms of water connectivity, Sangam Vihar in the southern part of Delhi, is one of the worst places in the national capital. There are pockets where people receive running water only once in 15-20 days. Some pockets are worse and they receive water from their taps only once in a month or so. That's the reality not only in Sangam Vihar, but a sprawling area that lies beyond and around it, that is affected by the same condition of basic amenities.

Fight for water. AFP

Fight for water. AFP

According to the Election Commission data, this constituency voted for the Aam Aadmi party in large number and the AAP candidate came out victorious in the assembly election. The Sangam Vihar assembly constituency can again play a pivotal role during the Lok Sabha election to decide the fate of the South Delhi constituency.

Col Devinder Singh Shehrawat, a former commando trainer and the AAP candidate from South Delhi is also banking on these voters, who "are the worst victim of the empathy of a government which failed to deliver to the people even in the national capital". However, AAP secured only three seats among 10 assembly seats that constitute the South Delhi constituency.

Among the seven seats seats in Delhi, South Delhi along with the North West Delhi seat went to BJP. While in North West Delhi, BJP faired well on the basis of the Jat votes, the South Delhi assembly seats like Chatarpur also witnessed the Jat votes going in favour of BJP. "The Hindu votes are going in our favour and the candidate Ramesh Bidhuri being a Gujjar candidate will definitely secure the Gujjar votes," says one of the campaign assistants of Bidhuri.

Bidhuri, a popular leader in places like Kalkaji and Tughlakabad is a veteran BJP MLA from Tughlakabad, close to the Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, contested from South Delhi in the last Lok Sabha election. Bidhuri lost the seat to the then and sitting MP Ramesh Kumar of Congress. However, the difference was less than 90,000, which Bidhuri says will be overcome this time. "Congress has lost all credibility and it shows in the assembly election that they are not anymore a viable option for the people of Delhi. And the Aam Aadmi Party has shown people that it is incapable of governing," he says. His assertion is reflected among a large section of the voters, who now come across disillusioned after the abrupt quitting of the AAP government.

"We voted them in power, hoping that this is our only chance at making a change for ourselves. It's not that they did not work but why quit in a haste?" says Maheshawar Rawat from Deoli about AAP. The quitting has to some extent worked against the new political party, says insiders in the party. "Outside Delhi one major impression on people is that the party has managed to form the government within a year of forming but inside Delhi, the quitting has had an adverse effect," says one party member in condition of anonymity.

Not only the resignation of the government is factoring on the minds of the people but also Modi's 'good governance agenda' is creating an impact among the electorate. "Modi is touting development and Kejriwal's strategies are not coming across as constructive so definitely there is a discontent among people," says Surajit Khatri, a lawyer from Sangam Vihar, who claims despite not being a member of the Aam Aadmi Party he actively campaigned for it before the Delehi elections.

However, AAP sounds undeterred from all these. Devinder Shehrawat has packed his bag and started living on the road as he says, "I want to do a thorough recent study of the constituency and come up with a manifesto that reflects the the demand on the ground." AAP member Ashish Tanwar said, "He is staying in his car and starting everyday from the same point where the night campaign ends." A sharp contrast to Shehrawat is his contender from BJP, Bidhuri, who has hired a PR agency for facilitating his campaign.

However, amid these two parties, it's the Congress which is yet to make a furore or create a substantial impact among the voters. The Congress MP Ramesh Kumar is accused by both his rivals of not working. The same is voiced by the people of his constituency. "No one has seen the MP in last five years. And let's not talk about the his accomplishments because there is none," says Pragya Sharma from Chatarpur. Kumar could not be reached after a few attempts by Firstpost. One of his close aides though says that the anti-incumbency wave can completely go against the Congress candidate. "It's a fight against two phenomenon that has swept the country in recent time. Though he is connected to people on the ground and have done substantial amount of work, it's not going to be easy and that's our assessment," he said.


Updated Date: Apr 09, 2014 14:47 PM

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