On Delhi election eve, Dikshit's constituency looks unshaken

"Kejriwal doesn't even have a one percent chance" says Om Prakash, a Congress worker, sitting in his plush office in Sarojini Nagar, located Sheila Diskhit's New Delhi constituency.

Despite the relentless onslaught of news reports predicting the end of the 15-year reign of Dikshit and her party, loyal workers remain defiantly optimistic.

 On Delhi election eve, Dikshits constituency looks unshaken

A 92-year-old Anchayya from Pilanji village in Dikshit's New Delhi constituency holds up her hand to indicate her support Congress party. Firspost

Quick to discredit Aam Admi Party's chief ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal, Prakash questions Kejriwal's fallout with Anna Hazare.

Calling Kejriwal's popularity the result of "rented support" and BJP's candidate Vijender Gupta "an outsider", Prakash says, "I can guarantee that the 6000-7000 votes from this part of Sarojini Nagar will go to Sheila Dikshit."

Parroting the party's campaign pitch Prakash reels off the Dikshit's "development record" and dismisses price rise as a "non-issue" in this election.

The New Delhi constituency, which is home to 1.3 lakh voters, gave Dikshit a decisive mandate in 2008, choosing her over the BJP rival Vijay Jolly by almost 14,000 votes.

The third contender BSP's Rajiv Singh came a distant third polling 8 percent of the vote share compared to Dikshit's 52 percent.

While the BJP campaign in the CM's bastion saw multiple rallies by BJP's national leaders including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, the Congress campaign saw just one rally by Dikshit addressed in New Delhi.

The Congress campaign in this high profile constituency, which is being being described as a "battle-ground" constituency, was limited two padayatras by the chief minister in Gole Market and Sarojini Nagar.

Incidentally, it was on a day when Kejriwal too kicked off his campaign in the constituency from Pilanji village, not far from Dikshit's own campaign rally.

Despite Kejriwal's seemingly infectious popularity and some polls even predicting a shock defeat for Dikshit at the hands of the debutante, support for the Congress seems to have remained with its traditional voters.

Take, for instance, the pradhan of Pilanji village. (Pilanji the only village in the New Delhi constituency whose landscape is otherwise dominated by bungalows on broad tree-lined roads and government quarters).

"I agree Kejriwal is honest. But what else do we know about him. What does he stand for, what is his background," says Shivlal, the pradhan, who comes across as a Congress loyalist.

He insists people are eager to cast their vote and "bring Congress back to power." The BJP's campaign, says Shivlal, has been "extremely negative" and focussed more on pointing fingers than about coming up with solutions.

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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2013 23:10:18 IST