By Pramod Kumar
The battle for Delhi´s seven Lok Sabha seats and one assembly constituency (Moti Nagar), which was vacated by Madan Lal Khurana before joining as Rajasthan Governor, has reached its peak. In this fight, the BJP, which had swept the polls in 1999, has almost completed the second phase of campaigning. On the other hand, the Congress, divided into so many factions, is still finding it tough to kick off the campaign.
About 85 lakh voters of Delhi including 3,10,000 new voters who turned 18 just before January 2004, will decide the fate of candidates on May 10.
Since there are two governments in Delhi, the NDA government has developed a ´feel good´ in Delhi also. “Beginning of Metro rail, introduction of CNG, construction of about four dozen flyovers, attractive parks, auditoriums, regularisation of 1,600 unauthorised colonies, are some of the works done by the Central Government that have made life easier in Delhi. On the other hand, the state Congress government before coming to power had promised to bring qualitative changes in electric and water supply as well as in public transport. Now, not to speak of improving the supply, there is a move to hike the water, power and DTC tariffs. There is a conspiracy to privatise the Jal Board. Property tax has been hiked in an arbitrary manner. What to speak of ensuring free education to 25 per cent poor students in public schools, this government has failed in issuing BPL ration cards to people living below the poverty line in Delhi,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP president.
“We have repeatedly been demanding from the state government to allow the MLA´s fund to be utilised in such colonies to provide basic amenities. But the Congress government is mum over it,” alleged Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly.
The BJP candidates appear to be banking fully on their five years´ performances. The divided house of the Congress, on the other hand, is still in the process of preparing its strategy to prevent the BJP repeating the 1998 poll results. At that time too the Congress was in power in the state.
Prof. Vijay Kumar Mal-hotra has a direct fight with the Cong-ress nominee, R.K. Anand in South Delhi. He feels that Atalji´s name, developmental works done by the NDA government, the pubic faith that Atalji can make India one of the greatest nations of the world and the developmental works done by him in his constituency have ensured his re-election. “As far as my work is concerned, there are hundreds of things. More than 1,700 sodium lights have been installed in the area which have lit up the entire area. There are community centres, gymnasiums, swimming pools, etc. that have developed ´feel good´ among people of my constituency. My direct contact with all the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) has helped me to win people´s trust,” said Prof. Malh-otra, while talking to Organsier.
It is a neck-to-neck fight between Dr Anita Arya of BJP and Cong-ress nominee, Krishna Tirath in Karol Bagh. Dr Arya claims that her live contact with public and the party workers as also the developmental works done by her have made her re-election easier. “I remained in public round the clock for listening to their grievances. People are now with me. I shall win by a comfortable margin,” she asserted.
Union Minister of Labour, Dr Sahib Singh Verma is again contesting from the outer Delhi seat. “People will judge the excellent work that I have done, not only in my constituency but all over the country,” he said. Referring to his achievements, he said, “As Union Minister of Labour, I provided social security to 36 crore people of the unorganised sector. Besides playing a key role in regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi, the developmental works done in my constituency are visible everywhere. I will win with a huge margin,” he claimed.
BJP´s Vijay Goel has a direct fight with the Cong-ress nominee, Jagdish Tytler in Sadar constituency. “People of Sadar have already seen my work and availability when I served them a few years back. I was born, brought up and have been living in this constituency for the last five decades. Even my political career began from this area. People have also seen my work in Chandni Chowk. I know the area as well as its problems like the back of my hand,” he claimed.
Lal Behari Tewari of BJP is contesting from East Delhi for the fourth time. He had defeated the Congress stalwart, H.K.L. Bhagat in the 1997 by-elections with more than 1,24,000 votes and that too when the polling was a mere 24 per cent. In 1998 he defeated the present Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit and also former Lt. Governor of Delhi, H.K.L. Kapoor in 1999. “This time I am asking the people to re-elect me, keeping in view my performance. I got the work of Metro Rail started from trans-Yamuna. Construction of a mega railway station in Anand Vihar with Rs 234 crores, construction of railway bridge parallel to the historic old railway bridge over the Yamuna, building of various flyovers, sanction of a new bridge at Wazirabad on Yamuna river, are some of the major achievements of which people of East Delhi will feel proud. I promise a separate Municipal Corporation for trans-Yamuna area if elected again,” confirmed Shri Tewari.
Union Minister, Jagmohan is all set to take on Delhi Assembly speaker, Ajay Maken, from the New Delhi constituency.