Millennium Post

Sealing, environment and officers' pensions key issues in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Under the scorching sun, the lanes and bylanes of Delhi are witnessing the hues of three major political parties, AAP, Congress and BJP. From full statehood to 'bijli-sadak-pani' to the image of PM Narendra Modi, the promises, claims and counterclaims are all out on the streets. But like many other constituencies, the New Delhi constituency of Delhi also has various micro issues which the people want to get solved.

This constituency has nearly 16.17 lakh voters some of them belong to the middle class and also this area has a large number of affluent people. Ten assembly seats come under this constituency which includes the New Delhi, Vidhan Sabha assembly constituency too from where current Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal defeated his previous counterpart Congress party's Shiela Dikshit with a huge margin.

The New Delhi constituency has a large number of markets like Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar, Defence Colony, Khan Market, South Extension, Green Park and Hauz Khas. The trader community is nearly 40 per cent of the total population of this constituency.

The sealing drive as directed by the Supreme Court of India is one of the major concerns among the trader communities of this area. Over, 4,000 commercial properties and shops were sealed by the authorities in the last one year and more. The political parties have blamed each other but the drive did not stop. "The traders are devastated by the demonetization, GST and the sealing drive. Neither the AAP government nor the Center worked to stop the sealing drive. We have urged all the MPs but they say that this court matter and nothing can be done. We want sealing drive to stop or else the traders of these areas will lose everything," said Ajay Singh a trader of Sarojini Nagar market.

The sealing drive took place at Defence Colony market, Amar Colony, Meharchand and Green Park market among others. The sealing drive also witnessed clashes between police and the traders various times, therefore, the people of this constituency consider sealing as one their major electoral issue.

The New Delhi is also the constituency which witnessed public uproar over the destruction of the environment. Last year for a redevelopment project the central government ordered cutting of 14,000 trees which forces people to take the streets. For the people of this constituency, the environment will be a key electoral issue. "It's known to every Delhi resident that the pollution is a major concern for the city. This time all the political parties at least brought the environment issue in their poll agenda. However, for this constituency, none of the candidates is talking about the issue. But to us the environment is a priority as our children are suffering from this polluted air," said Shalini Malhotra a resident of Amar Colony.

This area also has nearly 35 per cent of government officials who have faced issues with salary and pension after the seventh pay commission. For these people, this election is about the implementation of sixth pay commission recommendation and they have raised this demand to the candidates.

The constituency also has major issues with the hotels as places like Karol Bagh and Paharganj have many hotels. The sanitation, water and fire safety of these hotels are major concerns for the owners and the residents. Months back in a fire at a Karol Bagh, 17 people died. The residents and the hotel owners told the Millennium Post that proper water availability, fire safety and garbage clearance would be their priority in this election.

The New Delhi constituency like other constituencies of Delhi will face a triangular fight. The BJP has fielded the sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi, the Congress party's candidate is former Union Minister Ajay Maken and AAP's candidate is trade union leader Brijesh Goyal. While the BJP promised water and sanitation, Maken promised to stop of sealing and implementing the recommendations of the sixth pay commission, lastly, Goyal has promised to fight for the traders.

In the last election, Lekhi won with nearly 46 per cent vote share followed by AAP's Ashish Khetan who got 29 per cent vote share and Maken got 18 per cent of all the votes. In 1999, BJP leader Jagmohan won the seat. However, he lost to senior Congress leader Ajay Maken in 2004. Maken beat BJP leader Vijay Goel in 2009 too. As per the 2011 Census, New Delhi is the most urbanised parliamentary constituency in the capital. According to the election office, the seat sees little migration because the population here, on an average, has a steady flow of income.

Karol Bagh, Patel Nagar, Moti Nagar, Rajinder Nagar Assembly segments were added from erstwhile Karol Bagh Lok Sabha constituency which was dissolved in 2008. Malviya Nagar, RK Puram and Delhi Cantt Assembly segments were added from South Delhi parliamentary constituency. Assembly constituencies which come under the area are Karol Bagh (SC), Patel Nagar (SC), Moti Nagar, Delhi Cantt, Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi, Kasturba Nagar, Malviya Nagar, RK Puram, Greater Kailash. This constituency came into existence in 1951. Famous film actor, Rajesh Khanna lost here by a close margin in 1991 to LK Advani. It is the oldest constituency of Delhi that currently exists.

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