While the current MLA from Patparganj constituency Anil Kumar (Congress) is looking for a second stint, residents of the area say he faces a tough fight from the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Residents say they are troubled by civic issues such as the lack of maintenance of sewer lines, garbage not being collected on time and the lack of clean drinking water.
The constituency is divided into three distinct areas, which include people from different sections of society. The first section is educated professionals staying in Indraprastha Extension, Mayur Vihar I and II and DDA flats. The second one comprises of migrants, mostly engaged in small-time businesses or odd jobs, living in Mandavali, Vinod Nagar and Patparganj
The third group, which makes up a substantial percentage of the population, is people living in slum areas. Residents of these areas are mostly daily-wage labourers, domestic helps and auto-rickshaw drivers.
Despite these differences, the garbage, sewer and water issues are common to all 1.8 lakh voters in the constituency.
Atar Singh (45), who runs a provisions store in Patparganj area, said: “The sewers are the biggest issue here. The drains go un-cleaned for many days and the roads are rarely taken care of. People throw garbage outside their houses as there is no other way to dispose of it. We want these things to be improved and hope that whosoever comes to power brings about a change”.
Mr. Singh, who had voted for the Congress last time said he wants a regime change and will vote for the AAP as the party is new and has good intentions.
Ajit Kumar, a resident of West Vinod Nagar, said: “The drains here are not cleaned regularly and it poses a serious health hazard. I want the system to change and will vote either for the BJP or the AAP”.
The MLA and Congress candidate from the area, Anil Kumar, told The Hindu: “There was a time when sewers were a big issue in the area, but after I came to power I made sure that sewers were constructed wherever required. There can be issues with the cleaning and maintenance but that is not my job, it is the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s. They should take care of it”.
The same issue is being used by the AAP and the BJP to woo voters in the constituency.
BJP candidate Nakul Bhardwaj, Mr. Kumar’s main opponent, said: “The current MLA may not have even visited the inside lanes of the slums, but I am going to each and every one of them to listen to their issues. People are fed up with sewer issues and the lack of drinking water in the area. They want development in their area, which we can bring”.
AAP candidate Manish Sisodia told The Hindu: “Our basic aim is to provide basic amenities to people in the constituency. Sewers, garbage and the lack of clean drinking water in the area are the issues that need to be tackled with utmost priority. If our party comes to power, we will work on these issues.”
In the 2008 elections, the Congress and the BJP had a close fight. While Mr. Kumar won 42.39 per cent votes, Mr. Bhardwaj secured 41.63 per cent of the total votes.
Residents in Mayur Vihar I and II also complain of poor sanitation in the area. V.N. Sawariya, a resident of Mayur Vihar I, said: “Garbage disposal is not proper in the area, because of which mosquitoes breed excessively here. At times it gets difficult to sleep at night when the power goes off. On the periphery, Mayur Vihar I and II may appear to be good, but water and garbage issues concern us as well. We want a change in the regime this time. The AAP looks promising. Let’s see how they perform if they win”.