Matiala has three dozen villages with 70,000 voters

Around three dozen villages dot the Matiala constituency, with around 70,000 voters who may prove crucial to the electoral outcome in the largest Assembly seat in the upcoming elections in Delhi.

If locals are to be believed, voters in these villages had voted en bloc in favour of the incumbent Congress legislator, Sumesh Shokeen, in the 2008 Assembly elections. The same villagers, however, now seem unhappy with Mr. Shokeen, who himself belongs to Chhawla village along Najafgarh Road.

“The biggest criticism against Shokeen is that he remained inaccessible over the past five years. All along, he seemed to be more focused on unauthorised colonies and he listened only to a coterie around him. He has hardly looked into the issues of these villages, which actually ensured his victory last time,” said Satish Balyan, a resident of Kakrola village.

Mr. Shokeen, who defeated Kamal Jeet of the BJP by a margin of 6,000 votes in 2008, said while he has brought development in the majority of the unauthorised colonies, he has also taken care of the villages.

“Through the Rural Development Board, I was able to get clearance of 139 development schemes for the villages. The development work includes construction and maintenance of internal roads, construction of new chaupals, renovation of old ones and providing other basic amenities. In all, 85 of the 139 schemes have already been completed,” Mr. Shokeen said.

On the issue of accessibility, he asserted: “I represent the biggest constituency in the city and since I am mostly out on official visits to the area, there might be individual cases where people could not meet me. But I am one of the most accessible MLAs in Delhi. I am just a phone call away. I don’t even have a personal assistant, I respond to all phone calls myself.”

The Matiala legislative seat incorporates 34 villages, 101 unauthorised colonies and over 300 cooperative societies in Dwarka. The major villages include Matiala, Kakrola, Chhawla, Daulatpur, Nanakheri, Kanganheri, Jhatikara, Pandwala Khurd, Pandwala Kalan, Paprawat and Nangli Dairy.

The two other major contenders in the fray are Rajesh Gehlot of the BJP and Gulab Singh Yadav of the Aam Admi Party. Mr. Gehlot is the chairman of the Standing Committee of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. The BJP supporters in the area said Mr. Gehlot is one of the leading contenders “as he has brought several development projects of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation not only in his municipal ward Matiala, but also in other wards of the Assembly segment”.

More In: Delhi