The battle for the Hari Nagar seat has been touted as one of the most closely followed Assembly seats in the Capital. This West Delhi Assembly constituency will see the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance making an all-out effort to keep its hold intact on the traditional BJP stronghold. While the Congress has fielded the sitting and four-time former BJP MLA Harsharan Singh Balli on its symbol to wrest the seat from the BJP.
Mr. Balli, who has been representing the seat in the Delhi Legislative Assembly since 1993, defected to the Congress after the BJP decided to allot the seat, along with three others, to its ally SAD (Badal). The Congress changed its official candidate from Hari Nagar in the last minute and fielded Mr. Balli from the Punjabi and Sikh-dominated seat.
The constituency, where the Tihar Jail is located , is a mixed bag dotted with unplanned houses, DDA flats, posh bungalows with bustling shops on narrow, congested roads. Areas like Beriwala Bagh, Fateh Nagar and Tihar Village battle for basic civic amenities.
The SAD-BJP candidate Shyam Sharma, a BJP councillor from one of the municipal wards in the area, alleged the incumbent legislator has failed to ensure development in the area over the past five years.
“I have worked closely with Mr. Balli over the last one decade. Nothing has been done over the past five years. There is a huge problem with the sewerage system and lack of adequate drinking water in some areas like Fathenagar and Beriwala Bagh. Parking is another problem in the area. He has done nothing to solve these problems,” said Mr. Sharma, who represents Janakpuri North seat in South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
However, Mr. Balli exuded confidence that he would make it five-time in a row and played down the issues being raised by the Opposition candidates.
“People in the area relate with me and not with the party I am associated with, as I have been working for them for the last three decades. Parking is an issue across the city and not restricted to my area alone. However, a three-storey underground parking is coming up in Subhash Nagar. Apart from that, the area would soon have an indoor stadium, which will be jointly funded from MLA fund and the municipal corporation,” said Mr. Balli.