Class divide over issues: Upscale voters favour economy; slum dwellers factor inflation, unemployment

Among the crowd, a majority of voters were elderly and senior citizens who stood in the queue during early voting hours. The voter turnout was 44.58 per cent till 3 pm.
For representational purposes
For representational purposesFile photo

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary election in the city hit off with a decent footfall as people throng up to polling booths for voting early to escape from heat and long queues which build up later part in the day.

Among the crowd, a majority of voters were elderly and senior citizens who stood in the queue during early voting hours. The voter turnout was 44.58 per cent till 3 pm.

The candidates focused on a mix of national and civic issues in their poll pitches. However, the early voters indicated that they exercised their franchise on national issues. Besides, a clear class divide was also observed on the pattern of issues the votes were casted by the people.

While electors of upscale localities voted on nationalism, national security, global image of India and economic growth, contemporary issues such as inflation, unemployment, and better education were the factors considered by slum dwellers while voting.

At East Delhi's Patparganj, 48-year-old Kundan Singh Vohra said he voted for the development of the nation. For him, nationalism was a catalyst.

When asked about other contemporary subjects like inflation and unemployment, Vohra, who is a Chartered Accountant by profession, blamed it on people. 

"Unemployment is here because people are not skilled. Youngsters waste prime of their youth in going after government jobs to seek comfort. Instead, they should work upon enhancing their skills," he said.

Sabhyasachi Banerjee, 32, from Chittranjan Park said he voted on the improved global image of the nation. 

"In geopolitics, the positioning of India is stronger than ever. Our passport now holds more value and the diaspora is also being respected worldwide," he said.

Banerjee, who is a software engineer in an IT firm, said issues like inflation and unemployment did not impact his voting decision. "Honestly, I earn pretty well. These are legit issued but do not affect me since I come from an affluent background. It may be affecting decisions of those who are impacted by them," he added.

60-year-old Satish Verma from Greater Kailash said that inflation has been here for a long time and it can't be controlled by any party that comes to power.  "Mehangayi (inflation) has been here and will continue to rise but simultaneously, our income is also increasing."

23-year-old Piyali Deb from Panchsheel Park, who is a textile designer by profession, said she is against the reservation and it was her voting factor. "I heard that if opposition comes, the reservation would be extended to Muslims and general caste will have to struggle for every government facility,"

When asked what is the source of her information, she said Instagram memes and YouTube videos. 

However, 19-year-old Deepika, a college aspirant and lives in a slum cluster of Okhla, seemed worried about employment opportunities.

"I'll be going to college this year and I'm concerned about my future prospects. People are more concerned about communal issues, but I think the focus should be on fulfilling the needs of the poor," she said.

"Inflation is the most pressing concern for me as proces just keep rising. At the same time, despite increasing levels of education, the youth are not able to find employment," said 48- year old Shanawaz Alam in Sangam Vihar.

Shyam Rai, a voter in Tughlakabad village said that country's progress should be of utmost importance. "We need better schools, colleges, hospitals and roads."

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