Delhi Assembly elections: BJP’s colony pitch fails to turn voters’ minds

Large chunk of voters from unauthorised colonies said they voted on bread and butter issues such as water and electricity 

Published: 09th February 2020 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2020 10:09 AM   |  A+A-

People check their name in a voter list outside a polling station during the during the Delhi Assembly elections at Satbadi area in New Delhi on Saturday.

People check their name in a voter list outside a polling station during the during the Delhi Assembly elections at Satbadi area in New Delhi on Saturday. (Photo|EPS/ Shekhar yadav)

NEW DELHI: The BJP may have bet big on unauthorised colonies in its quest for a political comeback in the national capital, but did its plank work enough on voters to turn their opinion in its favour? Not really, if the general refrain of colony voters, queuing up to get their fingers inked on an unusually busy Saturday, is anything to go by. Seeking to get loud on the Centre’s announcement to accord ownership status to residents of unauthorised colonies, the BJP made it a key poll plank, to the extent that giant hoardings and posters went up at these colonies, seeking to appropriate credit for the move. Its rivals, the AAP and Congress, too, joined in the race to vie for credit.

A sizeable cross-section of voters from unauthorised colonies said they voted on bread and butter issues — water, electricity and sanitation, as opposed to national issues such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which were central to the BJP’s campaign pitch. Rajeev Gupta, who has been living in Chander Vihar, an unauthorised colony in Patparganj, for the last 25 years, said, “I voted on the government’s work, especially road repair, education and health. Regularisation (of unauthorised colonies) wasn’t a poll issue for us. Only an announcement has been made. We’re yet to get our hands on registries.”Ravi Kumar, from Madhu Vihar, part of Vishwas Nagar Assembly constituency, said, “We didn’t fall for the announcement on unauthorised colonies, as even during the tenure of (former CM) Sheila Dikshit, a layout plan was drawn up and passed in the Assembly. (Congress’s) Naseeb Singh was the local MLA at the time. The BJP made it an issue again.

It was nothing but a ploy to distract voters from more pressing issues. More than anything else, a common man needs basic amenities.”Akhtar Hassan, a resident of Ranjeet Nagar area of Patel Nagar constituency, said, “Kejriwal proved himself as an able administrator. I hope the next government will focus on putting a stop to illegal construction in the city. Sanitation is also a big issue in colonies like ours. For me, education and jobs are more compelling issues than mandir (temple) and masjid (mosque).” Kapil Kumar, a state government employee from Madavali, said, “As citizens, we shouldn’t vote for government handouts but to make our country better. I believe our country now has a better global image under the Modi government.”

Key poll plank
Seeking to get loud on the Centre’s announcement to accord ownership status to residents of unauthorised colonies, the BJP made it a key poll plank, to the extent that giant hoardings and posters went up at these colonies. Its rivals, the AAP and Congress, too, joined in the race to vie for credit.

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