The display board on RK Ashram Marg metro station’s platform flashes a wait-time of five minutes till the next train. While others impatiently wait for the next metro on the Blue Line, 70-year-old Sarvananat Mehra seems to be in no hurry. Clad in a black coat and a cap with a tika on his forehead, Mehra says he’s adjusted to both the wait for the next metro as well as the next election. After living years in the National Capital, he has been seeing it for years.
Although vocal about his support for the BJP, the septuagenarian is not sure of the party’s chances of winning since he admits one never knows ‘how people will vote’.
“My wife says she will vote for Kejriwal because our electricity bill that used to be Rs 4000, has reduced to half,” says Mehra, who runs a shop at Paschim Vihar. He, however, has some complaints with the state government. “I can still show you places where dumps of garbage are lying. Modi can’t come and clean the nala (gutter), authorities have to do that. The young bloods might want to vote for Kejriwal, but those who think for the country will vote for Modi ji.”
Asked about the role of Municipal Corporation, which is being run by BJP, in managing the waste, the 70-year-old adds, “That is why is important to have the same party at the Centre and state.”
The Blue Line from Noida to Dwarka is crowded, especially for a Saturday. Children in uniform going to school, those out to spend their weekend off, the train is bustling with people. A group of six women in their mid-forties, who’re all teachers at the same private school, are in the metro too.
“Kejriwal has given the lollipop of subsidy to everyone. We don’t need subsidies as we are taxpaying individuals. All we want is development,” says Suman Yadav. Her colleague, Sonam, interjects, “What the other governments could not do in 70 years, Modi government has done in five years.”
Asked which development strategies she’s loved, she says, “Modi has made a name for the country internationally, he has repealed Article 370 from Kashmir and has also brought in CAA.”
The teachers were also not in favour of Jamia and JNU students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“We don’t understand the need for protests. If you are an Indian Muslim, why would you not have documents? The students are burning buses. As teachers, we don’t understand how can students do this,” says Suman.
According to an Indian Express report, The Delhi Police had on December 17 arrested 10 people from Okhla area in connection with the violence that rocked Jamia Millia Islamia University. A police spokesperson confirmed that most of the accused have a criminal background and none of them are students.
But, Suman and her friends do not agree with this. They also say “truth” about Shaheen Bagh — where women are leading a sit-in protest against the new citizenship law—has come out, citing a video of BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya which claimed that these women were paid Rs 500 per day. Following this, the protestors have sent a Rs 1 crore defamation notice to Malviya, Indian Express reports.
Neha, a bank employee, who lives in Dwarka, however, says her vote will go to Kejriwal. “It’s the middle-class that has gained from Kejriwal’s governance. The rich can buy anything they want. It’s middleclass people like us who have benefited from the subsidy in electricity and water bills. Government schools are doing so well. He introduced odd-even to curb pollution, and has also made the roads cleaner. What is Modi doing for the middle-class?,” she questions: “woh bas yatra karte rehte hain” (He just keeps travelling from one country to another).
The crowd thins out as the train reaches Dwarka, and among those waiting at the station for the train heading to Noida Electronic City is 27-year-old Sanjay, who feels it is the lower-income groups who support Kejriwal the most. “Upper class doesn’t need subsidies. In Uttam Nagar, there is garbage heaps that we go all around while going home. The state government has not been able to make a 10 feet road over it, so we can’t say all issues are resolved,” he declares.
CA aspirant Sonali Singh, and her friend Yogita who’re also en route, may have a hectic syllabus, but they say it still doesn’t keep them away from following politics. “We will definitely vote this time,” says Sonali, an Uttam Nagar resident. “Kejriwal has done a lot for Delhi, you need to visit a government hospital to see that. They have also set up mohalla clinics,” she says.
“BJP is doing good work at the Centre, but Kejriwal is doing a lot for the schools and hospitals in Delhi,” quips her friend, Yogita.
Even as the announcement for Karol Bagh starts resonating in the metro, in rushes a considerable crowd. Among them is Tapan, 50, who runs a textile shop in Karol Bagh.
“I don’t know much about politics. I don’t read in-depth, I just consume news from TV, so I’m not the right person to talk about the polls. But I know from my area, AAP will win the seat. Vishesh Ravi (the AAP candidate) will again win this time,” he says.
Why’s he so confident?
“Karol Bagh had scarcity of water, there was trouble getting water to our homes, but now, the government solved it and we are getting water in our homes.”
As the train enters Mayur Vihar, Tapan gets down, balancing two sacks of clothes, joining the hastening crowd. Agla station? Polling booth.
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