In the run up to the Delhi Assembly polls, the country’s capital has been enveloped by a thick fog. A fog that even the best of weathermen couldn’t predict. It has nothing to do even with what the agencies monitoring pollution in Delhi have always been harping about.
It is a fog that has clouded the minds of Delhi voters. The advertisement blitzkrieg launched by the main contenders in the election fray has fogged the minds of Delhiites through radios playing jingles in their cars, television sets beaming politically-loaded images into their sitting rooms, and booming loudspeakers in rallies that brought traffic to a crawl in their localities.
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When Delhi goes to polls on February 7, will the electorate decide which party would best represent their interests based on election rhetoric or on past record? One party is accused of looking for excuses to quit power while the other is being called power-hungry.
Whatever the accusations and allegations, development figures cannot be overlooked. We set out seeking evidence on how the MLAs of the previous Assembly had utilised funds from the Local Area Development fund. Every MLA is given Rs 4 crore every year to sanction and implement development programmes in their respective constituencies. And each individual project not exceeding Rs 2 crore.
Starting with former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, we analyse his cabinet ministers and other major constituencies.
The Aam Aadmi Party chief has spent a total of Rs 3.05 crore on development works in his Delhi constituency. Election promises on providing 666 litres of water everyday and bringing down electricity tariffs has propelled the party to power in 2013. Being the face of AAP Kejriwal had spent Rs 36.45 lakh on water works like installing filtered water public hydrants and hand pumps. Of which Rs 8.35 lakh was spent in jhuggis alone. A further Rs 25.64 lakh was spent on installing street lights and Rs 81.02 lakh on security. The rest of the Rs 3.05 crore spent by Kejriwal was used in roadworks, construction of compound walls, park benches etc.
Kejriwal’s right-hand man, former minister Manish Sisodia, spent the least among the cohort of AAP’s cabinet ministers. The MLA from Patparganj has spent a total of Rs 1.83 crore from the MLALAD fund. A majority of it was spent on installing street lights, Rs 64.55 lakh to be precise. Rest went towards developing roads, parks in his constituency.
Former minister Rakhi Birla spent the maximum among the ministers, which is just Rs 56 lakh short of her Rs 4 crore limit. Birla spent Rs 1.02 crore on installing CCTVs alone and Rs 1.21 crore on lighting up her Mangolpuri constituency.
Other notable figures are:
# The face of BJP campaign in 2013 Assembly polls, Dr Harshvardhan, won the Krishna Nagar constituency by polling 69,222 votes but did not dip into his MLA fund in the few months he held his seat before resigning.
# AAP candidate from Trilokpuri, Raju, did not spend any money on repair works post the communal clashes that rocked the constituency in October, 2014.
# Congress MLA Parlad Singh Sawhney from Chandini Chowk was just Rs 32 lakh away from exhausting his funds. A majority of the Rs 3.68 crore he spent went into developing roads.
# AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, infamous for his Khirki extension raid, spent a total of Rs 72.62 lakh on CCTVs.
February 10, counting day, will lift the fog on who will take seat in India’s power capital.