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For many, hyperlocal issues a top concern

Most voters The Indian Express spoke to listed a series of hyperlocal aspirations, all centering around the cleanliness of their localities. Many also expressed anger and disappointment at current incumbents for not doing enough.

Most voters flagged cleanliness issues in their localities. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

The sight of roads dug up, smell of garbage putrefying on their streets and endless knocks at a councillor’s door leading to bitter disappointment weighed on the minds of voters who headed out to cast their vote for a new, reunified MCD on Sunday.

Most voters The Indian Express spoke to listed a series of hyperlocal aspirations, all centering around the cleanliness of their localities. Many also expressed anger and disappointment at current incumbents for not doing enough.

In Shaheen Bagh, a sea of garbage cutting across the entrance of a polling centre reminded voters of what they were voting for. Rajda Khan, a 37-year-old resident, is voting for change as she said, “Previous officials have not had success”. She hopes to see proper garbage disposal.

Over 20 km away, Nisar Ahmed (55) from Northeast Delhi’s Jafrabad said the drains around his area were overflowing and “previous councillors have not done as much as they should have”.

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Begumpur resident Amit Kumar Das (31) said he is tired of looking at dug up roads in his locality and longs for change. He also wants the AAP’s policies which led to a reduction in water and electricity bills to be replicated in the MCD as well. “We want that kind of good work to happen in the MCD also,” he said.

Ramesh Sharma, a 63-year-old general store owner in Raj Niwas, said despite being an upscale VIP area, it still has pothole-filled roads and clogged drains. He also said the streets would get inundated during the monsoon. “This time too, we voted hoping these issues will be addressed. Let’s see,” he said.

Prakash Malhotra, a central government employee, recalled the time when he tried to reach out to the local councillor over thefts in the area but to no avail. “Councillors should be people’s friends… they should be respectful,” he said.

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Gopal Krishan (61), a resident of Malviya Nagar, claimed he has not seen his local councillor for the last five years and felt embittered that only promises were made on the eve of elections. He said he “voted for change”. So did Kuldeep Bharadwaj (63), a resident of Ganpati Bagh, who said he has never seen a councillor visit his area in the last two decades.

Arun Bedi (57), a businessman from Amar Colony, added: “Whoever comes now should be a local person and should work.”

Apart from hyperlocal issues, the spate of demolition drives to clear encroachments this year in the capital also weighed on people’s minds. For Janaki Devi (55), who turned up to cast her vote at a polling station in Okhla, memories of her home and tea stall demolished in one such drive six months ago are still fresh. “They did not leave anything behind. My livelihood was destroyed in a day. I came to vote because I am angry,” Devi said.

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 05:30 IST
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