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In backdrop of 2020 riots, Northeast Delhi goes out to vote

Brijpuri resident Haji Gul Mohammad (52), a railway employee at the Old Delhi Railway Station, rued what he claimed was a lack of help from the AAP during the riots and said he would steadfastly remain behind the Congress despite several issues remaining unresolved in the locality in the past few years.

At a selfie booth in Khajoori Khas, Sunday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

For some residents of Northeast Delhi, the 2020 riots and the responses to it were on top of their minds when they voted in the MCD election on Sunday. Others, however, said local issues are a more pressing concern.

Brijpuri resident Haji Gul Mohammad (52), a railway employee at the Old Delhi Railway Station, rued what he claimed was a lack of help from the AAP during the riots and said he would steadfastly remain behind the Congress despite several issues remaining unresolved in the locality in the past few years. “The drains are overflowing and there is garbage everywhere. There is garbage clogging the drains. Former MLA Hasan Ahmed (who represented the Mustafabad constituency) had done some work, but not much happened after that,” he added.

A few other residents said the riots, while still fresh in their minds, may not have much of an impact on the election. Haji Ayub (60), a resident of Mustafabad and a social worker, said the issues that were significant in the MCD polls were those of basic facilities and cleanliness. “A lack of cleanliness in the area, lack of clean water, corruption in the MCD… these are the issues. We have had a Congress councillor for some time now. But Congress councillors say they don’t have much power since they don’t have a majority in the MCD or the government. There needs to be some change now,” he said.

The Mustafabad ward in Northeast Delhi has had Congress councillors since at least 2007. Nearby, Seelampur voted for a Bahujan Samaj Party councillor in 2017, while Chauhan Bangar near Jafrabad voted for an AAP councillor. The Gokulpuri ward has an outgoing BJP councillor. There was heavy security deployed at some polling booths in Northeast Delhi, including an MCD primary school in Jafrabad.

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Nisar Ahmed (55), who voted in Jafrabad, and runs a local iron sheet business, said the riots inflicted much pain in the area, but it was unlikely to have an impact on the MCD polls. “Humare bhaiyon ka nuksan hua tha. Muslims faced severe losses in the riots… even in the Gokulpuri market. Lekin uska iss election se kuch lena dena nahin hain (It does not have much to do with the election to a local government). Maybe in another election it could have an impact,” he said.

Ahmed too identified lack of cleanliness as a key issue: “Cleaning does not happen here. The area is very dirty, drains are not being cleaned and are overflowing. The previous councillors have not done as much as they should have.”

First published on: 05-12-2022 at 05:25 IST
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