Contrary to the wave in favour of the AAP and the BJP elsewhere in Delhi, voters in the two reserved seats — Mangolpuri and Sultanpur Majra — seemed to have warmed up to the Congress.
Rakhi Birla, the youngest member of the 49-day AAP government, had routed Congress minister and three-time MLA Raj Kumar Chauhan in Mangolpuri in 2013. But many said the fates of the two leaders may have reversed this time around. Mangolpuri witnessed a voter turnout of 71.78 per cent this time as opposed to 69.73 per cent in 2013.
Voters in Mangolpuri expressed dissatisfaction with Birla especially over last year’s incident of filing an FIR against a boy whose cricket ball had hit her car. Residents also alleged that no significant improvement was made in the constituency after she got elected.
“Bijli wahi, paani ka rate wahi, electricity ka meter wahi… what has jhaddu done for us,” 57-year-old Sarita Singh, a migrant from Bihar, said.
On polling day, residents were full of praise for Chauhan and said their living conditions had improved during his tenure.
For some voters of Sultanpur Majra, a traditional Congress bastion, four-time MLA and Congress candidate Jai Kishan had won in 2013 by a margin of 1,800 votes. He is still the hero of many. Since its delimitation in 1993, the Congress has never lost the seat.
“We have always seen the Congress candidate work for us. This area has improved but there is still work that needs to be done,” Raj Kumar, a tea-seller in the area, said. He said he voted for the ‘sitting MLA’ as the MLA has “worked for the Dalits of the area”.
In the opposite corner of the city — Northeast Delhi— which is home to a sizeable Purvanchali and Muslim population, it was always the Congress that had held sway. But its fortunes seemed to be on the decline here on Saturday.
Northeast Delhi witnessed the highest voter turnout of 66.73per cent till 5 pm on Saturday.
Seelampur, that has the highest density of Muslim population, witnessed the highest voter turnout in Northeast Delhi at 70 per cent, with many still queued up to exercise their franchise even after 6 pm. Muslim women came out in large numbers and were seen taking selfies after inking their nails. When asked who they voted for this time, they said in unison, “Is bar Kejri sarkar,”.
Apart from the areas with Muslim population, the AAP’s plan to field 11 Purvanchali candidates in Northeast Delhi seemed to have worked to its advantage with most voters claiming to have voted for the AAP.
The AAP was also the popular choice among voters in Burari, Rohtas Nagar and Karawal Nagar. Sanjay, a voter in Burari said, “We can relate and identify to the AAP. They are promising us water, electricity and education for our children. Last time when they came to power, they gave free electricity to many areas. Kejriwal is not like other politicians, he is one of us. He left the post of the CM last time because he was not able to bring reforms, being in a coalition. This shows that his agenda is to bring reforms and not to hold on to the CM’s chair. Aaj kal yoh koi 5,000 rupaye ki naukri nai chhodta, CM ki kursi kyu chodega?”