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UP local body elections: Thrown into spotlight by murder, civic issues still dominate Khoda Colony polls

Unlike the preceding campaigns in Khoda Colony, which were centred around the murder of a local BJP leader, allegedly at the behest of a former MLA, issues such as sanitation, water and electricity supply, law and order were on voters’ minds.

Khoda Colony is home to nearly two lakh people. Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav

Bordering the capital, Ghaziabad and Noida and located about a hundred metres away from the Ghazipur landfill site, Khoda Colony is an agglomeration of overflowing sewers, garbage dumps, unpaved lanes and hanging electrical wires.

On Sunday morning, around half of its voters reached polling centres to elect a Nagar Palika Parishad for the first time in its history, as part of the second phase of the local body elections in UP.

Around 52% voting was recorded in 25 districts during the second phase. About 61.65% polling was recorded in Gautam Buddh Nagar district, an election official said. While Dadri Nagar Palika registered 57.71% polling, in Ghaziabad, about a little over 45% people turned up to vote.

Unlike the preceding campaigns in Khoda Colony, which were centred around the murder of a local BJP leader, allegedly at the behest of a former MLA, issues such as sanitation, water and electricity supply, law and order were on voters’ minds.

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“Incidents of snatching, robbery happen here every day. When I had moved here from Darbhanga 15-20 years ago, the situation was worse. The situation has improved but the fear of being robbed still exists. The colony has its own police station and police chowkis but it is not easy to control such a huge population… The police took a week to nab Gajendra Bhati’s murderer, they will hardly be able to catch smaller criminals,” said Amit Kumar, an autorickshaw driver and resident of Khoda Colony.

Kumar is one of nearly 1.55 lakh voters in the colony which, as per the 2011 Census, has a population of almost 2 lakh. In September, local BJP leader Gajendra Bhati was shot dead by two bike-borne men. Weeks later, former MLA and Congress assembly candidate Amarpal Sharma surrendered in court. Bhati’s family claimed that political rivalry led to the murder.

A seat reserved for women, the Nagar Palika Parishad of Khoda-Manekpur will see a close contest between Bhati’s wife, Reena Devi Bhati, and Sharma’s wife, Mohini Sharma.

First published on: 27-11-2017 at 02:34:54 am
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