For Anjum Bano Rizvi (42), memories from November 2016, when demonetisation was announced, are still fresh. “My brother had an operation scheduled just two days after the announcement; we had withdrawn over a lakh from the bank and the hospital refused to accept the notes. I am a dialysis patient and it was a worrying time. I want a government that doesn’t come up with detrimental economic policies,” she said, standing outside a government school in Bulbuli Khana, Turkman Gate.
At Delhi’s busiest market, Chandni Chowk, demonetisation and GST dominated conversations. At Dujana House polling station in Chitli Qabar, Zubair Hasan (60) said, “I had a small shoe business which I had to shut last year… how do I sell simple ladies’ shoes with tax? No one was buying. I’m unemployed, my wife is earning now. I voted for employment, better economic safety nets.”
Fayazuddin (85), who had an embroidery business, said, “GST destroyed dastkars. I had to shut down the business I had built over decades for my children.”
For Mohd. Anees (70), a labourer who earns Rs 6,000 a month at a book-binding unit in Chitli Qabar, “sealing meant losing his job and going hungry”. “I want a government that thinks about the poorest first, the labourers for instance,” he said.
Chandni Chowk is seeing a three-way contest between BJP’s Harsh Vardhan, AAP’s Pankaj Gupta and Congress’s J P Agarwal.
Kilometres away in West Delhi’s Rajouri Garden market, sealing still stings till date.
“For us traders, sealing is the number one issue when we vote. We fear it now. No candidate has been able to explain how they will stop sealing though,” said a Rajouri Garden trader.
Last month, the sealing drive took a violent turn in Mayapuri Industrial Area. Traders’ union president Inderjeet Singh said, “We had initially decided to boycott the polls… Business is our first priority, so we will vote for a candidate with a solution.” The sentiment was echoed by B K Dutt Colony resident Ashok Sahuja, whose shop was one of the 135 shops sealed in Meherchand Market.