Standing in a queue outside polling station 38 in South Delhi’s Sangam Vihar Sunday, a group of women talked in hushed tones about water scarcity at their homes. Clutching voter cards, they appeared to be in a hurry.
“Chai bhi nahi pee kar aaye hain, abhi jaakar paani bharna hai,” said Muneesh Sharma (31). Several residents in the constituency have been facing water shortage for the past few years. This issue, along with unpaved roads, were also on the minds of people Saturday.
AAP’s Raghav Chadha, incumbent MP from BJP Ramesh Bidhuri, and Congress’s Vijender Singh are contesting from South Delhi. A constituency manifesto released by Chadha promised to push for an automated and systematic water wastage monitoring system. The other two parties did not release state-specific manifestos.
Extending support to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, the women, mostly from J-Block, claimed the party has improved basic facilities in the locality. “Bechare ne bezzati bhi sahi, kaam bhi karwata raha. He cares about our food and water,” said Vimla Devi, a resident of D-block. Munish Singh, another resident, said: “Politicians are never interested in unauthorised colonies. Par ye toh PM ke liye vote hai, jab CM ke liye aayega tab sochenge.”
Another voter in Mehrauli, Chanda Kumari, echoed the sentiment: “We should not focus on internal issues right now. These polls are for electing the PM and for our safety. The fear of a terror attack has reduced, no such attack has taken place in Delhi.” For Suraj Shukla (34), a driver in Tughlakabad, the “surgical strikes proved our military strength”.
At the SDMC primary school in Tughlakabad village, several Bengali migrants, mostly Muslims from Chhuriya Mohalla, said water shortage was top priority. “We get water only once in 10-15 days,” said Munesh (42).
At Okhla Industrial Area Phase II as well, local issues seemed to play a big role. Preeti Devi (28), who lives in a JJ Camp nearby, said, “Sewage collects outside our homes and we don’t get piped water. We have to rely on tankers, which barely come this way.”
Around 200 metres from the SDMC school was the Govt Boys Senior Secondary School. Many voters here were from Bidhuri’s village.
Most praised the MP and said water and sanitation has improved. Monika Bidhuri (19), a first-time voter, said: “We have no local problems; we will vote for national security.”