Dalits may hold sway in Northwest Delhi reserved LS seat

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Dalits to play a crucial role in Delhi
New Delhi, April 5:  Over 20 per cent Dalits out of 2.1 million voters in Northwest Delhi may play a key role in this constituency where incumbent Congress MP Krishna Tirath is battling people's anger due to crumbling infrastructure and illegal construction.

The Union Minister and two-time MP is facing a tough contest from BJP's Udit Raj, a Dalit leader who had switched to the saffron party recently, and Rakhi Birla of AAP.

Problems like choked drains, pot-holed roads, lack of adequate water supply and healthcare facilities are palpable in most areas of the constituency and residents say Tirath did little to address their grievances. Like other Congress candidates this time, she is facing anti-incumbency of not only the central government, but also the bitter aftertaste of the Sheila Dikshit government.

The 59-year-old Tirath, a mother of three daughters, however, brushes aside such talk and expresses confidence that the area's voters will exercise their franchise in her favour again.

"You can see my work in papers also. Roads, hospitals, schools, parks, subways all say it on their own. I have used all development funds. I gave nearly 300 computers in all government schools in my constituency," says Tirath, who defeated BJP's Meera Kanwaria in 2009 by a margin of 1.84 lakh votes.

Cong MP Krishna Tirath is battling people's anger due to crumbling infrastruture

Although urbanisation has increased in parts of the constituency in the past few years, it has not kept pace with civic infrastructure, residents said, adding public transport was in a shambles in many parts of the constituency.

The residents say that Tirath did not fulfil most of the promises she made during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Listing out the problems, they say a large number of unauthorised colonies have mushroomed due to "slackness" of authorities apart from illegal constructions.

Consisting of 10 assembly segments, this Lok Sabha seat, which came into existence in 2008 after delimitation exercise, is a mix of urban and rural-urban areas. In the recent Delhi assembly polls, BJP won five seats that come under the constituency, followed by two each by AAP and Congress and one by an Independent.

PTI

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