Delhi Elections 2008

Come November 29 and Delhi would witness its highly anticipated state elections, the preparations for which have been going on in full swing! With over 700 constituencies, we are looking at a much better presented and in-your-face campaigning for the Delhi elections this time round – and no surprises there. According to official records, 80% of the potential voting population of the capital has been approached. And that is really saying something. But whether the follow-up on records and redressal committees are living up to the initial seemingly smooth approach is something one needs to delve deep into in order to find out.

Our spearheading forerunners are, well no surprises here, representatives of the two major political parties of the National Capital Territory. With 47 seats in the 70 member house in its kitty, Indian National Congress seems to be aiming for a hat- trick victory with Ms. Sheila Dixit as the ministerial candidate. Coming very hard on her party, is Mr. V.K. Malhotra, candidate of the opposition Bhartiya Janata Party. They say the last resort to ‘sell’ your services is pretty much revealed to everyone when you hide your strengths and heighten your rival’s weaknesses. In politics, this might be commonplace – after all, you can’t promise different changes; you can only add to the ones already promised by others. It is more than amusing to see the campaigns launched by BJP to gain majority within electors.

To begin with, the Batla House incident, which is made out to be highly politicized and hardly humane anymore, is one of the major grudges against Congress. Everyone out there has ostracized Congress for being lax and sufficiently indifferent towards the sentiments of the Muslim residents of Jamia Nagar. Questions remain unanswered. Inadequate transparency by the MLA of the constituency and the inability of Congress to fight back the baseless allegations made against the encounter has made the entire issue one-removed from the capital population. But this isn’t to say that the opposition party is Jamia Nagar’s next best choice. They have virtually un-aligned themselves from these parties and now look to vote for their own independent representative.

Agreed, the above throws a negative light on both parties, but picture this. In the midst of the melodramatic and now political affair, we are shown a yet another twist. This one comes as a schizophrenic fracture from within the Congress. The Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh plays a crucial role in pushing for a judicial probe. Well, where one saw the whole incident as an overthrowing attempt by the BJP only, along comes an ally who eventually confuses the event observer.

Apart from this, price rise is a weapon used by BJP to play with the ‘aam aadmi’s’ sentiments. Where on one hand, we have media covering the intensity of financial breakdown and terming it a ‘worldwide catastrophe’, the BJP on the other has pledged to fool the janata that all the crisis that citizens are facing is due to callous governance by the centre; i.e. Congress, under Dr. Manmohan Singh and as an inescapable trickle-down effect, Ms. Sheila Dixit. To use price rise as a campaign against Congress is foolishness, if nothing less, and a perfect sign of loss of campaign material, if you ask me.

What we have seen in the past decade with Congress has been a mutual growth and discipline in the development of our capital city. Being one, it is almost mandatory to watch out for our conduct as representative for the perception of our nation. There have been errors, and terrible ones at that, but there has also been ‘Change’ as promised by the minister. Whether the cartwheel is influenced heavily by the approaching Commonwealth Games is certainly not the point. But as some of us got discussing about Delhi Elections today, a very vital point was brought up by one of us – any party, given the time Congress has taken to show the results it has, would have adjusted perhaps in the same fashion to the climate of change. That is, one might never know whether this was the fastest rate by which the development of the city could have been ensured. But to gauge the difference, one needs to give the opponent as much time as probably Congress has taken to bring it on with their agendas.

There are issues untouched and inadequately dealt with, such as safety of women in the capital, dispatching more low-foot vehicles and making Delhi disabled friendly. But then again, one must not ignore the privatizing of electricity, CNG undertaking, the upcoming metro and the success of the BRT (for some) as steps towards modernization.

Owing to the recent terror attacks, some have even decided to boycott the elections this time round. This is highly threatening to the concept of ‘voting-right’ which has seen creating waves in the capital. Once boycotted, neither will the solution to Delhi’s immediate problems see the light nor will there be an encouragement of sorts for the election commission who has channeled various media energies to raising the importance of voting in a fast-moving nation like ours.

With over 10, 000 polling booths in Delhi for the 29th of November, the turnout is expected to be large. Thanks to the ‘Know-Your-MLA’ campaigns and interactive sessions with the political personalities who happen to be potential leaders of the city; and the ‘Pappu can’t vote haha’ campaign which is on AIR since long now- one expects a well-aware youth equipped with the correct decision- making wares. Delhi sure is ready.

Ankita Kanwar
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