Some raised complaints of poor water quality and said the sitting AAP MLA had been absent from the constituency until the roadshow. Many residents said that if the AAP does get votes, it will be because of Kejriwal and not the sitting MLA.
Appealing to people that Delhi’s growth should not be halted, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday asked North Delhi’s Badli constituency to vote for schools, hospitals and electricity in the upcoming Assembly elections, and not for any political party.
In his first roadshow after filing his nomination for the February 8 polls, the AAP chief stuck to the party’s main poll plank — improvements in the city’s education, healthcare, and power and water supply.
Addressing a crowd of hundreds of residents and party workers at the start of the show, Kejriwal said, “I have a special appeal to everyone who voted for the BJP, Congress and other parties in the Lok Sabha elections. We don’t have any problem if you’re with some other party, but vote for AAP this time.”
He added, “Kejriwal apne liye vote nahi maang raha, Dilli ke liye, Dilliwalo ke liye vote maang raha hai (I am not asking for votes for myself, but for Delhi and its people)... This time, all 2 crore votes should be for schools, hospitals and for Delhi, not for any party.”
Seated in a yellow jeep and surrounded by workers, Kejriwal’s roadshow for AAP’s sitting MLA and Badli contender Ajesh Yadav began from the narrow lanes of Bhalswa Dairy. As the convoy of jeeps and SUVs passed through, playing a recorded speech of the CM on a loudspeaker, people came out on the roads and stood atop terraces to catch a glimpse of Kejriwal.
Some showered rose petals while children chased his jeep, wading through mucky streets and running alongside open drains. The largely blue-collar Bhalswa Dairy area is home to labourers, carpenters, factory workers and ragpickers living in semi-painted brick houses. The Congress had done a roadshow in the area on Tuesday, locals said.
Most people The Indian Express spoke to said they were satisfied with the Delhi government’s initiatives on water and electricity, and in schools and hospitals. It’s the insanitary condition of the area that they want the new government to work on.
Vicky (25), a resident, claimed, “This road (near Durga Chowk) through which the CM’s convoy just passed is submerged under dirty water from drains almost every day. As Kejriwal was coming today, sweepers have been cleaning the road since morning.” Many reiterated this claim.
Kejriwal also passed the Bhalswa landfill, one of the three “mountains of garbage” in the city which he previously said the AAP-led government would aim to clean up if voted to power. A strong stench dominated the area near the landfill, which residents said is a major inconvenience.
The roadshow then passed through JJ clusters and other areas of Jahangirpuri. Residents of these clusters said they felt more secure after the Delhi government installed CCTVs recently. They said they now want to be moved to pucca houses.
But some raised complaints of poor water quality and said the sitting AAP MLA had been absent from the constituency until the roadshow. Many residents said that if the AAP does get votes, it will be because of Kejriwal and not the sitting MLA.
Meera Devi (40) a resident of a JJ Colony in Jahangirpuri, said, “Water quality has been good for the past four-five months, but occasionally it starts smelling like sewer water. Earlier, this smell was persistent. CCTVs have brought down frequent thefts and women feel more secure. What the government could do next is clean up drains as they get choked frequently and water then seeps into our homes.”
After the roadshow, some people were seen handing out BJP pamphlets, with PM Narendra Modi on the cover, detailing work done by the party in Delhi, including giving ownership rights to more than 40 lakh people in 1,731 unauthorised colonies. One of the points in the pamphlet read: “Be it Article 370 or Ram Mandir, triple talaq or surgical strike, BJP ne namumkin ko mumkin karke dikhaya hai (BJP has made possible what was impossible).”