The upcoming municipal elections in the national capital are going to witness a high-stakes triangular battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the Indian National Congress (INC).
While the BJP has been controlling the reigns of the MCD for the past 15 years, AAP’s stunning rise in power has left the voters yearning for a positive change. As Delhi prepares to vote, The Daily Guardian reached out to the primary stakeholders, i.e., the voters on the ground, and asked them what the main issues they will be thinking about before casting their ballots and who they believe will win.
We first spoke to the people in Badarpur and asked them their opinion on the upcoming MCD elections. Badarpur, which has been in the centre of politics for its poor waste management, told a story beyond what meets the eye on a daily basis.
Droupadi, an elderly woman sitting on a cot in Badarpur slums, said, “All these political parties make fake promises. They (the officers) come, write our names, ask about our problems, and then vanish. We have been living in jhuggis for years. There is no proper place to stay, and there are no clean washrooms. We are lying on roads and spending our lives in misery.”
Murti, a middle-aged woman, said, “Nobody does anything for us. Meetings take place, but nothing comes out of these meetings. Another woman, named Maya, revealed, “The water bill comes to around Rs 1 lakh a month and the electricity bill comes to around Rs 4,000 a month. We don’t have any male members in the family. We are ensuring our livelihood by selling pottery.”
Reshma, showing us the conditions under which her family and the others have been living in Badarpur slums, said, “Nobody listens to our problems. There has been an infestation of dengue and malaria. Our kids get sick every other day. Nobody picks up the garbage. Even the man gutter has not been cleaned for days. When it rains, the water reaches our knees, yet nobody comes for our help. Just the other day, a kid died by falling in a bog.”
As we reached the main market in Badarpur, the residents opened up about a plethora of concerns that had been neglected by the authorities. Sharma Jee, a vegetable vendor in the main market, said, “There is garbage all around and not even a single dustbin.” When asked who he would be voting for in the upcoming elections, he responded that it would depend on the candidate.
Dinesh, a middle-aged man in the market, expressed, “We are struggling with a lot of issues. The entire area is filled with garbage. Stray animals, from cows to monkeys, roam around on the main road, disturbing day-to-day lives. There is no parking in the area. Another problem is the lack of education. While there is a school building in the area, no education takes place inside it, adding further, “all of the politicians make fake promises.”
In Prem Nagar’s Lal Kuan, the local residents raised the issue of demolitions. A distressed woman named Shashi opened up about how her house has been demolished three times in the past month. Shashi revealed that the authorities began the recent demolition drive when her two kids were studying inside their home. She has covered her house with cloth, which poses a grave risk to her children and the safety of women. She went on to say that her husband has been depressed for the last few years as a result of this. While they reached out to the local MLAs of all three parties, nobody came to their rescue. Other women in the area raised concerns like robbery, drug addiction, and unemployment.
In Malviya Nagar, the locals spoke about concerns like parking and pollution.
Speaking to our team, Baba of Baba Ka Dhaba hit out at the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government and said that he is likely to win the upcoming polls since he has promised freebies and lucrative offers like free electricity and water to everyone. He further stated that parking is a major bone of contention in the area.
Bhola, a migrant worker, stated, “Pollution is a concern, but what about the labour class? Our work has been put on hold.” When asked who will come to power in the upcoming elections, he responded that whoever will do good work will come to power.”
Another local resident, Budh Sainik, stated that the AAP is not worth voting for and that the BJP is doing a good job in the area.