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Pressing civic, infrastructure issues are at centre stage in West Delhi constituency

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 16 (PTI) With the battle lines drawn and voter sentiment varied, the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency remains a microcosm of Delhi's diverse political landscape, where pressing civic and infrastructure issues are at the centre stage.

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Voting will be held on May 25 for all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.

The BJP won from West Delhi, the biggest parliamentary constituency in the national capital, with huge margins in 2014 and 2019 polls. This time, the party has replaced its two-time MP Parvesh Verma and fielded Kamaljeet Sehrawat, who is in a direct fight with AAP's Mahabal Mishra.

A walk down the different localities of the city like Rajouri Garden, Vikaspuri and Sagarpur reveal that persisting problems like water crisis, traffic congestion, lack of parking, cleanliness, road safety, unemployment and woman safety, dominate the concerns of the locals.

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Bina, a bangle seller in Sagarpur, said, "There is lack of washrooms, and the available ones are so dirty that people avoid using them. People are forced to urinate in the open making it difficult for locals especially women to pass through this area due to the unsavoury scene and stench." Open, overflowing drains, heaps of garbage are common in the neighbourhoods of Manglapuri and Palam, rued another resident Iqbal.

West Delhi constituency comprising a mix of rural pockets, slum settlements, unauthorised colonies as well as posh localities, is the largest constituency having a total of 25.87 lakh voters including 13.70 lakh male and 12.17 lakh female voters.

In Vikaspuri, a rather upscale area in the constituency, resident Chandu Lal complains about infrastructure constraints like congested roads due to encroachments by hawkers and parked vehicles on narrow stretches as well as limited parking space.

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"Road safety and parking problems are the top concerns in this area. Parking is a big problem here. People park their vehicles anywhere that congests the roads and cause jams. It also leads to frequent incidents of road rage," he said.

The predominant sentiment among the voters ranged from arguments of supporters of both the BJP and AAP to those disenchanted ones asserting to choose NOTA (non of the above) option in the polls.

Auto driver Shiv Prakash said he would prefer NOTA this time.

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"I voted for all the parties in the past but their candidates distance themselves from people after winning the election and forget and pay little attention to their problems," he said.

Each of the ten assembly constituencies in West Delhi have sizeable numbers of people living in slums and unauthorised colonies. The areas of Najafgarh and Matiala have dominance of Jat voters while Sikh and Punjabi voters are concentrated in Tilak Nagar Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar and Janakpuri areas.

Purvanchalis, natives of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar settled in Delhi, form a considerable chunk of voters.

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West Delhi has over 20 per cent OBC voters, around 13 per cent each of Scheduled Caste and Punjabi voters, 10 per cent Brahmin, around 7 per cent Muslim and 8 per cent Sikh voters among others.

Sehrawat, who is a general secretary of the Delhi unit of the party, belongs to the Jat community.

Expansion of Metro service, boosting road infrastructure to deal with traffic congestion, developing skill development centres, community halls and parks are her priorities, Sehrawat told PTI.

AAP candidate Mishra is a former MP from West Delhi. The Purvanchali leader lost the last Lok Sabha polls to BJP's Verma.

Mishra said he will work for improved Metro connectivity, opening schools and colleges including a campus of DU in West Delhi if he wins the seat. PTI NSM VIT ZMN

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