New Delhi: A strong wave of anti-incumbency, infightings within Congress coupled with familiar problems like blocked drains, clogged roads, erratic water supply and unplanned growth may make it an uphill task for Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami to retain his Rajinder Nagar seat.
Predominantly a settlement of Punjabi refugees, Rajinder Nagar has been a BJP stronghold before the 2008 assembly election and it has fielded R P Singh, being considered a formidable opponent to Goswami.
Before Goswami, BJP’s Puran Chand Yogi had represented the constituency since 1993 and was expected to win in the last election as well. He had allegedly committed suicide a month before the polls following which his widow Asha was fielded.
Goswami, who had represented Patel Nagar constituency twice, has had a not-so-impressive response from the residents as a section of them feel he did nothing in the first four years of his tenure to address the “pressing problems” in the area.
A significant section in the Congress had even strongly opposed giving ticket to Goswami referring to an internal report that had said the party will suffer defeat if he is selected.
The problem of sewage and drainage still remains a major concern for residents of the area. The area has expanded vertically but the residents complain that the sewage capacity has remained the same.
“Sewer lines should have been changed. Most of the sewers are not cleaned regularly resulting in blockage and overflowing,” said a resident, who did not wish to be identified.
“The MLA sometimes says it is not his work but the work of MCD. But even the MCD refuses to change it and blames it on PWD. At times, there is no one we can go to,” he said.
Some residents were scathing in their criticism of Goswami as they said he had initiated development works only in the past one year apparently in view of the approaching elections.
“Instead of only working in the past one year, he should have worked in the past five years,” said another resident.
People also accuse Goswami of not utilising MLA funds for the welfare of the area.
“An MLA gets sufficient funds throughout his five-year tenure but Goswami has not worked accordingly with the funds he received,” he said.
“The MLA claims to have constructed 62 borewells out of the funds but no one has asked him how many of these are functioning,” said D M Narang, general secretary of R Block in the area.
A section of the residents claimed that Goswami’s popularity also dipped because of his alleged rude behaviour.
“He is not at all approachable. Most of the people avoid going to him due to his rude behaviour,” S P Gupta, general secretary of Rajinder Nagar Welfare Association, said.
Sources in Congress said he managed to get the ticket due to his close proximity with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit though a number of senior leaders were strongly opposed to his renomination.
Parking is another major issue for the residents. While New Rajinder Nagar has comparatively wider roads, the situation in Old Rajinder Nagar is worrisome.
“The roads are so congested that it is even difficult for an ambulance to come here in case of an emergency,” Ankit Sharma, a resident of Old Rajinder Nagar, said.
Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Vijender Garg from this seat.
BJP’s Singh and Garg have been campaigning door-to-door for garnering support.
Singh has promised to address all major problems being faced by the residents and plans to take out a manifesto for the constituency.
The total number of electors in Rajinder Nagar is 1.60 lakh, out of which around 92,000 are men and over 69,000 are women voters. 4,712 are first-time voters.
The gender ratio stands at 755 women to 1000 men.
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