Delhi polls: Harsh Vardhan unlikely to have tough time in retaining seat

For BJP`s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, retaining his stronghold of Krishna Nagar for the fifth consecutive term may not be very difficult.

New Delhi: For BJP`s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, retaining his stronghold of Krishna Nagar for the fifth consecutive term may not be very difficult though Congress` VK Monga, a popular face in the area, is likely to make the contest interesting.

Though there has been dissatisfaction over Vardhan`s performance as MLA in the last five years, residents said his "clean" image and projection as chief ministerial candidate have put him ahead in the race.

Monga, a former BJP councillor who was a close associate of Vardhan, has been campaigning hard in the constituency since he switched loyalty to Congress a couple of months ago.

The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded 65-year-old Ishrat Ali Ansari, a lawyer who had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha elections in Amroha in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2008, Vardhan had defeated his nearest Congress rival Deepika Khullar by a margin of 3,204 votes.

The Assembly seat`s four wards -- Kondli, Krishna Nagar, Geeta Colony and Anar Kali -- have distinct demography ranging from middle class to lower-middle class.

Narrow lanes, illegal parking, broken roads and clogged traffic and poor drainage system are some of the major issues in Krishna Nagar, said residents.

"There are plenty of problems here. Traffic congestion, especially in the market area, has aggravated and the quality of roads has declined," said Nitin Rathod, a resident of Krishna Nagar who works with a private firm.

Another resident Gautam Gupta said besides the familiar problems like parking, water supply and drainage, high electricity and water tariff is also a major concern for the residents.

"I received water bill of Rs 6000, which does not match my usage," said Gupta.

Some people, however, said Vardhan has done well as area MLA and they are satisfied with his performance.

"There are no major issues in the area. We do get water and electricity properly," said A K Goel, a resident Krishna Nagar for 35 years.

"There are parks in the area. There are water and electricity. The roads are bad, but they are manageable," added a resident of Geeta Colony who commutes to Krishna Nagar everyday for his job.

A section of the residents heaped praise on Monga for his contribution to the area as BJP councillor and said he is very approachable.

"Monga has been a familiar face here. As a councillor, he contributed to the area," said Ramesh Kumar, another resident.

A total of nine candidates are in the fray in the constituency and the main fight is all set to be between Vardhan and Monga. Apart from three Independent candidates, BSP and Samajwadi Party are also in the fray.

When asked about the contest, Vardhan said he was confident that people of Krishna Nagar will give him another chance to serve them. He has been making rounds of the constituency on a daily basis despite his busy campaign schedule in other areas.

"I am sure people will give me another opportunity to serve them. I am confident of my victory," said Vardhan, who was Delhi`s Health Minister from 1993 to 1998.

Monga too sounded confident and said people are fed up with Vardhan who did not address any of the major problems facing the citizens in the area.

A group of doctors are also campaigning in Krishna Nagar for Vardhan, who is an ENT surgeon.

The constituency has a total of 1.73 lakh voters which include around 81,000 men and over 91,000 women. There are 184 polling booths of which 49 booths in 10 locations have been declared as "critical".

The city goes to polls on December 4 and the counting is on December 8.

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