Delhi Polls: Diverse candidates make Kalkaji stand out
The Kalkaji constituency in South East Delhi district has 1,85,837 voters -- 1,03,535 men, 82,296 women and six transgenders, according to data shared by poll authorities. The constituency has a diverse mix of people, including Purvanchalis, Sikh refugees, slum and JJ cluster dwellers residing under it.
A barrister banking on her father's legacy in the Congress, an educationist attempting her luck second time in elections on an AAP ticket and a BJP candidate relying on the saffron party's aggressive campaign form the three major contenders in the crucial Kalkaji constituency ahead of the Delhi polls.
A section of voters feel though the Shaheen Bagh protest site is far from Kalkaji area, the anti-CAA protests there, now running for over 50 days, will "have a bearing" on the elections that is largely being seen as a triangular contest among the three parties.
Shivani Chopra, younger daughter of three-time Congress MLA and its Delhi unit chief Subhash Chopra is exuding confidence, hopeful of leveraging the party veteran's legacy, besides the development-centric manifesto of the grand old party seeking resurgence in the elections.
On Twitter, her profile describes her as a "Barrister; Cross-country cyclist; Certified yoga teacher; Travel blogger; Techno DJ; Animal/planet lover (hence Vegan)".
Pitted against the Congress' woman candidate is AAP's Atishi, who unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha polls from East Delhi last year.
An Oxford University graduate, she says education and health has been two of the main components of the Kejriwal government, besides, women's empowerment.
"The AAP, in the last five years, has relentlessly fought to achieve what other states and governments couldn't, and will continue to do so in the next five years as promised in the new AAP manifesto," she said.
She also claims that the BJP plans to fight elections "without a CM face or vision for Delhi's future".
"Reminds us of the times they bulldozed bills in the Parliament without any proper planning. #KejriwalChallengesShah to reveal BJP's CM candidate for Delhi," she said in a recent tweet.
Completing the triangular contest is BJP's Dharamveer Singh, who feels the Modi government's works in Delhi will give his party an edge.
The Kalakaji seat was won by the AAP in 2015 Delhi polls, but the party has not fielded its sitting MLA Avtar Singh, which has upset many locals.
Kalakaji resident Satish Chhabra, a property developer, says, "Avtar Singh had done good work, but he was not given a ticket again. Why is that? Similarly, the one in Badarpur was not given the ticket again. This is not a good policy".
Pramod Kumar Gupta, 48, an auto-rickshaw driver, claims Shaheen Bagh protests, now a "major poll issue" will have a bearing on the elections due on February 8.
"Political parties have been making provocative speeches on communal lines, and this will polarise people ahead of polls. Besides, the road blockade in Kalindi Kunj area has affected our movements, so many autowallahs are upset," he claimed.
Suraj Joshi, 35, an astrologer, who sits near Kalkaji Mandir, claims, "Modi magic will work this time, like Lok Sabha polls, due to Shaheen Bagh issue. But AAP is playing strong too and has put up a strong front."
Amit Lal, 18, who will vote for the first time, says, Shaheen Bagh issue will "have an impact" but development agenda also cannot be ignored.
"I live in a JJ Colony in Madanpur Khadar that neighbours the protest site, and the anti-CAA protests have been made a major poll issue by parties. But, agenda should have been development, education and health and jobs."
Gupta agrees with Lal, saying, as a responsible voter no one should get "swayed by polarisation".
"But, people are getting affected," he claimed.
The Kalkaji constituency in South East Delhi district has 1,85,837 voters -- 1,03,535 men, 82,296 women and six transgenders, according to data shared by poll authorities.
The constituency has a diverse mix of people, including Purvanchalis, Sikh refugees, slum and JJ cluster dwellers residing under it.