Matia Mahal constituency: Water, sewer remain top issues



Delhi's Matia Mahal Assembly Constituency has witnessed a lot of improvements during Arvind Kejriwal's five-year term, but the government's inability to complete the development works may not go down well with the people this time.

Home to historic Ajmeri Gate, Chandni Mahal, Chatta Lal Mian, Chawri Bazar, Chitli Qabar, Churiwalan, Delhi Gate, Hauz Qazi, Jama Masjid, Lal Kuan, Sita Ram Bazar, Suiwalan and Turkman Gate, the Constituency was bagged by AAP's Asim Ahmed Khan with 59.23 per cent votes in 2015 assembly elections.

The densely populated area has 1,25,220 voters with 59,461 females. The Muslim-dominated area has a sex ratio of 905 -- far above the state's gender ratio of 824.

The Constituency, marked with narrow lanes, has never elected the Congress, even when the party was in power for 15 years in the city.

Shoaib Iqbal, who just joined AAP ahead of elections, had been a five-time MLA from the area contesting from different political parties. He was elected first in 1993 from Janata Dal and was re-elected from the the same party in 1998. In 2003, he was part of the Janata Dal (Secular) when he was elected for the third time. The next time in 2008, he contested from the Lok Janshakti Party and in 2013, Iqbal was again elected for the fifth time from Janata Dal (United).

His winning streak was broken by Asim Ahmed Khan when AAP swept to power in the 2015 assembly elections with humongous majority, winning 67 of the 70 seats. This time Iqbal was a Congress candidate. Now Iqbal joining the AAP, speculations are rife that he might get the ticket for the February 8 polls from this constituency.

With over half of the population being Muslims, the religious card is an important factor in the polls, but broken narrow lanes, lack of piped water and sewer connection have been the main issues of the area.

Congested roads and web of wires also dot the narrow bylanes, the main concern of the people; the incomplete work might harm the AAP's prospects this time.

"The work started on a good note. but now the roads are broken and the work of water and sewer connection has been left incomplete in most of the areas. This is causing more problems," said 48-year old Aarif Kamal.

Echoing him is 55-year-old Aamina, who said getting piped water is still a dream for the residents here.

"The pipe came to my area, but only a handful of people are getting piped water. For the pipeline, they even damaged the roads," she said.

Apart from the work, the candidate's image can also be a driving force in the election.

Also, it is worth mentioning that Khan and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had not been on a good term during the last five years.

Asim Ahmed Khan was sworn in as a cabinet minister under Kejriwal in 2015. He was made the minister of Food and Civil Supplies, Environment and Forest and Minority Affairs. However, after a few months, Kejriwal sacked Khan on charges of corruption. Later, Khan alleged that he and his family are facing "death threats" from Kejriwal.

The seat has been crucial for all the political parties. While the AAP and the BJP are likely to leave no stone unturned to capture the seat, the Congress is also said to be in the race to win it for the first time.

Delhi will go to polls on February 8 and votes will be counted on February 11.IANS