North East Delhi Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Manoj Tiwari Has the Lead in Blockbuster Bout Against Kanhaiya Kumar

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The North East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency will vote in the sixth phase of general elections on May 25, 2024. (PTI)

The North East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency will vote in the sixth phase of general elections on May 25, 2024. (PTI)

The Congress has played a smart game in fielding Kanhaiya Kumar against Manoj Tiwari. It had made its intentions of trying to penetrate the BJP’s migrant voter base here amply clear. However, Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature is a gamble at best, and a blunder at worst

North East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency is one of seven Lok Sabha (parliamentary) constituencies in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. At present, North East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency comprises the following assembly segments: Burari (AAP), Timarpur (AAP), Seemapuri (AAP), Rohtas Nagar (BJP), Seelampur (AAP), Ghonda (BJP), Babarpur (AAP), Gokulpur (AAP), Mustafabad (AAP) and Karawal Nagar (BJP).

Current MP: Manoj Tiwari (BJP)

Top Contenders: Manoj Tiwari (BJP), Kanhaiya Kumar (Congress)

Date of Polling: May 25, 2024 (Phase VI)

Political Dynamics

  • Manoj with A Mission: Arguably the most interesting and keenly-watched electoral battle in Delhi in this general election is taking place in the North East Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency, where two Biharis are vying for the famed Purvanchali vote. North East Delhi is widely recognised as the migrant and labour hub of Delhi, housing residents mostly from Bihar, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh who work in the national capital to earn a livelihood.
  • The BJP has reposed its faith in sitting MP Manoj Tiwari, who has represented the constituency for 10 years now. In 2014, Tiwari won by a margin of 1.6 lakh votes. This saw an astronomical jump in 2019, when his victory margin shot up to 3.66 lakh votes. In any ways, Manoj Tiwari emerged as one of the BJP’s shark-slayers in 2019, since he defeated former Delhi chief minister and then Congress candidate, Sheila Dikshit.
  • Over the years, Manoj Tiwari has cultivated a solid support base across the parliamentary constituency, and migrant workers from Bihar and UP, residing mostly in unauthorised colonies and congested villages, remain his biggest vote bank. Luckily for the BJP, it is this segment of the electorate that now decides who wins elections from the constituency, and for the past two general elections, it has wholeheartedly supported the BJP.
  • Manoj Tiwari is the only sitting MP that the BJP has retained in Delhi this election season. Known to be in the good books of the party’s top brass, Tiwari is believed to have retained the party ticket since the BJP believes he can deliver a win from North East Delhi for the third straight time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to begin his campaign in the national capital with a public event in Manoj Tiwari’s constituency – and that is a big statement of endorsement coming from the BJP’s tallest leader.
  • Ground inputs suggest that Manoj Tiwari has a considerable lead in the fight. The BJP is emerging as a big beneficiary of the polarisation that is visible on the ground. The Hindus, in significant numbers, are rallying behind the BJP. Manoj Tiwari is also said to be retaining his core voter base of traders, businessmen and migrants in North East Delhi. This, despite the Congress fielding Kanhaiya Kumar with the hopes of denting Tiwari’s Purvanchali support base.
  • Chatter on the ground also indicates that the voters of North East Delhi, by and large, continue to be fascinated by the Modi Factor. Therefore, despite there being some level of anti-incumbency against Manoj Tiwari, Prime Minister Modi’s own charisma is ensuring that the BJP does not lose any significant number of its voters.
  • Congress’ Big Gamble with Kanhaiya: There can be no taking away from the fact that the Congress has played a smart game in so far as its choice of candidate for North East Delhi is concerned. Having fielded Kanhaiya Kumar against Manoj Tiwari, the Congress has made its intentions of trying to penetrate the BJP’s migrant voter base here amply clear. However, Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature is a gamble at best, and a blunder at worst.
  • For starters, it is believed that Rahul Gandhi is the man who backed Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from North East Delhi. Having been endorsed by Rahul directly, there was nothing much which the committee selecting MP candidates could say. However, the decision unleashed chaos in the party’s already wobbly state unit.
  • The Congress’ state unit, aghast by the high command’s decision to forge an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, neared a breaking point with the announcement of Kanhaiya Kumar’s name from North East Delhi. Loud and regular protests within the Congress’ local organisation ensued, giving Kanhaiya’s campaign a rough and unpleasant start. Such was the displeasure in the party’s ranks that Arvinder Singh Lovely, the Delhi unit president of the Congress called it quits and has subsequently joined the saffron camp.
  • Even now, the Congress’ organisation does not appear to have accepted Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature, despite him claiming that all is well. This will inevitably hurt Kumar’s chances of winning against Manoj Tiwari, who has the might of the BJP’s entire organisation behind him.
  • Besides, Kanhaiya Kumar also carries the baggage of being identified as part of the “Tukde Tukde Gang,” which unleashed a wave of allegedly seditious demonstrations at JNU in 2016.
  • In recent years, North East Delhi has also hit the headlines for communal tensions, which peaked in 2020-2021 during the Shaheen Bagh protests against CAA and NRC. Widespread rioting back then has left the electorate polarised on religious lines. Muslims form a significant chunk of the population here, and areas such as Mustafabad, Seelampur, Karawal Nagar and Ghonda have a considerable Islamic demography. In such areas, the anti-BJP sentiment is palpable, and the saffron party is not particularly hopeful of getting much votes from this segment.
  • The Congress, on the other hand, is now armed with an alliance with AAP. However, in 2019, both these parties polled a total of 6.12 lakh. The BJP alone, got 1.75 lakh more votes than Congress and AAP combined. Numerically too, the Congress and AAP collectively face a very steep challenge in defeating the BJP. Moreover, Kanhaiya Kumar’s image as a “non-nationalist” is hurting the Congress’ prospects, and the BJP is having continuous field days highlighting Kumar’s controversial past. That Kanhaiya Kumar’s anti-Congress speeches in his years as a student have begun doing the rounds on social media is not a coincidence.

Voter Demographics

Total Voters (2019): ~16 lakh

Urban Areas: 100%

Literacy Rate: 77.09%

Social Composition

SC: 15.43%

ST: 0%

Religious Composition

Hindu: ~77%

Muslim: 18.9%

Sikh: 2.92%

Key Issues

  • Water Supply: In the Delhi North East Lok Sabha constituency, water supply in areas of Nathupura and Ibrahimpur and Bhalswa remain far out of reach. Many households still remain without piped water connections.
  • Moreover, according to ground reports, residents with piped connections have complained about the quality of water supplied by the Delhi Jal board and the irregularity of water supply.
  • There have also been many complaints of water leakages and water pipes bursting due to high pressure and poor infrastructure.
  • Road and Metro Connectivity: Road and metro connectivity remains a major issue in parts of Delhi North East constituency. The Burari metro station remains incomplete and is a major issue for the voters.
  • Moreover, there is a lack of connectivity to places north of Burari such as Nathupura and Ibrahimpur. The Burari main road connects these regions and as a result sustains heavy flow of traffic. This results in congestion and major traffic jams for hours.
  • Due to issues in regards to maintenance and repair of pipelines roads along the region are constantly dug up leading to added congestion and inconvenience to the residents.
  • Safety and Security: Safety and security is one of the major issues in this constituency. There are many reports of theft, chain snatching, and even murders in the areas of Burari, Timarpur, and Ibrahimpur in the north east.
  • Reasons attributed are income inequality in the region, lower availability of civic amenities such as proper street lighting, among others.
  • Sewage: Proper sewage infrastructure is a major issue here. People are often stuck in their homes during the monsoon seasons as water logging paralyses movements.
  • It also causes major road mishaps as dug up roads due to constant issues with pipelines and sewage. These accidents have led to major injuries and even deaths.
  • Water and Air Pollution: Pollution is a major concern for the residents of North East Delhi. The pollution of the Yamuna and government’s failure to clean it has been a major disappointment for the people.
  • The constituency has a considerable Purvanchali population, who celebrate the puja of Chhatt, making the issue of river pollution an issue of faith and religion.
  • Air pollution on the other hand is a pan Delhi issue. It is exacerbated when the officials burn down the garbage dumped at the Ghazipur land fill. The region also sees heavy smog and smoke during the winter months and especially after Diwali.
  • Green Cover: Unlike the rest of Delhi, North East Delhi lacks in important green cover, and in the event of higher pollution suffer considerably. Especially areas like Timarpur and parts of Kamla Nagar, Model town and Mukherjee Nagar. There are also no major parks in the region.
  • To address these issues, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari had requested the LG Delhi to grant him 175.5 acres of land for afforestation. The request was granted last year.
  • The L-G directed that land measuring 175.5 acres in various khasras, that is ‘banjar’ (barren) land, be allotted to the Environment and Forest department for carrying out compensatory afforestation in lieu of a Northern Railway project.
  • Civic Amenities: There is a considerable lack of civic amenities which has upset the people. Areas such as Burari and Ibrahimpur in the North East Delhi seat suffer due to a lack of primary educational infrastructure, healthcare and parking woes. Last year, Tiwari, had requested to the LG to allot land for the construction of a school and a stadium in the constituencies. The request was granted and work is underway.

Infrastructure Development

  • Upgradation of Ghats: Ghats have been given a makeover in the region. The Vasudeva ghat was recently inaugurated by the Delhi LG. The region has a major Purvanchali population and the upgradation of ghats is seen as a major play to consolidate the votes.
  • EWS housing component: It is a transit-oriented development (ToD) project comprising 498 flats on 23 floors. It was completed in February this year at a cost of Rs. 1,168 crore.
  • Delhi Meerut RRTS: It is an under-construction semi-high-speed rail corridor that stretches across a distance of 82.15 km. The total estimated cost for the project is Rs 30,274 crore and will include 24 stations between Delhi and Meerut.
  • School and Water Infra: North East Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari in Marh this year approached the Delhi LG with a request to grant land to construct a school and stadium in his constituency. LG VK Saxena has now approved the allotment of gram sabha land in Badarpur Khadar village for the construction of a school, installation of a water treatment plant and compensatory afforestation.
  • Provisions have also been made for compensatory afforestation, and 65 acres of land has been allotted for the same. 12.39 acres will be allotted to the education department for the construction of a govt school for the village and another 32 acres of land will be retained for future development needs of the village.

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule, Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase And Much More At News18 Website

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