Hoping for re-election, Kailash Gahlot eyeing historic win from Najafgarh

Delhi Transport & Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot during a election campaign rally before filing his nomination for the upcoming State Assembly elections, at Najafgarh in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The Najafgarh Assembly constituency in Delhi, with a major population of farmers and traders, has never elected an MLA twice, but the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) candidate Kailash Gahlot is looking to create a history after the party declared him the candidate for the seat second time in a row.

A sitting legislator and a cabinet Minister in the AAP government, Gahlot won from here in 2015 with 34.62 per cent votes.

Part of the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, along with nine other Assemblies -- Madipur, Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Janakpuri, Vikaspuri, Dwarka, Matiala and Uttam Nagar, Najafgarh's majority population is from the Jat community. It is also home to cricketer Virender Sehwag and wrestler Sushil Kumar.

Located in the outskirts of Delhi, near the Haryana border, the constituency contains both rural and urban sections.

Named after Mirza Najaf Khan, the commander-in-chief of the Mughal Army under King Shah Alam II, the area is also famous for being a part in the First War of Indian Independence -- the 1857 revolt. The Battle of Najafgarh between Indian rebels and British Raj soldiers took place as part of the colonial siege of Delhi.

The area became an Assembly constituency in 1993 when the Delhi Legislative Assembly was re-established. The constituency includes Baba Haridass Enclave, Dharampura, Dichaon Kalan, Gopal Nagar, Gulia Enclave, Rajeev Vihar, Haibatpura, Jaffarpur Kalan, Jai Vihar, Jharoda Kalan, Prem Nagar, Roshan Garden, Roshan Vihar, Sainik Enclave, Samaspur Khalsa, Saraswati Enclave, Shiv Enclave, Todarmal Colony, Ujwa Village, and Vinoba Enclave.

The constituency is one of the most populous regions with an elector base of 2,48,988 comprising 1,17,000 females. The gender ratio of the constituency is 886, which is above the state gender ratio of 824.

It includes scores of villages and unauthorised colonies, while the lack of roads and transportation has been an issue for locals even before 2015. However, with area-specific buses reaching far away villages and improvement of roads, the people seem to be happy with their MLA.

Besides, the Delhi Metro's Grey Line has extended to Najafgarh, connecting it to the rest of the city.

Speaking about the improvements effected in the constituency, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said AAP has done a lot for connecting the rural part with the urban. He said the AAP government has ended the "21-year-old wait of the people of Najafgarh".

"The people of rural Delhi were disappointed that the previous governments did nothing for them. But now they are very happy. No other government has developed rural Delhi and outer Delhi as much as my government," Kejriwal said.

Gahlot said that apart from improving connectivity, the AAP government also worked on providing sewerage facility in the un-sewered areas of the constituency.

"To trap the untreated sewage falling into the River Yamuna through drains, the Delhi Jal Board has approved the proposal of providing sewer line in a number of areas here under the Najafgarh drainage zone. At present sewerage generated from these areas were being discharged into the local pond or storm water drains which is ultimately going into the Yamuna directly," said the Minister.

However, the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said there had been nothing done for the area.

"The water crisis in the area, remains. During summer, it worsens. Also, their claim of improvement in transport sector is false. Instead of increasing buses, they have decreased the buses in the routes," Gupta said.

In 1993, independent candidate Suraj Parshad Paliwal was elected from the seat. In 1998, Congress leader Kanwal Singh Yadav bagged the seat.

In 2003, another independent candidate, Ranbir Singh Kharb, was elected from Najafgarh. In 2008, Bharat Singh, also an independent MLA, bagged the seat.

In 2013, when the AAP and Congress formed a 49-day government, BJP's Ajeet Singh Kharkhari had won.

The Congress and the BJP are yet to name their candidate.


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