Controversy follows Jai Kishan, the three-time Congress MLA from Sultanpur Majra, wherever he goes. One hears umpteen number of stories of high-handness of the MLA and his sons Rahul and Varun. Yet, he looks set to retain the constituency.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been a runner-up to Jai Kishan most of the times, appears to be in no position to dislodge the MLA. Sushila Bagri, daughter of 2008 BJP candidate Nand Ram Bagri, is seeking party’s nomination. So are Ramchander Chavria, a Delhi BJP leader from Outer Delhi and Rahul Shahi, who defected to the BJP from the BSP.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fair support in this lower middle class constituency where over 95 per cent of the electorate belong to the Scheduled Castes.
The BSP is a force to reckon with and the names of Sanjay Gupta and Mukesh Ahlawat are in circulation for the party nomination.
JAI Kishan (55) is a big admirer of late Sanjay Gandhi. Though he joined Delhi politics in 1991, over a decade after Sanjay died, the trajectory of his political career does remind of the younger son of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi. Like Sanjay, Jai Kishan is brash and does not mind taking law into his hands. He has allegedly been involved in several cases of assault, intimidation and riots, including 1984 anti-Sikh riots. In 2011, a Delhi Court even ticked off the MLA for misusing the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to put his enemies into a spot of bother. In 1998, he was denied ticket after his name figured in a 1984 riot case. Jai Kishan’s son Varun was also named in an FIR in 2007 for allegedly assaulting a vendor.
The number of his detractors in this over 1.5-lakh voter strong constituency is continuously on the rise. A big example of this was last year’s MCD elections when all Congress candidates propped up by Jai Kishan lost. The Congress lost even Sultanpur Majra Ward to the BSP. Today, while the BJP represents Sultanpuri East and Mangolpuri North in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, the BSP controls Sultanpur Majra and Sultanpur South Wards.
Though the profile of the constituency (over 95 per cent Scheduled Castes with their majority living in JJ Colonies, the traditional vote bank of the Congress) gives an advantage to Jai Kishan and he does not face a major threat, there is every possibility that the margin of his victory (won by 18,675 voters in 2008) will go down. At least 35 per cent of the voters gfiles spoke to expressed reservation against him. They, however, did not spell out who they would want to replace him with. In case these get transferred en-block either to the BJP or the AAP, the MLA may have a tougher battle at hand.
Even in Sultanpur Majra, a small village which considers itself relatives of Jai Kishan because the latter’s sister is married into a family here, Jai Kishan is facing opposition. There is no approach road to the village and sewers mostly overflow on to the streets. There are also charges that the MLA favours his caste in doing work and distributes liquor during the polls to lure voters. A group of five here want Sanjay Gupta, husband of Sultanpur Majra Councillor Manisha, to replace Jai Kishan.
But Prahlad, a vegetable vendor, Mandeep, a student and Surendra, a government servant, back the MLA. So do Om Prakash, a daily wager and Krishan Kumar, a shopkeeper. About half-a-dozen shepherds led by Jagbir also back Jai Kishan. They claim the approach road was not carpeted because it was in the jurisdiction of Mangolpuri MLA Rajkumar Chouhan. “Jai Kishan and Chouhan, despite being from the same party, do not get along. We are suffering due to this,” Ghanshyam alleges.
Move to Harijan Basti across a drain and you find Rajesh, a driver, Ram Narain and Jiten Prasad complaining about cleanliness and nuisance from stray pigs. Prasad and Narain root for the AAP while Rajesh clams up after talking about change. Bhuri, an iron maker, and Basmati and Usha, housewives, rant against Delhi Government for inflation and hike in
power and water charges. A few steps away in Friends Enclave, you find Suresh Kumar, Ramphal, Govind Goyal and Manu, lauding the MLA’s performance. Nearby, a group of eight persons led by Ram Niwas Gupta, a shopkeeper in Raja Park, charges the MLA’s relatives with not locking their pigs into enclosures.
When asked to rate MLA’s popularity, Kanhaiya Lal, a resident of A2 Block, Sultanpuri, reminds that none of the former’s nominees won in MCD polls. Brahm Pal of A1 Block, however, is for MLA’s re-election. However, Prakash, a property agent in H Block and Kartar Singh of E3 want change.
Arun, a private employee and Padam Singh, a key maker in C6 block also express satisfaction with the MLA’s work. But Noor Hasan, a bangle seller, Amit, a businessman and Govind Ram, a printer, in Sultanpuri are upset with MLA’s brazenness. “He gets angry easily... We want Congress to change its candidate,” says Hasan, a Congress worker.
Jai Kishan gets almost 100 per cent backing in Ambedkar Jhuggi Jhopri Colony. The slum dwellers feel the MLA has been with the poor. In the four blocks of Mangolpuri there is less support for the MLA with AAP the clear gainer.
Jai Kishan refutes the allegation of distributing liquor and meat on polling day and threatens to beat up the accusers. He admits shouting at people, saying he does this to bring criminals, louts and eve teasers on right path. “The JJ Colony was the most criminal area in entire Asia. Should I go by what liquor peddlers tell me? I have a mind of my own and earn livelihood through honest means (run a school and a college),” he reasons. g