There is enthusiasm and excitement as residents of North East Delhi’s Dilshad Garden wait for Congress’ Kanhaiya Kumar, who is the constituency’s candidate from I.N.D.I.A. Bloc.

Flags of both Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were waved as people chanted slogans. With Delhi nearing the poll day, Kumar was there to attend an ‘auto rally’, which was led by many auto rickshaw drivers.

Speaking to The Citizen, Nadeem Khan who is an auto driver said that he has come here to support Kumar. “We are supporting Kumar and even got a chance to meet him. As a first-time contender he was able to understand our issues and we have a firm belief that he would be able to work on them as well,” he said.

The people said that increasing rates, hate between religions and communities and people fighting for basic necessities is something they would want their candidate to work on.

Waiting patiently, a young Mushtakh Hussain said that the country wants change. A resident of Sundar Nagri Hussain said, “We support the alliance and it is better because both Congress and AAP have worked for the areas in their own way,” he said.

Hussain said that the poverty has increased and families are suffering. “They are making brothers fight amongst themselves. We will fight this government,” he said.

“We were born in this country and would die in it as well,” Khan added.

Hussain pitched in and said that politics should be fought on development and not religion or caste. “I do not think the situation has ever been this bad,” he added.

Sharfaraz who was standing chanted “Congress Zindabad, AAP Zindabad” and more people joined.

Martha, a resident of Dilshad Garden who had left her household work, was waiting for Kumar for the past one hour.

“Nor are we Congress loyalists, but we also know that Modi has ruined the country and only the alliance can help us bring it back,” she said.

Holding a Congress flag, Martha said that there are a lot of issues in the area, but mostly it is the issue of water. “We don’t get water. Electricity is absolutely fine, but water is the main issue,” she added.

Martha said that she wants her colony to fare well. “There is no drinking water for the past 10 years,” 80-year-old Vittiyanum who has been staying in Dilshad Garden’s JJ cluster for the past 50 years told The Citizen

She said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nothing to improve the situation but has only made it worse.

“Manoj Tiwari has never even come to our colony since he came to power. Even now he is organising events in other places, but has not come here to speak to us,” Vittiyanum said.

Recollecting her memories, the enthusiastic, 80-year-old said that it was Rajeev Gandhi who first set up the JJ Cluster and they have stayed here ever since. “I have been voting for the past 14 years and I have always voted for one party,” she smiled.

The people said that it is time for hate to go away and talks of development have to come in.

“We recently saw a video of a BJP candidate in Hyderabad posing like she was shooting an arrow at a mosque, but later went and asked for votes from the Muslims. How can people trust this party and its candidate,” Mohammad Yasir, a resident of Sundar Nagri who was present at the rally said.

Kumar has been meeting people in various areas, even though he is yet to visit the places that were hit by violence in 2020.

As Kumar entered the area, people excitedly went to meet him after which he addressed the media. “To fight we do not need weapons but bravery and we have that,” Kumar said addressing the media.

Surrounded by his caders, Kumar said that he has the blessings of people and this would be his weapon to win. “They can abuse me as much as they want but you can see the enthusiasm of people and they want change in the country and in Delhi. This change will come and NDA will lose,” he added.

Kumar then flagged off the auto rally that travelled to different areas of Dilshad Garden.

While the I.N.D.I.A. Bloc alliance is said to have Muslim support from NorthEast, the Purvanchali vote is likely to be divided.

Pradeep Ved, a resident of Bhajanpura said that he was satisfied with Tiwari. On asking whether he has done any work, Ved said people earn their own livelihood and live lives. “Politics is about vote banks and ours are going to those who we see fit. Tiwari for us is the better fit,” he added.

Delhi is set to vote on May 25.

All Photograph Nikita Jain