UP polls: Apartment dwellers changing demography at fast pace but still awaiting basic amenities

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UP polls: Apartment dwellers changing demography at fast pace but still awaiting basic amenities
Photo for representation.

The Dadri constituency of Gautam Budh Nagar is witnessing a sharp change in demography with thousands of apartment dwellers moving in each year. There are about one lakh voters in over 70 high rises in the locality. Most of them, however, are not satisfied with the local legislator and parliamentarian.

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Before the influx of apartment dwellers, this seat was a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) -dominant seat with two consecutive bouts won by party’s Satveer Singh Gurjar.

The influx of homebuyers caused demographic change and in the year 2017, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tejpal Nagar won with a margin of over 80,000 votes. Long queues of apartment dwellers were spotted during the 2017 elections outside polling booths. However, after the election, the apartment dwellers were left in the lurch with minimal support by the MLA or MP on the issues of delayed possessions, delay in registry of flats, poor infrastructure, arbitrary charges by builders apart from lack of public transport, government hospitals, schools and colleges.

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“We shall not be considered as a traditional BJP votebank as in the last five years absolutely nothing has been done for us. We crave basic amenities, registry of our flats is still pending, there’s no public transport, no government hospital and schools or college,” said Anupam Mishra, a resident of Supertech Ecovillage 2.

Apart from people who live in the high rises, the Gujjar community has the most number of votes in the area and it dominates the local politics with all three major political parties fielding candidates from this particular community.

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There are about 90,000 voters from Gujjar community, which predominantly voted for BSP in 2007 and 2012 elections. Former UP CM Mayawati’s paternal village, Badalpur, is also in this constituency with a significant votebank of SC community.

With a rise in apartment voters, all the candidates are trying to woo this section, including the BSP candidate Manveer Bhati.

“We will fight for the rights of people living in the high-rises. We are getting immense support from the residents of high-rises as the current MLA failed to do anything for them. Residents of this area have always liked BSP and this time, we will be back,” said Bhati.

In the meantime, local BJP MLA Tejpal Nagar also bolstered his efforts to reach out to apartment dwellers.

“The registration of flats will be sorted soon. We are working on it,” he tweeted after a series of campaigns against him by the apartment dwellers.

The apartment dwellers, however, claim that they are aware of the mistakes of the successive governments, which led to the problem they are facing.

“It’s not a problem created by this government, it was created by the former BSP and SP governments but this government, especially the local MLA, failed to act upon and our votes were wasted,” said Naval Kishor, a resident of Green Arch society.

Apart from apartment dwellers, the Gujjar votebank is also tumultuous for the BJP, following the Samrat Mihir Bhoj statue issue.

On October 22, Nagar had invited CM Yogi Adityanath to inaugurate a statue of 9th century ruler of northern India Samrat Mihir Bhoj, claiming him to be a Gujjar. His social media posts about the event triggered a massive outrage among the Rajput community, which has a significant votebank of about 65,000 in the area, and the word Gujjar was removed from the statue on the day of the event and was later restored.

Nagar faced protests from his own community over the issue and the BJP was also seen on the backfoot as the descendants of Samrat Mihir Bhoj from the Nagod estate of Madhya Pradesh writing letter to the PM requesting him to intervene in the matter and stop distortion of Rajput history.

“We have never seen such tactics by an elected representative to distort history. We know that the government under Yogi Adityanath is working well and the law and order has also been significantly improved, but this issue has created a rift between the two castes. Stealing the identity of our ancestors will not be tolerated,” said Brajesh Singh Sisodiya, a resident of Bisahda village of the area.

The famous Rajput villages of Satha-Chaurasi, which is considered as the “factory of soldiers” for the Indian Army, also starts from Dadri area.

On February 10, in the first phase of elections, Dadri voters will seal the fate of the candidates. Congress’s Deepak Bhati Chotiwala, SP’s Rajkumar Bhati and AAP’s Sanjay Rana are also in the fray. While Deepak Bhati and Rajkumar are also trying to woo apartment voters, AAP’s Rana is yet to mark his presence among the new voters of the locality.

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