Abhishek Anand and Abheshek Kumar
We reached the Ward no. 25N, Rohini-B (Women Reserved Ward) of the North Zone around 6:30 pm on 16th April. After conducting interviews of the 3-4 residents of the ward, we headed towards the party offices of different registered political parties to interview their respective candidates. We first reached the BJP office but were told by the office bearers that the party candidate Kanika Jain could not be available today. So, we next headed towards the nearby office of the Indian National Congress (INC) candidate Mrs. Shashi who is also the sitting councilor. Here again, we couldn’t meet the candidate, however, fortunately her ‘Election Agent’ Kunwar Singh was available and he agreed to give us the interview.
We started our conversation with the role of MCD elections in Indian democracy. To which, he responded by highlighting the significance of local bodies as the important link to the upper tiers of the administrative set up. Also, he talked about more enthusiasm among the voters regarding these elections because of the involvement of the issues that affect their day-to-day life. Further, in response to our query about how the ‘Women reserved seat’ is different from a ‘General seat’, he said that its importance lies in the empowerment of women through representation. On the question of important election issues in the ward, he said that being a sitting councilor, Mrs. Shashi’s campaign is largely guided by her developmental works such as the construction of banquet halls, sanitation works, and provision of sewing machines and employment-oriented training facilities for women in the area. But his tall claims, at least regarding the sanitation, seemed more an exaggeration than a reality because on our way to the INC office we’ve seen a large heap of litter next only to a busy public park (Parshuram Park) in sector 6. Though he tried hard to defend this problem but based on our interviews with the residents of that area his defence seemed quite weak. Also, on women specific issues, especially on women security, he said that there is no such problem in the area. Finally, in response to the popular perception about the women representatives acting mostly as dummies (remote controlled by their male family members), he categorically stated that though to some extent it’s true, this theory doesn’t apply to Mrs. Shashi who is not only a well-educated woman but an able leader as well.
Abhishek Anand, Research Scholar, SIS, JNU
Abheshek Kumar, Independent Researcher, University of Delhi