Vox Populi

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Aug 16, 2014




The new settlers in Gurgaon have been guilty of staying aloof from the political process, but this recent Lok Sabha election saw an almost 60 per cent voter turnout in the urban areas. A significant political awakening, thanks to the Aam Aadmi Party (which created a major stir with their performance in the Delhi election), and a Modi-BJP saffron wave brought out the people in their numbers. Despite the wave, AAP in Gurgaon managed to get almost 27,000 – that too evenly across the City, beating even the Congress in several areas. However, in the ensuing Haryana polls, AAP has decided to stay away from the hustings - it now wants to concentrate on Delhi alone. Gurgaon, a city that is neither politically nor economically empowered, but contributes a major portion to the revenue of the State, will witness a triangular contest between the BJP, INLD and the Congress. An official of the State government, while speaking to Friday Gurgaon, said that future of the City depends on how politics shapes up in the coming days. The marginalisation of Gurgaon will end only if someone powerful from this region is able to take the reins in Chandigarh - otherwise it will remain a milch cow for the rest of the State. Friday Gurgaon went to different nooks and corners of the City and spoke to the aam aadmi, the government servant, the political activist and the follower, to assess the political mood of the City. We asked about their preferences, and whom they thought could resolve the unending problems of Gurgaon. 

Quite a  majority believes in the promise of Achhe Din made by Modi, and is ready to give him time. Virender Yadav, a resident of New Palam Vihar, an unauthorised colony, who voted for the BJP (as did his family), opined that the performance of the Prime Minister has definitely been positive, and he has sent a strong message to the bureaucracy that he means business. “The new Bill on the appointment of judges, the benefit of self-certification, and reaching out to Nepal are good steps. If India is to really change, only a strong, able and selfless PM like Modi can do this”, asserted Yadav. A majority of the BJP supporters also want the people of Haryana to give a clear mandate to the Party, because most of the local parties and their leaders behave as if they represent only a part of the State, and lack the ideological strength and vision to see beyond their supporters. The people living in upscale colonies and condominium complexes also believe that while the delivery by the Union government might be seen as ‘slow’ (as per expectations), Modi is surely going to change the way India is run. When people are asked whether they will support the BJP in Gurgaon and Haryana, to further strengthen the hands of the PM, they are not ready to give clear answers. A number of AAP supporters in the City, who wanted the Party to fight the polls in Haryana, expressed their displeasure over the decision of their ‘High Command’. Sandeep, a resident of Sadar Bazar area, said that a large number of people voted in favour of Yogender Yadav, despite him being a new candidate in the area, because of the strong ideology of the Party. “There may have been setbacks, but there was a need to recalibrate the Party strategy, and reap the dividend of so much hard work put in by the volunteers in Gurgaon,” he added. A large number of people who voted for AAP, and particularly those from the business community, are likely to go the BJP way, aver many of the erstwhile supporters. The urban voter has traditionally decided between the Congress and the BJP across Haryana, while INLD has been predominantly a rural party with strong roots in the peasantry - particularly among the Jaats. In Gurgaon it is highly likely that Jaats might go with local Gopi Chand Gehlot, as he has been given the ticket by the Chautalas – though there is BJP support also. Satish, a resident of Jharsa, said that the things are not black and white this time, and the ‘calculations’ will be made till the last moment. “We want to end the Congress misrule, as it has robbed the farmers of their land while enriching the real estate agents and property dealers,” said Ram Mehar, another village resident sitting at the chaupal. The candidate who will be in the position to defeat the Congress, and whose Party is likely to form the next government, is going to get support from here. Clearly the people of Gurgaon and Badshahpur are fed up with the political marginalisation of this area. However, the majority of the people in Jharsa do not support the idea of projecting a Yadav from South Haryana as a future CM. Caste loyalties are clearly very strong. A local argued that historically the leaders from this region have failed to cobble even 15 to 20 loyal MLAs who could support their candidature. “We want a leader who ends the discrimination, brings jobs and tackles corruption in the City. Such a leader could be from anywhere, but no Party right now has such a person,” he added. Vinod, a resident of Rajendra Park colony, said that unauthorised colonies continue to lack basic services. They are agitated that regularisation is being used as a political tool by the ruling Party to blackmail the hapless residents. Harish, a resident of an unauthorised colony near Basai village, said that this time the people in his area are going to vote for the BJP, as they have great faith in Modi and his team. “We also wish that a national party, which is above caste and region, should rule the State. We want equal development and distribution of jobs,” said Manish Makkar, a resident of New Colony, a predominantly Punjabi area of the City. The industrial work force is checking out who would be a ‘winning’ candidate, and with a large majority coming from Bihar and UP, it is likely they will be influenced by the choices in their home States. Gurgaon has a large Punjabi population, and they consider this seat to be their own, as a Punjabi has won the MLA seat multiple times. The Punjabis who came to Gurgaon after Partition have prospered in their adopted city, but in last one decade the community believes that they have been politically marginalised, as none of the political parties have given tickets to Punjabis. Rajesh Dhingra, a businessman, said, “No one spoke for us in the last 5 years - as an Independent had won the election,” he said. The BJP is most likely to give its ticket to a non-Punjabi candidate, as most of the strong contenders are from other communities, whereas Congress is most likely to favour a Punjabi to fight this election, averred observers.

The Millennium City has also become a melting pot of people from all parts of the country. The migrants seem clear that they are going to vote for change this time. Vipin Sharma, a software professional, said that he supported AAP in the Lok Sabha polls, but will vote for the BJP in the coming elections - as he feels that it has a broader perspective. Sanjeev, who works in the finance sector, said that he would vote for a leader who promises to end the builder raj, and ensures that citizens and home buyers get their due respect and rights. “Our Society has decided to vote for a candidate who promises that the Haryana Apartment Owners Act will be implemented in letter and spirit,” he added. The situation is similar in many parts of ‘new’ Gurgaon, with residents of colonies such as Mayfield Garden and Ardee City asserting that they have been taken for a ride by the developers as well as the government authorities. Manish Yadav, who runs a business, said that he lives in a village but also owns an apartment in one of the private colonies where the builder has failed to deliver any service. “The builders have become the lords of Gurgaon and are ruling this City. This has to change,” he added. The political bugle in Haryana has been sounded, with both Congress and BJP organising major rallies this week. The battle right now is favouring the opposition, but there is still time. A hung Assembly would be the worst outcome.


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