Home Indian Muslim Jamia Nagar puts shootout aside, banks on Congress

Jamia Nagar puts shootout aside, banks on Congress


New Delhi : A controversial shootout in which two suspected terrorists and a police officer were killed in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi had triggered protests in the Muslim-dominated area eight months ago, but many of them backed the Congress in Thursday’s Lok Sabha polls.

Jamia Nagar in south Delhi has more then 100,000 Muslim voters, and many of them bank on Congress candidate Sandeep Dikshit, son of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, to win and boost development in the area.

The area was previously part of the South Delhi constituency but is now in the East Delhi parliamentary constituency after the delimitation exercise.

“We are voting for the Congress. One major reason is that the Congress candidate Sandeep Dikshit being the son of Delhi chief minister will help us in getting our due which we didn’t get for the last five years,” Ajmal Ahmad, a 48-year-old businessman, told IANS.

Asked if the Sep 19, 2008 gunbattle in Batla House was still an election issue, he said: “People are overlooking the incident in the hope of development and justice as the Congress leaders have promised. And people had expressed their anger by voting against the Congress legislator in the assembly elections (in December).”

Parwez Hashmi, who was seeking re-election, could manage a win by a narrow margin of only 543 votes.

During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Jamia Nagar was part of the South Delhi constituency, which elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate V.K. Malhotra.

This time the fight is mainly between Dikshit and the BJP’s Chetan Chauhan. Though the Bahujan Samja Party (BSP) has fielded Mohammad Younus hoping to garner Muslim votes, many voters back the Congress.

“I have seen Delhi changing in last 10 years under the Congress regime (at the state level). I will vote for a party promising development and growth – not for a person just because he is a Muslim. We never saw BSP workers or candidates before the elections,” Mohammad Salim, a 38-year-old who runs a public phone booth in the locality, told IANS.

Salim too said the shootout was no longer an issue.

Mohammed Faisal, a 23-year-old student of mechanical engineering at the nearby Jamia Millia Islamia, was having tea with his friends at a roadside tea stall in Batla House. He said the killing of innocents either by police or by terrorists is highly condemnable, but life must go on.

“I was sad when the shootout took place in a building in the lane next to my house. However, we are hopeful for justice, and at the end we all want a better life where development and justice reach every door and with this hope I will be voting for Congress,” Faisal said.

The area saw an unexpectedly large turnout of women voters, especially young women, in the morning.