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Triangular fight in high-tech Gurgaon
Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
January 31, 2005 20:55 IST
Last Updated: January 31, 2005 23:50 IST
The battle lines are drawn in Gurgaon. With less then 72 hours to go before polls, each candidate is putting in all efforts to ensure victory in the 'IT centre' of Haryana.
The contest promises to be bitter. And the constituency has been attracting a lot of attention, especially that of the Election Commission.
The EC sent observers to Gurgaon three times in the past two weeks to verify the complaints of violation of the electoral code by the candidates, particularly those of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal and the Congress.
There are 11 candidates are in the fray for this seat.
But the main contest will be between Dharamvir Singh Gaba of the Congress, sitting MLA Gopi Chand Gehlot of the INLD and former Member of Parliament Sudha Yadav of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Surinder Gehlot, who manages Gopi Chand's poll campaign, told rediff.com on Monday, "My father Gopi Chand Gehlot changed the face of Gurgoan in last five years. Multinational companies have shifted their offices to Gurgoan. Big malls in Gurgaon have changed the way people of New Delhi and its suburbs shop. A 300-acre cyber city is coming up fast. My father has done a lot of developmental work. He is now seeking re-election. I have no doubt that he will win with a huge margin. Last time he won the seat by a margin of 15,000 votes."
Gopi Chand was elected as an independent candidate, but he later joined Chief Minister Om Prakash Chauthala's INLD.
He owns a petrol pump and some brick kilns in the area. He also has a website highlighting his achievements.
Sudha Yadav is basing her chances on last minute campaign visits of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and party president L K Advani.
"My campaign is going well and I am sure I will win by a huge margin," she told rediff.com.
Yadav is a housewife. When she was an MP, she got a petrol pump allotted to her family.
She has been using email and sms to reach out to her voters.
Meanwhile, Congress candidate Dharam Vir Gaba, a hardcore politician, hopes to ride on the anti-Chauthala wave to make it to the assembly one more time.
He has represented the constituency twice. Like Yadav, he too is using modern technology to reach out to the electorate.
"He has an advantage over his rivals because he has the backing of over one lakh Punjabi voters in Gurgaon," said Abhay Jain, a local journalist who had been followed Gaba's campaign closely for the past three weeks.
Rajat Bahl, a management student in Gurgaon, felt that development in the constituency has not been uniform.
"You have too many shopping malls in one area and the entire place looks like a concrete jungle. It would have been better if they were spread over a large area. That would have ensured better movement of traffic," he said.
Vijay Sharma, another voter who lives in one of the Housing Board colonies, agrees.
"The moment you step into Gurgaon from Qutub Minar side you get caught in a traffic jam because of the malls. I drive from Gurgaon to my office and I find the traffic irritating," he points out.
We asked Nitya Singh, another voter, if she would vote for Chauthala for his development work, specially in Gurgaon, which attracted over Rs 3000 crore worth of investment, beating even Bangalore in this respect.
Singh said she would rather sit at home than vote for those who looted the people in the name of development. "The ruling party has made money left, right and centre," she alleged.
When we put this to INLD candidate Gopi Chand Gehlot and his supporters, they had this to say: "These allegations are baseless. Our work speaks for itself."
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