New Delhi: Okhla in Southeast Delhi is a Muslim dominated seat and a Congress bastion. Even in the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections when a huge anti-Congress wave was sweeping the national capital, its candidate Asif Mohammad Khan won the seat by a huge margin of over 25,000 votes.
But with Congress on a downslide and the Aam Aadmi Party a strong alternative, many of those who voted for Asif are slowly moving towards the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit.
Asif is a two-time MLA from Okhla, winning the constituency in 2008 as a Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate and then from the Congress in 2013. But he is facing a tough challenge from AAP's Amanatullah Khan this time as the Bharatiya Janata Party has very little presence in the area although its candidate Braham Singh has been campaigning aggressively.
"There will be a close contest between Congress and AAP. Arvind Kejriwal will be the best chief minister for Delhi," says Ashraf, a shopkeeper.
Okhla's narrow lanes are home to many migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar most of whom belong to the lower middle class. While many of them are undecided but say they will vote for the party which can form the government.
People also acknowledge that the 49 days rule of former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal brought them some relief in the form of lower electricity and water bills. "There will be a tough fight between Congress and AAP. Asif Khan has worked for the people here," says Mohammad Qamil.
On BJP naming former IPS officer Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate, Faisal Khan, a resident, says, "With the coming of Kiran Bedi in BJP, the morale of party workers has gone down."
BJP has already seen its Okhla leader Dhir Singh Bidhuri and four block president along with their supporters quiting the party to join AAP. Bidhuri had quit after BJP denied him the ticket from Okhla.
He had secured over 23,000 votes in 2013 and now his supporters are backing AAP much to the chagin of Congress and BJP. He also commands a lot of support in the neighbouring Badarpur and Tughlaqabad constituencies.
Apart from Bidhuri's defection, the BJP is facing another trouble as Braham Singh, too, defected from the Bahujan Samaj Party and his supporters have drifted towards the AAP. In 2013 elections Singh had polled over 20,000 votes.
While Asif still has a lot of goodwill but with the Congress in disarray, the AAP is slowly gaining grounds.