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By-elections: Local issues on voters’ minds

Jalandhar: Lack of civic amenities and drug abuse were the major issues for voters in the recently held parliamentary elections in Jalandhar West assembly constituency. In the noise of national politics, local issues could not get as much resonance as they should have. With the Jalandhar West bypoll scheduled to be held tomorrow (Wednesday), these issues have again become a cause of trouble for political parties. Even Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is camping here with his family. According to reports, the Municipal Corporation is also making every effort to address the grievances of the people. Despite their best efforts, the parties and leaders have not yet been able to resolve the old issues that continue to bother the voters of the area. A month ago, elderly people living in the slum areas of the city voted in the hope of ending drug abuse and unemployment. They said that they had cast their vote in the hope that the elected MLA would take some steps to improve the situation. Basti No. 9, Basti Danishmanda, Basti Guja and Basti Sheikh are among the oldest, most congested and densely populated areas of the city. Polling booths in the bastis are always considered sensitive because of the high number of voters. Paramilitary forces are also deployed at every booth.

Suresh, 27, from Basti Sheikh area said sewerage problems were making their lives hell. “The leaders should come here and see our ‘galis’. These narrow lanes will tell them about the real problem,” he said. Divya, a first-time voter from Basti Guja, had earlier said: “Youngsters are getting addicted to drugs. It feels unsafe and girls cannot even step out of their homes in the evening in their own colony. You can see the kind of environment we are living in. Even politicians do nothing in this regard.” A 65-year-old from Basti Danishmanda said he had spent his entire life in the basti. “I have grown old living with the same old problems but they have never been resolved,” he said. A 40-year-old woman from the area also stressed the need to tackle the problem of drug addiction. She said, “First of all, the drug menace must be curbed. It is scary and problematic.”

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