'Broken' civic infrastructure of Gurugram top agenda for Raj Babbar

Congress leader said there has been a demand for the creation of an Ahir regiment in the Indian Army, which is yet to be fulfilled

Raj Babbar campaigns at Sadar Bazaar Market in Gurugram on 14 May (photo: PTI)
Raj Babbar campaigns at Sadar Bazaar Market in Gurugram on 14 May (photo: PTI)


Congress leader Raj Babbar in Gurugram on Monday, 20 May, said he would work to fix the state of civic infrastructure in the constituency, which despite contributing a hefty sum to Haryana's coffers has been given a short shrift.

Babbar, the Gurugram Lok Sabha candidate from Congress, said he would also press for the establishment in the Indian Army of an Ahir regiment, for which there has been a longstanding demand.

"Raj Babbar is a candidate fielded by the Congress, but going by the huge response of the people and their overwhelming support for our party, it seems they are fighting this election," Babbar said at a rally.

Despite the heat, which has risen sharply over the past week, Babbar said people are turning up in large numbers to Congress's rallies.

Babbar was announced its candidate from Gurugram by the Congress three weeks ago.

Of the 23 candidates in the fray, the former actor's main fight is with Union minister and BJP's sitting MP, 74-year-old Rao Inderjit Singh.

Babbar, 71, says that despite generating a major chunk of revenue for Haryana, Gurugram city does not have proper civic infrastructure, and its condition is exposed glaringly during the monsoon.

"People do not have basic amenities. The government has been receiving a big chunk of revenue from Gurugram, but how much does it give back," Babbar told PTI.

He said there has been a long pending demand for the creation of an 'Ahir Regiment' in the Indian Army, which is yet to be fulfilled.

"It is a big issue. He (Rao) has been a (Union) minister twice and represented the constituency for many years, but he never pushed for the case. Elected representatives' job is to address the demands of their people.

"Rewari, also known as Ahirwal belt, has a major tradition of sending its youth into the defence forces. Setting up an Ahir regiment is a big demand. I also toured Rewari region, where many people are strongly opposed to the Agniveer scheme," he said.

Deploring the state of civic structure in the constituency, he said, "No one needs to be told what happens in Gurugram during heavy rain."

Merely constructing a Dwarka Expressway and certain infrastructural projects cannot constitute development, he said.

Babbar alleged that the BJP government failed to start the Rapid rail project which would have given a boost to connectivity across the region.

"Many things initiated during the previous Congress government were put in cold storage. Rapid rail, from Gurugram to Alwar... when this project was to start, the government in Haryana changed. Years have passed, why did they stop the project?

"How much it would have facilitated the people of Mewat, Rewari, Bawal, Pataudi and other areas which would have been well connected," he added.

Babbar said the election may be for electing the parliamentarians, but that wouldn't stop him from raising the infrastructure related issues, which the constituency is racked with.

"... people also elect you for local things. Their basic needs pertaining to water, electricity, roads, employment, inflation, education have to be addressed," he said.

With Gurugram, Rewari and Mewat forming three main areas of the parliamentary constituency, Babbar says during his visit to Rewari he came across some areas where parents said their daughters have to travel up to 15 km for studies.

"There are so many things which have not been addressed. This Lok Sabha constituency is a mini-India and people here come from various backgrounds and classes. Gurugram this time needs a change and needs a representative who is accessible to its people," Babbar said.

Voting for all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana will be held in the sixth of the seven-phase general elections on 25 May.

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