In another blow for India’s second most populous city, a recent study has revealed that New Delhi is the political capital of India.
This news follows repeated reports in recent years that Delhi is also India’s rape capital and adds to the city’s dubious reputation.
The study was commissioned by Politicians Without Borders, an NGO staffed by foreigners trying to fix India’s problems, and carried out by a collection of lovable street urchins similar to those in the film Slumdog Millionaire. Their research found that of New Delhi’s approximately 14 million people, at least 867 are elected or indirectly elected politicians, and thousands of others participate in politics through both the formal and informal channels.
Researchers found informal political channels particularly difficult to track given a lack of bookkeeping. As a result, figures based on the now-public informal politicking of A. Raja and Suresh Kalmadi were used to create estimates for all politicians.
Jyothi, a student at the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), New Delhi, was shocked by the news.
“I knew there was lot of politics here in New Delhi, but I didn’t think it would be that much,” she said. “Sometimes I find this city truly disgusting.”
The city also contains India’s most important political buildings, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Political activity undertaken in New Delhi even extends to foreign powers, with numerous embassies, consulates, and high commissions within its limits.
S. Joseph, an IT professional who moved from Kerala to New Delhi in 2008, was also surprised at the reports.
“Wow, I really would’ve thought Malayalis had a lock on politics. That and all is why I left that place,” he said. “Now I learn that New Delhi is even worse. My mother will be very worried.”
“Well, if you can’t beat them, join them,” he added, before walking into a nearby unlit lane to meet with a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) official.
A member of the Lok Sabha and UPA minister, who did not wish to be named, pointed to negative reports about other cities.
“Who is to say that New Delhi is so bad?” he said, laughing. “In India, there are many other capitals. For example: Goa is drugs and criminals capital. Mumbai is metrosexual capital. Chennai is auto capital. And Kolkata, that cesspool, is cultural capital. India itself is also murder capital and diabetes capital of the world. And you, where are you from?” he asked a passing businessman.
When he heard the reply was ‘Bangalore’, the minister smiled again. “Cancer capital,” he said. “Now tell me who can criticise New Delhi.”
The study is the first of its kind to be undertaken in India since mid-1911, which found that Calcutta (now Kolkata) was political capital of India. That city however remains political capital of Paschimbanga.
According to the report, recommended methods for dealing with an overabundance of politics in your city include voting according to a candidate’s stated policies and reporting corrupt practices. The most common method, avoiding politics as much as humanly possible, is also acknowledged in the findings.