As the campaign for Lok Sabha polls reaches a fever pitch for seven Lok Sabha seats here, candidates are having a tough time wooing voters from the Northeast who feel almost all political parties have failed to address their "key" concerns.
People from the eight NE states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim, who have settled in New Delhi for better education and job opportunities, say it is time political parties took concrete steps to address their grievances concerning lack of adequate security and rising instances of racial abuse.
Though Delhi Election Commission said it does not have the figure of voters hailing from the Northeast in Delhi, NGO Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network puts the number at around five lakh.
A senior Delhi BJP leader said though the number of people from Northeast may not be very significant, they may matter in case of "tight fights".
Youngsters from Northeastern states say they have been facing racial abuse in various parts of the national capital and nothing has been done by political parties to ensure they can live in the city just like any other Indian citizen.
"I want my elected representative to make sure that people from the Northeast are treated as Indian citizens and we are not discriminated against because of our accent or features. Also, I would want my representative to bring up the anti- racial discrimination law in Parliament," says D Apao of Manipur.
Apao said political parties in Delhi have not addressed issues of racial discrimination faced by those from Northeast, primarily due to the lack of a robust electorate.
Last month, around 5,500 eligible voters hailing from Northeastern states registered themselves for voter identity cards in a drive jointly launched by the Delhi Election Commission and the North Eastern Council, the nodal agency for economic and social development of the region.
With the theme being 'inclusive voting', the drive was launched with an aim to register voters from sections which are sidelined, including those from the Northeast.
"With the theme of inclusive voting, we had a special focus on adding to the voter list people from the Northeast. More than 5,500 girls and boys from Northeast applied in the recent drive to register themselves as voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections," Vijay Dev, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer said.
New voters can collect voter cards by April 4, he said.