These days the capital comes to a standstill every now and then. Not because of political rallies priming people up for the general elections but over a piece of land in the posh Jorbagh area which has long been a bone of contention between two Muslim groups.
The Shias, led by Maulana Kalbe Jawad, come every second day to protest in the streets of Lutyen's Delhi, their ire directed against Congress leader Ahmad Patel and his alleged protege, Wasim Khan, who has set up a nursery called Rajdhani nursery on the land.
The Shias want the land back because according to them the licence to Rajdhani nursey had expired in year 2000 and Wasim Khan had no right to hold on to the land and engage in commercial activities from there.
Amid all this fight between the two groups with 10 Janpath playing so-called referee, the masses of Delhi are paying a huge price. "It took me two and half hours to reach ITO from Laxminagar which usually takes 10 minutes. These people are choking up the road every now and then. I don't know what government and police are doing," complained Anil Srivastava, a commuter stuck at ITO.
The high court had given a decision in favour of Anjuman-e-Haidri, the Shia group which is party to the conflict, and had ordered Wasim Khan to vacate the land, which Khan is still to obey.
"We know that we are causing trouble, but we have been compelled to resort to this level because of Ahmad Patel. Wasim Khan is just a puppet, Patel is the actual person behind Rajdhani nursery. We demand his arrest and implementation of the HC decision," said Syed Ahmad Abbas, general secretary, Anjuman-e-Haidri.
The Shia group has asked Muslims not to vote for Congress after their plea before Congress chief Sonia Gandhi went unheard. But, if sources are to be believed, the Shia protest is backed by the BJP to ensure BJP president Rajnath Singh's victory.
"No, we don't have any political patronage. Our protest is solely based on our legitimate right to the land," said Abbas.
Meanwhile, the police and people of Delhi have fallen victims to this political blackmail. The police, busy preparing for polling on Thursday, has to also control law and order while ensuring that the protesters do not reach 10, Janpath. "We don't have orders to use force. Polling preparations are almost done but these protests have kept us occupied," said a senior police official.