Road to Parliament starts here

Road to Parliament starts here

For the first time Delhi is going to see a triangular fight in the parliamentary elections. All the three major parties – Bharatiya Janata Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress – have geared up for the April 10 poll.

While Congress has repeated all its sitting MPs despite a strong anti-incumbency factor, the BJP, which emerged as the largest party in the recent Assembly elections, has fielded all new faces, including a couple of `outsiders’. And the newcomer AAP is hoping to make a successful Lok Sabha debut with candidates who are new to politics and elections.Congress renominations

The Congress party has renominated its MPs not just because they won the seats in 2009 but also to meet caste considerations in the constituencies.

Veteran party leader J P Agarwal, who had a very sour relationship with former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, won the Congress primaries and has been fielded from North-East Delhi. For the North-West Delhi seat, the party has repeated Union Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, as it is the only reserved constituency in the city.

Eyeing the large Poorvanchali population in areas of West Delhi, the party  has decided to field sitting MP Mahabal Mishra, despite the fact that all the 10 Assembly seats under his Lok Sabha constituency were lost by the Congress in the December Assembly elections. Even his son Vinay Mishra lost from Palam area. 

With no strong Jat leader left in Delhi Congress, the party has again chosen to field sitting MP Ramesh Kumar, brother of veteran party MP Sajjan Kumar who is accused in 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, from South Delhi constituency.

Sources say party vice-president Rahul Gandhi was against giving ticket to any relative of leaders accused in riot cases. But to meet the caste equation in the area, the party went with Ramesh Kumar.

“People of Delhi have seen the rule of all the three political parties. They have seen the anarchist 49-day rule of the AAP government, the corrupt rule of BJP leaders in all of the three municipal corporations and the 15-year-long progressive and developmental rule of Congress. It is easy for Delhiites to choose the right candidate,” Congress MP and East Delhi candidate Sandeep Dikshit claims.

BJP contenders

The Bharatiya Janata Party has not repeated any candidates from the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Two of the nominees are new even to the city:  Bhojpuri singer-actor Manoj Tiwari, who is fielded from North-East Delhi,  and Dalit leader Udit Raj, who recently joined the party and is the nominee from North-West Delhi.

In the past, Tiwari contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Gorakhpur constituency in UP against BJP’s popular leader Yogi Adityanath. By fielding him, the party is aiming at Poorvanchali voters in North-East Delhi who form a massive 40 per cent of total voters in that constituency.

Going for the Jat vote bank in urban villages, the party has fielded Mehrauli MLA Pravesh Verma, who is also the son of former Delhi chief minister Saheb Singh Verma, from West Delhi constituency.

The only non-political face of BJP in coming elections will be Maheish Girri, party candidate from East Delhi. Girri, a spiritual guru and member of the Art of Living foundation, will debut in the coming parliamentary elections.

“People have seen the most corrupt UPA government and the lies of the former AAP government. The only aim of the BJP is to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister and this is what the people of Delhi want. They need an honest, strong and progressive government, which BJP can give them,” party’s state unit chief and candidate from Chandni Chowk Harsh Vardhan says.

AAP’s people

The AAP has put six 'non-political candidates' in the fray. The party's only experienced political candidate is 25-year-old former Delhi minister Rakhi Birla from North-West Delhi constituency. Despite many protests against 'parachute candidates', the party is trying to cash in on the aam aadmi’s vote by fielding Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi from East Delhi constituency and former Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Anand Kumar from North-East constituency.

The party fielded Col (retd) Devinder Sehrawat from South Delhi constituency. Former journalist Jarnail Singh, who hurled a shoe at Union Minister P Chidambaram in 2009, has been fielded from West Delhi.

Though the party claims to profess an ideology of change and new politics, it has fielded candidates on caste basis in most of the constituencies. The party is trying to woo Jat voters by fielding Sehrawat in South Delhi. It is focusing on Sikh voters by fielding Jarnail Singh in West Delhi. 

Election mantras

All three parties are extensively using social media tools. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, recorded voice calls and  bulk messages are at work. 

Congress is citing development of Delhi but the party’s campaign in the city majorly includes targeting BJP and AAP. The party has put up posters of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at many places attacking BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's and AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal’s ideologies.

AAP candidates are holding ‘padyatras’ in their constituency. In a recorded voice call Kejriwal asks people to vote for AAP. “Congress is the most corrupt government and we have to defeat them this time but don’t go for BJP or it will be the same situation. Both these parties are the same,” he says.

After defeating the Congress in the last Assembly elections, the party has now shifted its target from corruption to communalism. 

With NaMo brand tea, cups, T-shirts, caps and other stuffs, BJP candidates are totally depended on its prime ministerial candidate. Each of the party candidates is using NaMo chants in the poll campaign. 

Party leaders are organising NaMo Chai Chaupal in every constituency. The campaign includes brandishing of the ‘Gujarat model’. Alleged scams during the UPA rule are being used.