Regional parties try to hog the limelight

Regional parties try to hog the limelight

Bahujan Samaj Party and Shiromani Akali Dal, to name a few, are confident of winning

The centre of attention for next month’s state assembly elections may be Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party, but several regional parties are also trying to steal the limelight and play a crucial role. 

They include Bahujan Samaj Party, Lok Janshakti Party, Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, Janata Dal-United, Communist Party of India, Shiromani Akali Dal and Nationalist Congress Party.However, Bahujan Samaj Party and Nationalist Congress Party are the only regional parties having candidates from all the 70 constituencies.

In the 2008 elections, Bahujan Samaj Party contested from 69 seats and won two, and Lok Janshakti Party contested from 41 and won in one. 

Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Ram Singh Netaji won from Badarpur with 53,416 votes and Surendra Kumar from Gokulpuri with 27,499 votes. Shoaib Iqbal of Lok Janshakti Party was the third ‘outsider’ to win – from Matia Mahal with 25,474 votes.

In Narela, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Sharad Kumar lost by a thin margin of 832 votes against Congress candidate Jaswant Singh. Kumar bagged 33,820 and Singh received 34,662 votes. Experts say these results indicate the dent that regional parties could make to vote banks next month.

The Election Commission’s data shows that though Congress and BJP won 40.31 per cent and 36.34 per cent votes respectively, Bahujan Samaj Party managed a whopping 14.05 per cent votes to secure the third place in terms of vote share. 

BJP managed to poach one of Bahujan Samaj Party’s two winners — Ram Singh Netaji — but the latter is undeterred and looking to make a major impact this time as well. 

“Our party workers are campaigning all over Delhi and we have got a good response,” Bahujan Samaj Party Delhi elections in-charge Ram Achal Rajbhar says.

The party is holding a number of rallies in the capital, and its chief Mayawati will take part in eight rallies. She had already addressed two rallies on Thursday. In her 40-minute speech, Mayawati highlighted how Congress and BJP failed to do anything for the poor in Delhi.

“If we are voted to power, our priority would be taking care of the weaker sections,” she said at a rally in north-east Delhi’s Yamuna Vihar. 

Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party are targeting an estimated 40 lakh strong Poorvanchali population in the capital, who come from UP.

Samajwadi Party had won 0.49 per cent votes, but will be riding a wave after its victory in UP. Contesting from 30 of 70 constituencies, the party will focus on upliftment, education and proper living conditions in Delhi.

“We are working hard and making less noise. We have done work of public outreach as workers are visiting each constituency to raise issues relevant to people,” Samajwadi Party Delhi unit chief Usha Yadav says.

Samajwadi Party says that if it comes to power it will construct a Metro line called “ring Metro”. 

“The ring Metro will be similar to Ring Road that runs through different areas of Delhi. It will pass through the border districts of Delhi and touch every part of the National Capital Region. It will provide a faster and better transport system for people living in remote areas of Delhi,” Yadav says.

Samajwadi Party says it will fight for bringing Delhi Police and Delhi Development Authority under the city government. Delhi Police come under the Home Ministry and Delhi Development Authority is an autonomous body. 

Janata Dal-United, which secured 0.05 per cent votes in 2008, is also looking for a bigger share this time. The party says it did not actively contest in the elections, except for some last-minute nominations. 

“This time we have been actively campaigning throughout the city,” party in-charge in Delhi Sabir Ali says. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also held a rally in the capital on Saturday targeting an estimated 20 lakh people from Bihar here.

However, Bihar’s Rashtriya Janata Dal decided against taking part in the elections. The party that contested in the 2008 elections took the decision following its leader Lalu Prasad’s arrest. Lalu is undergoing a five-year jail term after being convicted in the fodder scam case.

BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal are in a pre-poll alliance. The latter will contest four seats from Hari Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Kalkaji and Shahdara and BJP will contest the rest.

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