'Cong only on posters in West Delhi'

Far fewer posters of AAP adorn billboards as compared to that of Congress and BJP in West Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency. In many areas, large hoardings containing pictures of Rahul Gandhi and Congress MP from the area Mahabal Mishra are either defaced or have smaller posters of Narendra Modi pasted over them.

Voters in the area say the widespread defacement of the Congress posters is an indication that the party is set to be decimated this time round. “It is a two-way contest between the BJP and AAP this time. Congress is nowhere in the picture except on the posters," says Kadam Jain, a businessman based in Tilak Nagar for three decades. 

Bharatiya Janata Party had won five seats, its ally Shiromani Akali Dal one and Aam Aadmi Party four in the Assembly elections.

Though AAP candidate from the area Jarnail Singh claims community politics is the last thing his party will indulge in, it is only obvious that Singh has been fielded keeping in mind the considerable population of Sikhs and other Punjabis in the area.

They constitute almost 23 per cent of all voters here. “We have no money to splurge on posters. We will meet the voters face-to-face,” says Jarnail.

The former journalist rose to prominence after he threw a shoe at Finance Minister P Chidambaram for the Congress party's alleged inaction in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. 

His party workers say they are not taking lightly the huge rural population in about 90 villages in the constituency. "The party has been paying regular door-to-door visits to these rural belts and highlighting issues like lack of colleges and hospitals despite West Delhi being large in terms of area as well as population,” says Aman Bakshi, an AAP worker. 

Most of these rural areas were included in the constituency in 2008. The Jat community holds sway over about 70 of these villages which the BJP is eyeing. Local party leaders say this belt was ruled by the party till the death of former Delhi Chief Minister and BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma in 2007.

To reconnect with the Jat community, the party has fielded Sahib's son Pravesh Verma – a young face and the sitting MLA from Mehrauli Vidhan Sabha constituency.

The Sikh community has mostly favoured BJP as the party keeps promising to provide justice to the riot victims.

This time the vote share is expected to be divided as the AAP promised to form an SIT to investigate the riots prior to quitting the government. Thus forcing the BJP to concentrate on the rural areas. 

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