JD(U) to contest Delhi polls alone

With an eye on 'Poorvanchali' votes, NDA ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday supported the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) key demand for full statehood for Delhi with his party, the, JD(U), gearing up to contest the Assembly polls due to be held in the coming months here.

The JD(U) chief, while addressing his party workers here, also criticised AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the latter's recent remarks that people from Bihar buy Rs 500 tickets to reach Delhi and avail medical treatment here worth Rs 5 lakh for free, saying that the national capital will come to a halt if immigrants from Bihar stop working here.

“We have always been in favour of full statehood for Delhi. Like we want special status for Bihar, we have always wanted statehood for Delhi," Kumar said.

The JD(U), which is an ally of the BJP in Bihar, will contest the Delhi Assembly polls alone.

Though the party is yet to finalise the number of seats it will contest for, sources said that candidates will be fielded for 30-35 Assembly seats which have large pockets of Poorvanchali voters including migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Term of 70-member Delhi legislative Assembly is due to expire in February next year.

The AAP has been demanding for full statehood for Delhi since long. This was one of the key poll planks for the AAP during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

While the AAP is believed to have significant influence among the Poorvanchali voters, the BJP too has been working hard for its share.

It is for this reason that the BJP had appointed Bhojpuri singer-turned politician Manoj Tiwari as the the party's Delhi unit chief in 2016.

With its plan to join the fray “in a big way this time,” the JD-U is expected to add to the woes of the AAP and the BJP both as it will further divide the Poorvanchali votes. 

The JD(U) had contested the last Assembly polls in Delhi in 2015 but could not win any seat.

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