Parties lay groundwork for mid-term polls in Delhi

Parties lay groundwork for mid-term polls in Delhi

The dissolution of the Delhi Assembly has spurred speculation in political circles on the probable date of mid-term elections. The three key parties – the AAP, the BJP and the Congress – have sprung into action to put on their best face.

While the AAP has launched a new-look for its website’s home page, the BJP has activated its information technology team to effectively campaign on social media platforms and the Congress has started a round of meetings to bring back former members.

With the AAP releasing its first set of campaign material, a party leader said: “This initial phase of campaigning will set the tone for our main theme of making Delhi India’s first corruption-free state and a world class city through honest governance, which we alone can provide.”

“We have already started getting requests for Arvind Kejriwal’s (AAP chief) road show,” said another leader.

The Congress, however, has already met a stumbling block with some media reports claiming that the party had chosen 1984-riots accused and former MPs Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler to be part of a campaign committee for the elections.

Congress leaders rubbished these reports and chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said the party has strongly condemned the misinformation being spread by “mischievous elements as part of a devious plan”.

“The Congress has neither constituted an eight-member committee in connection with the Delhi Assembly elections, nor has any discussion about it taken place at any level,” asserted Sharma, a former legislator.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh said discussions are on to prepare a blueprint for the polls. “We will come out with a winning formula.” Sources in the party said former chief minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit may also add weight to strategy sessions. “Some former legislators, along with young faces, may also figure in the party’s final line-up for the polls,” a Congress leader said.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay said he has been holding several rounds of preparatory meetings. “We are working on it,” Upadhyay said.

Downplaying the AAP factor, he said: “Kejriwal has lost his political relevance. His party’s organisation is in disarray and many party leaders and volunteers have deserted him. His party legislators and senior leaders consider Manish Sisodia politically stronger.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding the Congress, Upadhyay said, “The BJP does not want to comment on internal politics of any party, but it is a fact that today names of leaders connected with 1984 riots were proposed for the core team for the Delhi Assembly elections by the Congress. These names were withdrawn due to the pressure of media and the people.” The Delhi BJP chief is also in line for a party ticket.

Anand Sahu, president of BJP’s Asangathit Mazdoor Morcha, said a cell would focus on expanding the party’s support base among those who work in unorganised sectors, including newspaper hawkers, domestic help, sanitation workers, priests, drivers of e-rickshaws and autorickshaws and shopkeepers of weekly markets.

“There are 1,200 weekly markets across the national capital where over 15 lakh people, including their family members, are voters. We have hatched a plan to connect them to the party,” Sahu said.

Following in the footsteps of the AAP, the BJP will also target sanitation workers ahead of elections. “As per our survey, there are more than 1.12 lakh people working in sanitation and we are now planning to get their support,” he said.

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