Riding high on the ‘Modi wave’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with a brute majority. The BJP’s next challenge is to retain power in the civic bodies polls in Delhi -- where it had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of AAP in 2015 state Assembly polls.
Yesterday, the party released a list of star campaigners who will be addressing marathon rallies in the national capital to woo voters. The list includes Union Ministers, all Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states including Yogi Adityanath (CM of UP) and senior party leaders.
A leader said that party’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari will personally request them to campaign in the run-up to the MCD polls scheduled to be held on April 23.
The inclusion of Adityanath’s name in the list of star campaigners is significant because a large number of electorate in Delhi hail from the eastern party of the Uttar Pradesh, considered the bastion of UP’s new CM.
If Adityanath agrees to campaign for the party in Delhi, it will definitely change the equation and give a push to the BJP’s prospects both in the civic polls and the Assembly elections in 2020 that BJP will then set its sight on.
According to 2011 census, Delhi has a population of nearly 1.68 crore. Situated near the western bank of Yamuna river, the city is a major source of employment for people across the country, especially UP and Bihar.
According to a report by Delhi's Human Development Report 2013 (DHDR), Uttar Pradesh and Bihar continues to be the states from which the largest share of migrants come to Delhi. In 2013, about 47 per cent migrants were from UP, up from about 43 per cent in 2001. The same figure for Bihar shot up from 14 per cent in 2001 to nearly 31 per cent in 2013.
Besides Adityanath, UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP’s OBC face, may also campaign for the saffron party.
"It is a tentative list of senior party leaders who will campaign in the municipal elections and expose the Aam Aadmi Party and its leader Arvind Kejriwal," Delhi BJP vice-president Ravindra Gupta said.
Union Ministers whose names gave been figured in the star campaigners list include Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan and Vijay Goel.
Actress-turned-politician and the saffron party's MP from Mathura Hema Malini will also campaign in the election for the 272 wards of the three municipal corporations in the national capital, which is expected to witness a three-pronged contest among the BJP, AAP and Congress.
Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled Maharashtra, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will also take part in the campaigning.
Tiwari and another Bhojpuri filmstar, Ravi Kishan, also feature among the party's star campaigners.
Senior BJP leader from Bihar Sushil Modi too will campaign in a bid by the saffron party to woo the huge chunk of voters from that state living in the city.
Senior party leaders Kalraj Mishra, Smriti Irani, Radha Mohan Singh, Giriraj Singh, Sanjiv Balyan, Jitendra Singh, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Shahnawaj Hussain, Sambit Patra will also take part in the campaigning among others.
Tiwari had yesterday also announced a 19-member election committee to run the party affairs related to MCD polls. The committee includes all the 15 members of the Core Committee of the Delhi BJP.
The Election Committee is empowered to select candidates for elections. The three general secretaries of Delhi BJP-- Rajesh Bhatia, Ravinder Gupta and Kuljeet Chahal-- and Mahila Morcha president Punam Parashar will be other members of the election committee.