BJP hopes to walk on Congress crutches in MCD polls

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By Manish Anand 

New Delhi, November 17: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has currently roped in several senior party leaders to helm the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. With no face in Delhi to pull the stocks of the BJP, the party is hoping that the corporation election character stays and the cadre factor gain upper hands.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi is also without its top brass which is engrossed in the Gujarat elections. But the AAP is seen in the national capital buoyant on the back of the party commanding unprecedented majority in the Delhi Assembly. For the BJP, ground reports suggest that it will be an uphill task to retain power in the MCD, which has been unified to revive its political might.

“So far it looks like 51:49 between the BJP and AAP for the MCD elections. A lot will depend on the candidates, and also on Congress,” said a senior BJP functionary. Congress in the national capital has been struggling, with party’s core constituency having shifted to either AAP of the BJP.

But Congress and BJP had alternately been ruling the MCD. Till late Ram Babu Sharma’s leadership in the MCD, Congress counted on the strength of the corporaters in the national capital for a strong cadre base. However, the arrival of Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister, and AAP sent Congress on margins. Even Congress’ core constituency among Muslims shifted their loyalties to AAP. This is despite the fact that Congress has some of the key leaders with their bases from Delhi such as Ajay Maken, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, JP Agarwal and so on.

The BJP hopes that Congress will be able to appeal to its old workers’ loyalties and cut into the support base of the AAP. “If Congress revives even marginally, the BJP will sail through in the MCD elections. If not, then the contest is too close to call,” said another BJP functionary.

Senior BJP leaders such as Sunil Deodhar are camping the Delhi BJP office to fine tune the party strategy, while top leaders are also likely to find time from their busy schedules in the Gujarat polls to campaign in the national capital. “Outcome of the MCD elections depend on the capabilities of the candidates to get extra votes. Therefore, the candidates who were seen to have 2000-2500 extra votes were given preference by the BJP,” added the BJP functionary.

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