‘Public mood is in favour of the BJP, particularly after scrapping of Article 370’.


New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in Delhi has got clear indications of early polls in the national capital. While the BJP national leadership appointed Union minister Prakash Javadekar the in-charge for Delhi elections, its working president J.P. Nadda has reportedly asked Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari to begin preparations for Assembly polls in “full swing”. Sources said Delhi Assembly polls, scheduled for January next year, could be held simultaneously with elections in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra in October-November this year.

Many BJP leaders believe that the public mood is in favour of the BJP, particularly after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, and conducting elections at this point in time could be of great advantage.

Well-placed sources said Nadda held a meeting with Tiwari and Javadekar on Friday afternoon and asked the Delhi unit to begin preparations for elections. The BJP leadership has also appointed ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Nityanand Rai as co-incharges for Delhi elections.

Nadda reportedly discussed BJP’s strategy to take on the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi. The BJP is out of power in Delhi since 1998. The BJP had first formed the government in Delhi way back in 1993 with late Madan Lal Khurana as the chief minister. Since then, the BJP lost three successive polls to Congress. In 2013, BJP emerged as the largest party, but fell short of the majority and AAP formed the government with support of the Congress. After the fall of Kejriwal’s 49-day government, the Assembly was dissolved and fresh elections were held in 2015 where AAP bagged a whopping 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi.

According to sources, Nadda also discussed the freebies being announced by the AAP government essentially aimed at wooing the lower and the middle class votes. BJP leaders have also been told to come up with a strong case against the government while also countering the freebies announced by the government. At the meeting, it was decided that the Delhi BJP will prepare a list of services that it can provide to citizens free of cost after coming to power. After facing a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, the Kejriwal government announced free Metro and DTC travel for women. The government also announced 200-units free electricity for Delhiites and reduced fixed power charges.

The state unit has, however, been told to keep the campaign centred round the development works of the Narendra Modi government and highlight the failures of Kejriwal government in implementing Central government schemes in Delhi like the Ayushman Bharata health insurance scheme.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Friday appointed Javadekar the poll in-charge in Delhi while Hardeep Puri and Nityanand Rai have been appointed the co-incharge. Appointment of Puri is crucial for BJP as being the Urban Development Minister, he is already dealing with critical issues like regularisation of unauthorised colonies and sealing in the national capital. Rai, on the other hand, hails from Bihar and Delhi has a sizable population of poorvanchalis.

Javadekar, a senior leader and strategist, will be facing the biggest task of keeping the faction-ridden state BJP unit united during the polls. This assumes significance in wake of displeasure within the BJP ranks since appointment of Manoj Tiwari, a poorvanchali, the state unit president in 2016. On his appointment, Javadekar, who was earlier in-charge of Assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections for Rajasthan, said he will discharge his responsibility with dedication and will prepare plans for the Delhi polls after consulting the party president and other leaders.