The parties include JDU, RJD, Swaraj India and BSP.
New Delhi: With the announcement of the schedule for Assembly polls in Delhi, many parties based in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have intensified the search for candidates who can contest elections in the capital. These include the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India, Lalu Yadav’s son Tejaswi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United (JDU) which is in power in Bihar.
Polls for the 70-member Delhi Assembly will be held on 8 February, and the results will be declared on 11 February. Currently, the Delhi Assembly is held by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as the party had won 67 out of the total 70 seats in the last held Assembly polls.
Most of the aforementioned parties have not been able to make any inroads in Delhi, especially the JDU and RJD which banks on the support of Poorvanchalis in Delhi and are the biggest force in the homeland of Poorvanchali voters, Bihar.
The situation for Swaraj India and BSP is also the same as the former has no base in Delhi, while the latter has been trying to target Delhi’s Dalit voters. At present, 12 constituencies are reserved for candidates belonging to the Scheduled castes and, therefore, the BSP has announced that it will contest on all the 70 seats of Delhi Assembly. Despite the sizable number of Dalit voters in the capital, BSP’s candidates lost deposits on 69 seats in the 2015 Assembly polls and it managed to get only 1.30% of the total votes polled.
Swaraj India came into existence after Yogendra Yadav parted ways with the AAP. Ever since its formation, Swaraj India has tried to make inroads in elections in Haryana and Delhi, but it has not achieved any success.
Colonel Jaivir, president of Swaraj India’s Delhi unit, told The Sunday Guardian: “Our party Swaraj India is going to contest Delhi polls. We have so far finalised three names who will be contesting polls and discussion on other candidates is underway. It is not that we can’t find candidates, but our party has restricted the entry of corrupt politicians to its fold.”
The three candidates of Swaraj India are Virendra Rai who will contest from Mangolpuri, Manju, a social worker from Bijawasan, and Rakesh Kumar from the Kalkaji Assembly constituency.
Other political outfits like RJD and JDU have not announced any names of their candidates for the Assembly polls yet, but both Bihar-based parties have already announced that they would contest on limited seats.
Pawan Yadav, a teacher at Delhi University who represents RJD, told The Sunday Guardian that the party will contest on seats which have a sizable presence of migrant population from Bihar, especially in constituencies where Muslim and Dalit voters from Bihar are in a majority and can decide electoral outcomes.” RJD once represented the Matia Mahal Assembly constituency in Delhi.
On the other hand, JDU has already finalised five candidates for the Delhi polls and the party is in talks with several other leaders willing to contest on JDU’s election emblem.
“The JDU has decided the names of five candidates who will be contesting the polls. The party leaders have met several times in its new office in Delhi’s Dwarka area. The senior leaders are in talks with almost half a dozen leaders who are seeking the party’s ticket,” a senior party functionary told The Sunday Guardian.