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Seven up

Seven up
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has entrusted its tallest leader in the Capital city, Harsh Vardhan, to deliver in 2014, what former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had in 2009 Lok Sabha elections – all seven parliamentary seats from Delhi. Dikshit is no more a political force. Election in Delhi has become a triangular competition due to strong presence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).  To achieve a score of seven out of seven is not going to be easy as former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is credited to oust Dikshit from the politics of the national capital, is also eyeing to match her tally in his party’s maiden foray in Lok Sabha polls.

‘We will win all the seven seats in Delhi. The people have already prepared their mind to make Narendra Modi the next prime minister of the country,’ said Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP chief. Vardhan has recently been given rein of Delhi BJP for the fourth time, a position which eluded him before Delhi assembly elections. It’s a coincidence that Vardhan was projected as face of the Delhi BJP only one month before the city was scheduled to elect new government, and now again, just one month before Delhi goes to vote for seven Lok Sabha seats. ‘I have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time as last date of filing the nominations are just few days ahead. We are holding meetings with our grass root workers to enthuse them,’ he added.

The party, under his leadership, feels that a centralised election based on the name of Narendra Modi would materialise only by projecting the brand Modi through innovative campaigns. Be it NaMo Tea Party, NaMo Choupal, Ek Note-Kamal Par Vote, Modi for PM, Vote for Modi and various other initiatives, as well as small meetings, door-to-door contact and big rallies by the prime ministerial candidate himself – BJP’s outreach programme has shown many shades and genuine improvisations. ‘Modi is our prime ministerial candidate and our entire campaign is based on projecting him as the most trustworthy leader of the country. We are doing it in our door-to-door contacts and also through social media, and using latest technologies,’ he added. The party leaders have been directed to hold Modi-based programmes in their areas and ground level workers, particularly women, have been instructed to make local impacts and establish direct contact with voters.

‘In Delhi assembly elections, we ignored AAP, but now we are taking them seriously. We have distributed a booklet among our party cadres exposing the lies of AAP. We talk about corruption of Congress and betrayal of AAP to expose the nexus between these two parties. In the last elections, AAP benefited due to negligence of our top leadership and ignorance of our grass root workers,’ said Vardhan, when asked about the challenges posed by AAP. BJP accepts that AAP is slicing the vote bank, mainly of Congress party, but also the vote share which generally used to go to fringe political parties. However, it is clear that in this election that neither Congress nor BJP can deny the strong presence of AAP and the energy it has injected into the poll process. ‘All the pre-poll surveys will be proved wrong and we will get maximum Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, may be all the seven seats,’ claimed Ashutosh, journalist-turned-politician who is most likely to contest from Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat against union cabinet minister Kapil Sibal.

AAP, like during the Delhi assembly elections, has a lead in declaring its candidates for five out of seven parliamentary seats, much before BJP and Congress – a strategy, which went in the favour of AAP in 2013 Delhi assembly elections. Equally, the candidates have started their campaign in full swing. At the time of this article going to print, Congress, which is likely to field all sitting MPs from the seven seats, is still reluctant to announce their names, while BJP is yet to decide the names.

‘We have a procedure to declare the names of candidates for Lok Sabha elections. We have started the process and names will be announced soon,’ said Arvinder Singh Lovely, Delhi Congress chief, claiming he will repeat the performance of Diskhit this time. But given the poorest-ever show by Congress in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly elections in which it shrank from 43 seats to just 8 seats, there are few takers of his claim. But his party is undoubtedly a third force in the city politics. The answer to the question if any of the city leaders – Vardhan, Kejriwal or Lovely – would be able to match Dikshit’s tally will only be answered on 16 May.
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