A section of AAP leaders in Delhi, hailing from the Purvanchal region, may shift loyalty to JD(U) after “feeling unhappy” with the ticket distribution for the high-stakes MCD polls, sources here today indicated. The municipal elections are due on April 22 and changing political dynamics and demography of the national capital over the years are prompting rewriting of the rules of engagement. Party insiders in JD(U) have indicated that some of the AAP leaders in the city, hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, have “switched allegiance” but did not divulge any further details. A section of AAP leaders are also believed to have joined the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India party, sources in AAP indicated.
“Some have decided not to participate in the campaign work (of AAP) while some have shifted allegiance to other parties. Many volunteers were unhappy with the ticket distribution,” a leader of AAP’s Purvanchal wing claimed. AAP has a number of MLAs, including Rajesh Rishi, Bandana Kumari, Kapil Mishra, Sanjeev Jha, Rituraj, Prakash Jarwal, who hail from the Purvanchal region. The party is using their influence to woo such voters. While AAP has released names of candidates for 260 of the 272 seats, Swaraj India has released names of 172 candidates. The rise of Purvanchalis in politics in Delhi has rescripted their roles from being mere votebank to shareholders of power.
Purvanchalis or people hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and settled in Delhi are considered a major votebank by all parties, and JD(U) is also hoping to shore up its fortunes in the civic polls relying on the impact of Nitish Kumar’s policies in Bihar, especially prohibition. The Nitish Kumar-led party had recently released the first list of 27 candidates for the polls, majority of which have been alloted to women and youth.
The second list is expected to be released by it today. The JD(U) is also seeking to reach out to the Sikh community based on the goodwill earned from the community for organising ‘Prakash Parv’ — Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th anniversary in Patna in January. Areas like Burari, Jahangirpuri, Uttam Nagar in north Delhi, Sangam Vihar, Okhla in south Delhi and large areas of east Delhi are populated with migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Incidentally, JD(U) had supported AAP in the 2015 Assembly elections. The same year JD(U) had cobbled ‘Grand Alliance’ with RJD and Congress for the Bihar Assembly polls, which it swept comprehensively. The BJP has been ruling the MCD since 2007. The last polls were held in 2012. The total number of electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206, which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category.