The JD(U) will release tomorrow the fourth list of candidates for the high-stakes MCD elections, and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will address two rallies during campaigning for the polls next month. Party sources today confirmed that Kumar will stump for the party at public gatherings in Burari and Khanpur. The Janata Dal (United) chief is lined up to address two “big rallies” on April 9, and Kumar is expected to leverage the prohibition model during the campaign trail.
“The first rally would be at Burari in north Delhi and the next would be at Khanpur in south Delhi. The Bihar model of prohibition and good governance piloted by Nitishji as the chief minister will add weight to the campaign,” a source told PTI.
The party had yesterday released its third list, according to which 23 candidates have been given tickets to fight the civic polls.
About 40 candidates have already been fielded as per the first two lists. Women and youth hailing from the Purvanchal region dominate all the four lists. The party’s national general secretary and Delhi unit in-charge Sanjay Jha took a veiled dig at AAP, saying the people of Delhi have a great opportunity to “reassert their verdict” and throw out “merchants of propaganda and false promises”.
He asserted that the people of Delhi will support JD(U) based on what the party has done in Bihar and what it plans to do in Delhi.
Jha said the campaign has picked up pace with every candidate doing door-to-door canvassing.
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He asserted that people’s loyalty has now shifted to Nitish Kumar because of his “good governance model”, which should be a benchmark not just for Delhi but the entire country. Banking on its prohibition model, the party through Kumar is trying to reach out to the people from the Purvanchal region. All major parties including BJP, Congress and AAP are fronting their big guns in the run up to the polls.
Purvanchalis, or people hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh settled in Delhi, are considered a major vote bank by all the parties. A sizeable chunk of this community is settled in ‘jhuggi-jhopri’ and unauthorised colonies.
“The 153 sitting councillors of BJP will not be fielded but what about their report cards of last five years. The party has decided to go with fresh faces because its councillors have failed and it does not want to risk its fortunes,” Jha had earlier said.
The JD(U) also seeks to reach out to the Sikh community based on the goodwill earned for organising ‘Prakash Parv’ — Guru Gobind Singh’s 350th anniversary in Patna in January.
The Nitish Kumar-led party said it has targeted to field candidates on about 150 of the 276 seats and “prohibition impact in Bihar would give us a major shot in the arm in the MCD polls too”.
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 much-awaited polls will decide the fate of 272 councillors. While NDMC and SMDC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64 seats.
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, according to the state election commission.