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Battle for Delhi

Keeping voters in mind


WHO will be the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP and Congress in Delhi if they are able to get a majority? Top leaders of the BJP are in a fix. After Kiran Bedi’s candidature boomeranged in the last assembly elections, the top leadership of the saffron party is treading with caution. Manoj Tiwari has been imported from Mumbai and Eastern UP as the president of Delhi BJP to appeal to the voters of eastern UP settled in Delhi, but most of the party local heavyweights have not accepted him as their leader. Vijay Goel and Dr. Harshvardhan are two other leaders of the Delhi BJP, who are part of the old guard and have influence in North Delhi and East Delhi, respectively. Vijay Goel is a member of Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan and his term is ending in April 2020. BJP’s dilemma is whether they should have a leader from the Vaishya community (trading class) or not, as both Vijay Goel and Harsh Vardhan both are from the same community. The current Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hails from the same community and he has tactically nominated two others from the community to the Rajya Sabha with an eye to corner the Vaishya votes. Manoj Tiwari despite being a Brahmin hails from Eastern UP, but the Brahmin community in Delhi is dominated by those hailing from Haryana and Western UP. Caste equations are so deeply rooted in the Capital that the Congress has brought in a Punjabi in Subhash Chopra as the President of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee and appointed renowned cricketer and Brahmin from Bihar, Kirti Azad, as in-charge of the election campaign. As Delhi flared up due the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Kejriwal flooded the newspapers and bus stops with his messages and photos, while the BJP and Congress were caught napping. The paradox is that both the national parties don’t have a leader right now to challenge Kejriwal.

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