All three major political parties in Delhi have something at stake in the forthcoming bypolls in 13 wards of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The BJP is seeking to consolidate its hold on the municipal corporation in the final year of its 10-year rule, the Congress is hoping to make a comeback and AAP is confident of making inroads into what has been a BJP stronghold until now.
The bypolls will be held in seven wards of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four of the North Delhi Muncipal Corporation and two of the East Delhi Muncipal Corporation on May 15.
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In their final push, each party has fielded senior leaders to campaign in the run-up to the elections; the BJP campaigners’ list has Union minister Harsh Vardhan, MPs Ramesh Bidhuri, Manoj Tiwari, Udit Raj, Meenakshi Lekhi and Parvesh Verma, as well as Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay.
AAP, the first party to announce its candidates for the bypolls, is also using some of its most prominent leaders — Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra and senior party leader Kumar Vishwas — to reach out to voters in these wards and convince them to vote for the party.
Party spokesperson Deepak Bajpai claimed AAP is sure of securing all 13 seats since “Congress is not competition and people are fed up of BJP.”
Not to be left behind, Congress has fielded senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, former chief minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot and MP Raj Babbar, who have addressed public meetings in various wards.
The party’s Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken, in his public meetings in various wards, has spoken about “AAP’s hollow promises” and “BJP’s failures”. Pensions to the elderly, widows and the phyically challenged have not been paid for months, said Maken. “The government does not face any fund crunch when it comes to spending crores for self-publicity. But the 13 MCD wards suffered terrible neglect in the absence of elected representatives,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP, which has faced accusations of corruption in the MCD by both AAP and the Congress, has hit back by “challenging” them to give proof of the alleged irregularity.
Claiming that the party is contesting the bypoll based on its “legacy of service” in municipal corporations, a Delhi BJP spokesperson said, “We have served the people of Delhi for over nine years. If AAP and the Congress believe there is corruption in the MCDs, I challenge them to provide proof”.