East Delhi Municipal Corporation deputy mayor Raj Kumar Dhillon is a resident of Kalyanpuri JJ colony; Sushila Baghdi, works committee chairperson, lives in Sultanpuri JJ colony; and former mayor Khusi Ram is a resident of Ambedkar JJ colony. The three BJP functionaries and 11 other councillors — most of whom also live in resettlement or JJ colonies — appointed to key posts in the organisation and civic bodies were felicitated by the party’s Delhi unit Monday.
BJP functionaries at the event, held at a time when AAP legislators and ministers are surrounded by controversies, made no bones about the need to make a dent in the ruling party’s base in slums and JJ colonies.
This voter base is considered a big reason why AAP stormed to power in Delhi with a sweeping victory in the 2015 Assembly elections, said a party worker.
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Keen on retaining control on the municipal corporations, and with the ‘office of profit’ controversy surrounding 21 AAP MLAs appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries raising the possibility of their disqualification, the BJP Delhi unit has worked on permutations and combinations to ensure improved performance in slums and JJ colonies.
Speaking at the event, BJP’s Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay said, “Every one of you will be asked to contribute to make JJ colonies feel part of society. Unlike (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders have to chalk out a plan to work in the slums they will adopt and start staying there at nights. Night chaupals will start soon.”
Upadhyay promised a ‘huge’ programme for workers from resettlement and JJ colonies in Talkatora soon.
“(Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal thinks these voters are his property and despite all the abuses his MLAs hurl at them, they will vote for them. This is not so. We may have opted for any councillor to be deputy mayor as this is not the turn of reservation candidates, but we went with Dhillon. This shows our vision of inclusive society,” he said.
Dhillon said, “I have been living in the slum colony since 1985. The organisation has supported me. Voters in slums know that AAP is not working in their interest.”
Pawan Khandelwal, president of BJP’s JJ cell, told the gathering that Upadhyay had told him to motivate councillors to work in JJ slums so that BJP gets the maximum seats.