The BJP has roped in the Phogat sisters of “Dangal” fame, Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan, and several other achievers from different fields to shore up its fortunes in the high-stakes MCD elections next month. Sources said on Friday the party’s campaign for the polls due on April 22 will be a star-studded one and talks are also on with cricketer Shikhar Dhawan for canvassing. “We are going all-out in the MCD polls and have set a very high target for our party. Our triumphs in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have given fresh impetus to our workers and volunteers and to add to that strength we are bringing in big faces as well,” a source said.
The BJP is betting big on the MCD polls and party chief Amit Shah, General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal and Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu are already slated to address a convention of polling booth in-charges at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday. “We want our biggest leaders and most famous faces to address the public. We also hope PM Modiji will address the crowd at least once. We are going to write to him requesting for his presence, but nonetheless he is our guiding force,” BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari told reporters.
Wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat were recently appointed brand ambassadors by South Delhi Municipal Corporation to promote ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign in south Delhi. “With Shikhar Dhawan, we have almost reached an agreement,” the source added.
Poorvanchali community members constitute a big chunk of voters in Delhi and therefore the party will also front Ravi Kishan in its campaigns, to woo people hailing from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. “There are many personalities who have made a mark for themselves and risen from humble beginnings to great heights. We want such people, who can share their struggle stories to inspire the common man during the campaigns. “Besides, sports and entertainment, achievers from other fields would also be seen during the campaigns,” the BJP chief said.
Asked what was the target the party had set for itself in the high-octane MCD polls, he said, “All 272”. “We are not competing with Congress or AAP, but with ourself. And we don’t want to keep a humble target anymore, after elections in UP and other states.”
The erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated into North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations in 2012. While NDMC and SDMC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64. The BJP has decided to field only new faces in the polls, triggering resentment in a section of sitting councillors, especially senior leaders, who feel, the candidates should be a mix of “experienced hands and fresh blood”.