With several Congress councillors joining the Aam Aadmi Party and some from the BJP switching camps as well, the Delhi BJP leadership is facing the heat ahead of next year’s municipal corporation elections. The BJP has been ruling Delhi’s three MCDs — North, South and East — for three terms now, and anti-incumbency is weighing heavily on the party.
In the 2017 corporation polls, the BJP had swept the three municipal corporations, winning a majority in each civic body and bagging 181 of 270 wards.
The AAP came a distant second with 48 seats, while Congress won 30 seats with 21.09% of the votes.
So far, four sitting councillors in East MCD, four in South MCD, and three in North MCD have joined the AAP. Most of them are from Congress, barring one from the BSP and two from the BJP. At least ten former councillors have also joined AAP.
The latest to join AAP from the BJP is Rajkumar Ballan, who had won from the Brahmapuri ward. “This has not gone well with the party leadership,” said a BJP leader.
Ballan was associated with several wings of the party, such as the Kisan Morcha, Mayur Vihar district and North East district.
Delhi BJP media head Naveen Kumar, however, said Ballan was inactive in the organisation and was only hoping for a lucrative position. “This is not a family party like the Congress or regional parties. Today several Congress people joined the BJP, so these things happen,” he said.
For instance, Delhi Pradesh Mahila Congress general secretary Parveena Sharma joined the state BJP on Tuesday with 40 other workers, he said.
Sources said more councillors from both Congress and BJP, as well as former BJP councillors who were denied a ticket, are in touch with AAP and may switch sides as the polls approach.
Another BJP leader said the Congress still has a sizable presence in Delhi’s minority pockets, and the BJP will need over 40% vote-share to stand a chance.