|Nitish Kumar and Sabir Ali, the JD(U) state president of Delhi
New Delhi, Oct. 18: The JD(U) is set to contest all the 70 constituencies in Delhi in the upcoming Assembly elections in December, eyeing the votes of Purvanchali people — majority of whom are from Bihar.
Sources in the party said the Adhikaar Rally organised in March this year in Delhi had given the party the confidence of making an inroad among the voters in the national capital. To give the campaign a head start, JD(U) leader and chief minister Nitish Kumar would take part in at least 10-12 public meetings next month in areas having sizeable Bihari population.
According to the insiders, the separation with the BJP-led NDA was one of the major factors prompting the JD(U)’s decision to contest in all the Assembly constituencies in Delhi for the first time.
Claiming that the party was on a stronger footing to field candidates in all the constituencies compared to the last Assembly elections in 2008 when the JD(U) contested from 11 seats without making much impact, Delhi state JD(U) president Sabir Ali said the party stood bright chance in some of the seats this time.
“We have recently finished our internal survey in Delhi. We are preparing our poll strategy based on it. There are around 40 lakh Biharis in Delhi. Of them, 18 lakh are voters. Most of them live in the periphery of the city. We have identified 25 key constituencies with big Bihari population and focus our campaign on those seats. Of them, we shall try to win at least five-six seats,” Ali, a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar, added.
Lashing out at the recent pre-poll surveys predicting a hung Assembly in Delhi and a surprising performance by the Aam Admi party, Ali said they were all farce.
“It is true that the main fight is between the Congress and the BJP in Delhi. But Arvind Kejriwal’s party does not have any base anywhere. We are aware of our limitations and know that we won’t be a factor in central or south Delhi. But in areas with Bihari voters, we will be a major factor,” another state unit leader said.
The party leaders claimed that they were getting good response in public meetings organised across the state.
The party’s decision to contest all the seats is likely to hurt the BJP’s prospects. The JD(U) is specially banking on the Purvanchalis to win a few seats.
“Though we are focusing on the seats where we can win, we want to increase our vote percentage,” said Ali, adding that he was confident about giving a tough fight to the Congress and the BJP at Burari, Badli, Shahdara, Badarpur, Okhla, Sangam Vihar, Tughlaquabad and Rithala.
From Burari, the party is set to field former MLA Jitender Kalu Bhaiya. He has recently joined the JD(U) from the Congress.
Purvanchalis constitute more than 30 per cent of the population in areas like Dwarka, Vikaspuri, Patparganj, Uttam Nagar, RK Puram, Badli, Matiala and Laxmi Nagar. In Delhi municipal corporation elections last year, the JD(U) had bagged a seat.