The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani wakes up to chhat puja before polls

New Delhi, Oct. 30: The BJP, slammed by its own cadre in the last Delhi elections for “ignoring” the “Poorvanchali” vote, is bending over backwards to woo migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh this time.

Proof of the change in attitude was seen this morning when deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani hosted chhat (sun) puja at his residence in the presence of the BJP's Delhi MPs and central ministers from Bihar.

This was the first time a BJP leader celebrated the event which, unlike Durga Puja and Diwali, has been confined to the jhuggi-jhopdi clusters that are home to the migrants.

Advani and his family were treated to a repast of Bihar’s folk songs and dances, performed by a troupe from the state. As he received a basket containing the traditional chhat puja offerings of grain and fruits, the deputy Prime Minister said: “Today, we have made a beginning.”

“The demographic composition of the capital has changed and our assessment is that the people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have finally outnumbered the Punjabis and (the) Vaish community. They are mainly working class people who are politically committed unlike our traditional middle-class voters. So we have to recognise this change and show we care for them,” said a Delhi MP.

Also for the first time, the BJP’s Delhi MPs were hopping from one chhat puja to another, much in the way they visited puja pandals.

Earlier, this task was left to Bihar and Jharkhand ministers like Yashwant Sinha, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Shahnawaz Hussain.

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