NEW DELHI: With the two formidable contenders -- the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) -- locked in a fierce electoral battle to win the coming Delhi elections, the political atmosphere is heating up, even as biting cold sweeps the state.
While the AAP has devised more innovative ways of poll campaigning and, unlike the BJP and the Congress, already declared candidates for 45 constituencies of the total 70, the BJP is more focused on its campaign strategy.
Both the parties are eyeing the nearly 25-lakh strong Scheduled Caste vote bank in and around Delhi, and are doing their best to woo the community to their side. The parties have kicked off door-to-door campaign drive in reserved constituencies and other SC-dominated pockets and slums, to bag maximum number of the voters. The Dalit vote becomes important, as 12 of the 70 seats are reserved and could be a swing factor in the polls.
The BJP plans to start a special membership drive in 45 Dalit colonies. The drive will take place from December 21 - 30 and focus on areas like Gokul Puri (37.59 per cent SC population), Mangolpuri (34 per cent), Trilokpuri (31 per cent) and Sultan Pur Majra constituency (44.15 per cent).
To ensure that the drive is successful, the BJP has also deployed a battery of SC leaders from outside the state.
“This time, the target is to win all 12 reserved seats,” said Krishan Pal Dhillor, head of Scheduled Caste Wing, Delhi BJP. He said that in the previous elections, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had won the Dalit support, on false promises of free water and electricity, which he failed to fulfil. The community feels betrayed by the AAP and will vote for the BJP.
After its success in Haryana and Maharashtra, the BJP has deployed influential Dalit leaders from states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as constituency observers for every reserved seat.
In 2013, the AAP had won nine out of 12 reserved seats. The Dalit votes, which virtually moved en masse from the Congress to the AAP, proved to be the swing factor in the last elections.