They live in one of the most neglected corners of the city but this election season everyone is wooing them.
Purvanchalis -- the migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh -- have emerged as the most sought after community with every political party going all out to woo them ahead of the April 23 MCD elections.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari himself represents the community, the Aam Aadmi Party has deployed its nearly a dozen Purvanchali MLAs and JDU president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has addressed rallies. Now, the Congress has decided to deploy a battery of its leaders, including some former Union ministers, to ensure that electorally significant bunch returns to its kitty.
Purvanchalis, according to an estimate, roughly makes about 25 % of the total electoral population in the national Capital. Mainly concentrated in the unauthorised colonies and JJ clusters, they have traditionally been voting for Congress until the emergence of AAP.
The Congress has fielded 54 candidates from the community in 54 municipal wards such as Burari, Kirari, Bawana, Rithala, Matiala, Vikaspuri, Sangam Vihar, and Karawal Nagar.
Some of the Congress leaders who will woo Purvanchalis are former UPA ministers RPN Singh and Jitin Prasada (UP), Subodh Kant Sahay and Shakeel Ahmad (Bihar), Supaul MP Ranjeet Ranjan, UP Congress chief Raj Babbar, senior party MLA from UP Pramod Tiwari, former Varanasi MP Rajesh Kumar Mishra, Ashok Chaudhary (Bihar minister), and Awadesh Kumar Singh (Bihar minister).
Apart from UP and Bihar leaders, the Congress will also pitch senior leaders from Uttarakhand including former chief minister of state Harish Rawat, Kishore Upadhyay, Pardeep Tamta, Nirmal Khatri, and Indira Hridayesh.
“The elections are being monitored by a team formed by party vice president Rahul Gandhi. It issues directions for better campaigning and election management. We have also attached five leaders from outside Delhi – MLAs or former MLAs with 14 observers in Delhi appointed to supervise elections. It means we have an experienced leader for each constituency in the city,” said Ajay Sharma, who has been appointed in charge of the Delhi municipal elections campaign.
Sharma, along with Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmishta Mukherjee, is coordinating the regional leaders’ rallies.
Sharma, a Haryana Congress leader, was All India Congress Committee (AICC) coordinator and campaign in charge during Punjab assembly elections also.