Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janta Dal (United) entered the election battle in Delhi keeping in mind its Purvanchali population, but the party has expanded the reach of its poll campaign by engaging other segments as well. From a traditional Old Delhi Muslim, to a Jat from outer Delhi village and a Punjabi from west Delhi, at least 30 of the party’s 100 candidates for the municipal election are non-Purvanchalis.
The party entered the electoral battle, counting on the 40 lakh odd Purvanchali voters spread across the city. But in wards where a local face matters, the party has fielded Jat, Gurjar, Muslim or Sikh candidates.
“JDU’s image is such that people think we only work for Purvanchalis but this is not true. Nitish Kumar had said that the party will work for those also who are not from Bihar and UP. 70% of our candidate are from UP or Bihar but rest are those who were born and brought up in Delhi. Many of our Purvanchali candidates have been living in Delhi for last two-three generations,” said Sanjay Jha, national general secretary of the party.
There are a number of assembly constituencies where the Purvanchali population is more than 30 per cent, including Dwarka, Vikaspuri, Patparganj, Uttam Nagar, RK Puram, Badli, Matiala, and Laxmi Nagar, among others. JDU had filed nomination in 111 of the 272 wards but 11 were rejected.
“I am a Jat and have been living in outer Delhi since birth. The fact that I am a local and the party is from Bihar will work for us as both the vote banks will be covered,” said Sarita Maan, JDU’s candidate from Alipur ward.
JDU is contesting in rural areas and unauthorised colonies and the party is campaigning on Bihar model and issue of liquor ban. “I am a businessman from Old Delhi and I am contesting election for the first time. In Old Delhi, illegal construction is rampant and keeping that issue in mind, I am campaigning,” said Noor Mohammed, party’s candidate from Ajmeri Gate.
Party also has many Gurjar candidates who are from Western UP but are settled in Delhi. They are contesting from wards such as Khanpur and Tughlakabad.
“I have been into social work for the past 30 years and will continue to serve people of my area after the election,” said Amarjeet Kaur, a native of Punjab, who is settled in Delhi.
Nitish Kumar had addressed two rallies in Burari and Badarpur on April 9 demanding full statehood for Delhi and also called for liquor ban. Kumar urged the migrants from UP and Bihar, who are settled in Delhi, to vote for ‘their’ party.
“Earlier Biharis used to be ashamed of revealing their native place. Now they feel proud to say that they are from Bihar. Bihari are not burden on anyone and in fact they carry burden of others,” he had said.