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Banking on party, its leaders

delhi Updated: May 02, 2009 23:53 IST
Avishek G Dastidar
Avishek G Dastidar
Hindustan Times
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Mahabal Mishra (56), a sitting MLA from Dwarka and Congress's West Delhi candidate, has changed his rhetoric keeping in mind the post he is in fray for.

So, instead of harping on local developmental issues, he is talking about national issues in his campaigns. And nuclear deal, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, need for economic stability and employment generation are the catchwords in his speeches.

This is perhaps because Mishra knows he is no national star of the Congress, so he uses — rather generously, one may say — the names and faces of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in all his campaigns, often letting them overshadow his own name and face.

A padyatra (campaign on foot) in Fateh Nagar, part of the Tilak Nagar assembly constituency (won by BJP), on Friday was no different.

“Manmohan Singhji will once again lead the country to another five years of economic growth and all-round prosperity. He is coming to our area to share his vision with us on Sunday,” he said in the presence of a largely Sikh crowd gathered next to the local Gurdwara.

“I urge you to strengthen the hands of the prime minister by giving him an absolute majority,” he said, not once mentioning his own name.

Congress workers greeted Mishra with a garland of currency notes worth Rs 51,000 and as the procession moved, they distributed pamphlets titled “Why Manmohan Singh”.

“He (Mishra) was nobody in this area until he became the Lok Sabha candidate. For us, the vote is in the name of the party and its top-most leaders,” said a block-level Congress worker.

If the prime minister’s name is likely to attract votes in Punjabi/Sikh-dominated Tilak Nagar, Janak Puri and Rajouri Garden, the names of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are his safe bet for the posh, multi-ethnic voter bank of Dwarka.

“Everybody, especially the youth, look up to Rahulji and Soniaji as the country’s leaders,” he says to voters in these areas.