After almost a decade, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is looking at making a comeback in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). It has fielded 17 candidates across the three new corporations.
Pitched against bigger pan-national parties — the Congress and BJP, not to mention the BSP — the CPI is focusing on both local and national issues.
Justifying the 17 candidates against 272 seats, CPI members said numbers do not matter but the party's presence can make a difference.
The CPI has fielded nine candidates for the east Delhi corporation, three for the south and five for the north. Fourteen candidates contested the 2007 MCD polls but none won.
After the death of Guru Radhakishen (representing Kabir Basti, Ghanta Ghar), the party has had no face in the MCD. The party had eight councilors till 1997. But in the 1997 polls, only one — eminent freedom fighter Guru Radha Kishan —won the seat.
“This time round, we stand a good chance in at least four wards,” said Prof Dinesh Varshney, assistant secretary of CPI's Delhi state council.
The candidates include a curious mix of Christian and Muslim candidates and from diverse professions and backgrounds. “Only those names recommended by the district units were given tickets,” Varshney said.
One of the major issues highlighted through pamphlets is the party's stand against privatisation of the water sector in Delhi. "Just see how the big parties —Congress and BJP — have taken the country to the dogs. Due to faulty policies, the rich have become richer and poor more poorer," said AK Mathur, candidate from Ayanagar (ward number 175) in south Delhi.
Vinod Chopra from Khichripur (ward number 214) in east Delhi said his priority list includes community centres, poor maintenance of roads and increasing heaps of garbage. “People have tried the Congress and BJP both. It is high time we are given a chance to serve people,” Chopra, a real estate dealer, said.