Captain Amarinder Singh will be deployed to take on the AAP in its home base in Delhi, after he defeated the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in Punjab, Congress leaders said on Saturday.
In a sign of the importance national parties are placing on the Delhi municipal elections, the BJP is also deploying high-profile names, including three central ministers, to supervise the party’s campaign.
The Congress will hold a civic reception for the Punjab chief minister in Delhi. Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu could also canvass along with Delhi party chief Ajay Maken.
“We are planning to rope in Captain Amarinder Singh since there is a substantial Punjabi population in Delhi,” Congress leader incharge of Delhi, PC Chacko, told HT.
Singh’s close aide Raveen Thukral said Singh could be a part of the Delhi campaign but it had not been finalised yet. The move assumes significance with the AAP participating in the civic polls on all 272 wards with full strength for the first time. The Congress’s successful show against the AAP in Punjab is the primary reason behind the move to deploy Singh.
“Singh is the one who caused the humiliating defeat of the AAP. The planned civic reception is to send this message to the voters of Delhi,” a Congress leader said.
Aman Panwar, incharge (legal affairs), Delhi Congress, said the decision on the reception was taken during Singh’s swearing-in ceremony on March 16, which Maken attended.
“Maken campaigned in Punjab, therefore it is expected that both Singh and Sidhu will come to Delhi,”said another Congress leader. Panwar added the Punjab poll result infused a new excitement among party workers in Delhi, which could be gauged from the fact that the Congress got nearly 1,100 more applications seeking tickets for the municipal elections after March 11, when the assembly poll results were announced.
The BJP has a star-studded line-up ready, too. The party appointed on Friday a team of four senior leaders, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Nirmala Sitharaman, Jitendra Singh, and Sanjeev Balyan, to supervise the municipal elections.
Commenting on the appointments, Sahasrabuddhe said all elections were important for the party and it took them seriously.
BJP’s Ramlila Maidan convention for workers, to be held on March 25, will also be addressed by the party president Amit Shah and Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who will give tips to them for better booth level election management.
With the booth workers meeting, the BJP was to formally kick start the campaign for civic polls in the national capital. More than 65,000 party workers, who have been named ‘panchparmeshwar’, were invited to participate.
(With inputs from Aurangzeb Naqshbandi & Sukhdeep Kaur)