Birds of a feather are not flocking together in the run up to the Delhi assembly elections.
A number of disgruntled leaders from various political outfits have switched allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the past few days, boosting the party’s morale and increasing its chances of claiming a majority in the upcoming polls.
After assembly speaker MS Dhir, it was the turn of Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) founder-member Ashwini Upadhyay (along with other founding members of the party) to join ranks with the BJP on Tuesday. A number of party sources also stated that another founder-member of AAP, Shazia Ilmi, and Delhi Assembly’s lone independent MLA, Rambir Shokeen, are also planning to join the BJP.
The party on Tuesday also welcomed back Harsharan Singh Balli, who had quit the party and joined Congress in a huff last year after being denied a ticket. Balli’s switch to the BJP will greatly bolster its Sikh vote bank, sources said.
They also told HT that BJP’s national president Amit Shah had recently given his nod to the party’s Delhi unit to induct as many leaders as possible from other parties “without any conditions”. The strategy had worked for the party in the last Lok Sabha elections and the BJP for now wants to stick to it.
“The idea is to demoralise the AAP and the Congress by getting their leaders to join the BJP at regular intervals. The process has started and will only intensify in the coming days,” said a senior BJP leader.
“We had lost out on important seats such as Tilak Nagar and Hari Nagar after Balliji’s exit. It had also impacted areas such as Greater Kailash which have a sizeable number of Sikh and Punjabi voters. Now that he is back in the party, along with MS Dhir, we will look to win back these seats,” said a senior BJP leader.
Balli, who joined the party amid a lot of fan fare on Tuesday, promised to campaign extensively for whosoever the BJP fielded from Hari Nagar constituency. “I have learnt my lesson. I have joined the party without any conditions and will do my best. I am impressed by the development model of Modiji. The BJP will surely form the government in Delhi this time,” Balli claimed.
Sources further claimed that after the entry of Ashwini Upadhyay, more disgruntled AAP leaders may join the BJP in the coming days.