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Small parties may spring big surprise

delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2012 01:24 IST
Atul Mathur

Delhi politics is dominated by traditional rivals Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but smaller and regional political parties are slowly but steadily starting to establish their presence in several parts of the Capital.

It thus comes as no surprise that the 2012 municipal elections will see the largest number of candidates put up by marginal parties in Delhi.

It is not just the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — the only other national party in Delhi apart from Congress and the BJP — but even the regional parties such as Samajwadi Party (SP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Panthers’ Party and unknown political fronts such as Lokmat and Joint Jan Morcha that are likely to field candidates on all 272 municipal wards.

After carefully considering the large numbers of people from neighbouring states settled in unauthorised, resettlement and slum clusters in trans-Yamuna and outer Delhi, these parties are eyeing the North Delhi and East Delhi Municipal Corporations to make their presence felt.

Buoyed with a huge win in the recently contested assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party was the first one to announce its plans to contest all seats and cash in on pro-SP mood among a large number of UPiites living in Delhi. “There are people from Uttar Pradesh living in every nook and corner of Delhi. We have been working very hard and we hope to put up a good show this time,” said Usha Yadav, SP’s Delhi president.

In 2007 elections, the Samajwadi Party had contested on 58 seats, but failed to win even one. This time, however, senior SP leaders said that Muslims seemed unhappy with the Congress and the way that their votes went in SP’s favour in Uttar Pradesh en bloc, it could happen in Delhi too.

Though it failed to seize the momentum in the 2008 assembly elections in Delhi, BSP — the only non-Congress, non-BJP party to make an impact in 2007 municipal elections — is looking to improve on its past performance. The UP elections may have affected the morale of its cadre initially, but

senior BSP leaders said they were working on Delhi’s elections with increased vigour.

The Nationalist Congress Party, which sent to councillors to the MCD in 2007, is hopeful that it will improve on its vote share and tally of seats this year. “In the last municipal elections, our candidates were second on six seats. There are several wards in east Delhi and north Delhi where we had a good presence,” Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, NCP’s Delhi president.