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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

LS polls: Battle of journalists from New Delhi

Faizan Haidar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 20, 2014
First Published: 01:25 IST(20/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(20/3/2014)

Investigative reporter Aashish Khetan, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) candidate from New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, will not be the only one seeking support from the journalist community. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too has fielded a journalist, Solomon George, editor of Inquilab newspaper, from the New Delhi seat.

The BSP will contest on all seven seats in Delhi. By fielding George, the BSP, which is mainly focusing on Dalit and Muslim voters, is also seeking the support of the Christian community.

In the 2008 Delhi elections, George had contested from Model Town. But since the population of Christians is more in New Delhi constituency, the party decided to field him from the coveted seat this time.

The Christian community has largely remained off the radar of political parties but George said that he would hold a meeting with representatives from churches and ask them to mobilise voters.

“I will definitely get the support of my community since parties are always afraid of fielding a Christian candidate. But the BSP as a party believes in equality and my target will be to reach to every single voter in the constituency,” said George.

According to BSP leaders, there’s a sizeable Christian population in the Capital and yet no political party even gives them a thought. There are nearly 8-10 lakh Christian voters in Delhi who can make a difference in the fortunes of the parties.

“I have already started campaigning in the area. Being a journalist will help and since I am born and brought up in Delhi, I know the issues here,” said George, who had started his career in 1990 and worked in the UK till 1996. After that, he returned to Delhi and launched his own paper in Urdu, English and Hindi.

Despite a low vote share in the assembly elections, the BSP feels that Dalit voters no longer trust the AAP and will vote for the BSP in the Lok Sabha elections. The BSP will increase its campaigning in areas such as Badarpur, Gokalpur, Narela, Badli, Deoli, Tughlakabad and Babarpur where they feel they can get votes.

“We have identified the areas where our target voters stay. There is no dearth of issues in Delhi. From water, to power and roads, everything is in a mess here. We will specifically target voters in outer and east Delhi,” said ML Tomar, president of the BSP’s Delhi unit.


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