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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

BJP starts groundwork for fresh polls in Delhi

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 20, 2014
First Published: 00:52 IST(20/7/2014) | Last Updated: 12:37 IST(20/7/2014)

The Delhi BJP appears to be preparing for fresh elections as it has decided to go all out and promote the populist budget announced by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Sources said the central leadership has asked the state unit to be ready for anything, including elections, as the party is not in favour of forming government through manipulation, since polls in other states are round the corner.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay and senior leader Vijay Sharma met MLAs, MPs and office-bearers on Saturday. While Upadhyay refused to comment on whether the party was veering towards polls, his statement that workers have been asked to highlight the budget among voters seemed to indicate as much.

“Such a progressive budget has been cleared by our government... Every day, Arvind Kejriwal makes baseless allegations. We have asked party workers to inform people about the reality,” he said.

Read: BJP looks to hardsell their 'pro-people' budget

The budget, announced Friday, proposed a power subsidy that would bring down the bills of a majority of consumers. The BJP had in the run-up to last year’s assembly polls promised a 30% cut in bills. Other budget highlights included homeless shelters, a multi-speciality hospital, 500 water ATMs and hostels for working women.

The BJP plans to take the budget to people via hoardings, posters, pamphlets and campaigns on social media. It will also hold ‘budget pe charcha’ with RWAs. Jaitley has already met the party’s seven Delhi MPs and asked them to highlight the budget in their constituencies.

To form government at this stage, the BJP —  down to 29 members (including one MLA of ally SAD) in the 70-strong assembly — will need the support of turncoat Congress MLAs. The central leadership isn’t willing to risk the damage this may cause its image. Union home minister Rajnath Singh recently said horse-trading was not an option.

For now, polls seem the most likely outcome. While the city unit lays the ‘groundwork’, all eyes are on PM Narendra Modi, who is expected to take the final call.


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