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Parties eye Purvanchali votes in Delhi civic elections

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-04-2017 Pretika Khanna

New Delhi: All political parties are eyeing voters from Purvanchal—a region comprising Uttar Pradesh and Bihar—for the upcoming local body polls in Delhi.

From the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), they are lining up to woo the Purvanchal voter base in the national capital.

Considered to be a sizeable vote bank, these voters are people hailing from the contiguous region of eastern UP and western Bihar.

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Over the weekend, Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar addressed two rallies in Delhi where he emphasised the work done by his government in Bihar, including restrictions on the sale of alcohol, and backed the demand for statehood for Delhi.

“As I demand the special status for Bihar, I also support the demand for full statehood status to Delhi so that it has more power. You have seen the work of other political parties. You should now give a chance to JD(U) which will work for the people of Delhi. We want to do the work we are doing for the people of Bihar in Delhi as well,” Kumar said.

He said that people from Bihar play a key role in Delhi’s day-to-day functioning.

“The role of people from Bihar in Delhi is such that if they don’t work for one day, the entire city will come to a halt. The people of Bihar living in Delhi should also have a political representation,” Kumar said.

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The JD(U) is contesting elections in approximately 100 seats which have a large majority of voters from Purvanchal. Interestingly, the party will be contesting the municipal polls against the AAP whom they had supported in the 2015 assembly elections in Delhi.

AAP leaders say that the party is planning to use Delhi ministers and members of legislative assembly (MLAs) to campaign through public meetings and door-to-door campaigns. The party, which is contesting elections in all the 272 municipal seats for the first time, has around a dozen MLAs who are from Purvanchal. Two state cabinet ministers—Gopal Rai (labour) and Kapil Mishra (water)—are from Purvanchal, as is AAP Delhi unit chief Dilip Pandey.

The BJP, which has been in power in Delhi municipal corporation for the past 15 years, has appointed Manoj Tiwari, a Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician, as its Delhi unit president. Earlier this year, Bhojpuri film actor Ravi Kishan also joined the party.

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Municipal elections in the 272 seats spread across three corporations are going to poll on 23 April and results will be announced on 26 April. Currently, the BJP is in a majority in the three municipalities with 153 seats.

PTI contributed to the story.

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