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Delhi polls: BJP bets big on municipal leaders; fields four ex-mayors, host of former councillors

Delhi polls: BJP bets big on municipal leaders; fields four ex-mayors, host of former councillors

Nearly 20 municipal leaders, including four former mayors, as many ex-deputy mayors and a host of sitting and former councillors figure in the first list of candidates announced by the BJP on Friday for the Delhi Assembly polls. The BJP, which swept the 2017 civic polls in Delhi, seems to be betting big on its municipal leaders to shore up the party's fortune for the February 8 polls.

Master Azad Singh, Ravindra Gupta and Yogender Chandolia, are all fomet mayors of North Delhi; and Khushi Ram, former mayor of South Delhi, whose names figured in the list. The municipal leaders, serving and former councillors of the three BJP-led civic bodies -- North, South and East Delhi municipal corporations (NDMC, SDMC and EDMC) -- number about 20.

Singh will fight from Mundka, Gupta from Matia Mahal, Chandolia from Karol Bagh while Ram has been fielded from Ambedkar Nagar. The list has 11 candidates from scheduled castes for reserved seats, four women nominations and seven from Poorvanchal region -- eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Most of the candidates announced on Friday were also nominated by the BJP in 2013 and 2015 assembly polls. The polls to the 70-member Delhi Assembly will be held on February 8 and results will be declared on February 11.

The former deputy mayors who will contest the high-stakes polls are -- Vijay Bhagat (North Delhi) Badli; Kailash Sankla (South Delhi) from Madipur; Kiran Vaid (East Delhi) from Trilokpuri; and Rekha Gupta (North Delhi) Shalimar Bagh, according to the list. The sitting councillors include Jai Prakash, standing committee chairman of the NDMC; Shikha Rai, councillor and former Leader of House of the SDMC; Manish Chaudhary of the NDMC; former standing committee chairman of SDMC Ashish Sood; Shailandra Monty and Krishna Gahlot of SDMC; and former councillors include Mahendra Nagpal, Suman Gupta, Lata Sodhi and Anil Sharma.

Ravinder Gupta, who is currently Delhi BJP's general secretary, was elected mayor of North Delhi in 2015, and feels the party is "banking on the experience of municipal leaders". "Perhaps never before in the Delhi polls so many corporation-level leaders have been fielded, and civic leaders will leverage that experience to benefit the prospects of the party and eventually the people if they get elected," he told PTI.

Hitting out at the AAP, which has announced all its 70 candidates, Gupta claimed, "The BJP is about 'sahi irada' (right determination to do good) but the AAP is about 'jhootha vada' (false promises)". All the three municipal corporations -- North, South and East -- in Delhi are controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"We have the BJP government at the Centre and the party leading the three corporations. And once we get a BJP-led government in Delhi too, it would a triple-engine-led growth. We would also be able to better implement the Centre's policies in Delhi," Gupta claimed. The ruling BJP had not fielded its sitting councillors in the MCD elections in 2017 and brought in fresh faces, including four Muslim candidates.

There are a total of 272 wards in the three municipal corporations in the city, including 104 each in South and North Delhi municipal corporations, and 64 in the East Delhi municipal corporation. In the 2017 civic polls, the BJP had scored a hattrick, comfortably retaining control of the three municipal corporations, dealing a severe blow to the Aam Aadmi Party and dashing the Congress' hope of a revival.

Winning 181 out of 270 wards where elections were held, the saffron party had added muscle to its decade-long domination of the corporations effortlessly bucking anti-incumbency by riding on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP's corporation-wise tally was: SDMC - 70, NDMC - 64 and EDMC - 47 as against AAP's tally of 16, 21 and 11, respectively. The Congress had finished last with 12, 15 and 3 wards.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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