Around a dozen union ministers and in equal number of MPs have been given the charge of campaigning for the Delhi election, apparently reflecting apprehensions about the faction-ridden state unit’s ability to take on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party .
Taking time off their busy schedules, senior ministers fleeted in and out of the Delhi BJP office on Wednesday. Apparently facing the heat of poll surveys, a flotilla of central leaders of the party has taken over to micromanage affairs in the run-up to the Delhi election on February 7.Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is familiar with every constituency of Delhi, is overseeing the party’s campaign. He is shuttling between the Delhi party office and North Block, where he is busy with budget preparations. However, unlike the other ministers, he has not been given charge of any constituency because of his preoccupation with the budget.Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman spent time in the state BJP office in between attending a cabinet meeting and other ministerial responsibilities. “For the BJP, every state election is crucial and part of the party strategy to help the state unit,” said Sitharaman when asked about the central leaders taking charge at the Delhi office.Around a dozen union ministers and in equal number of MPs have been given the charge of campaigning for the Delhi election, apparently reflecting apprehensions about the faction-ridden state unit’s ability to take on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party .Though the BJP is dismissive of poll surveys that give AAP an advantage, it is pulling out all the stops in the battle for Delhi. Ironically, it is also counting on the Congress’s performance to pave the way for it to win what will otherwise be a polarised contest with Kejriwal’s AAP. According to party sources, a three-cornered contest would help the BJP in Delhi. So while the BJP is striving for a “Congress mukt Bharat”, in Delhi it may not want the Opposition party to diminish.If the Congress, which has a committed cadre in Delhi, captured at least 12-15 per cent vote, it could be a cake walk for the BJP, sources said.The BJP is also banking on the middle class vote returning to its fold, as it did in last year’s Lok Sabha polls. In the 2013 Delhi election, it had lost a chunk of this segment to the AAP. A BJP leader said that this time there was no ripple for the AAP as in the last election. Besides, the party is banking on its chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi as a “powerful face” in what was otherwise a faceless battle, the leader said.But, at the end of the day, the outcome would depend on getting its middle class voters to the polling booths and for that the party would have to get its Delhi unit’s act together.
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