With the Delhi polls on the anvil, smaller parties have started flexing muscles to make their presence felt in the national capital with the help of disgruntled leaders.
Sensing a possible division of votes between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), parties like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Janata Dal(United) have announced that they would contest the December 4 assembly polls with full vigor. The NCP, which separated from the Congress a decade ago, has already announced that it would contest all 70 assembly constituencies.
However, these parties denied that they would field ‘rebel candidates’. NCP state unit spokesperson and general secretary Sunil Atree said, "Its not about disgruntled or rebel candidates. The NCP will give tickets only to deserving candidates who believe in the ideologies of the party ideology and are popular in their constituencies."
Several Congress leaders are in touch with the NCP and are likely to join the party in coming weeks, Atree added.
These parties also eyeing a share of anti-incumbency votes. "People are fed up of the Congress and the BJP. They are looking for an alternative which we are providing. In the past 15 years of Congress misrule, city’s development has suffered a lot. The BJP has also failed to act as the main opposition," said Atree.
Delhi Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Usha Yadav said that tickets would be given to only those candidates who have worked among people. "Now, voters are smarter and they know which party is continuously with them and who is visible only during the poll season," she said. The SP is confident of winning 7-8 seats in the Delhi polls.
As the dates for the announcement of poll candidates inch closer, many in the BJP and the Congress, who have the fear of losing the race for tickets, have started negotiating with the NCP. “If someone wants to join us, they are most welcome. However, the party will consider the candidature of its own cadre before thinking about others who join the party later,” said NCP state president Kunwar Pratap Singh.
However, a BJP leader said that senior politicians and those holding offices in the party will continue to stay with the BJP.
"Many party leaders were aspiring for greater responsibilities in June when the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee witnessed a revamp, but were denied any promotions. They might quit, if not given a ticket to contest now," said a Congress leader.
According to sources in the Congress, Pramod Kumar, former councillor from Manglapuri, wants to contest from the Dwarka assembly seat. But as his chances of getting a ticket are thin, he might quit the party. Dhuli Chand Lohia, another former Congress councillor from Rajouri Garden assembly seat, may be denied a ticket.