After Chhath Puja, the Delhi BJP is set to celebrate Makar Sankranti on Sunday, in a bid to cement their Purvanchali voter base in the capital ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. As part of the celebrations, to be held outside Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari's North Avenue residence, the party has invited over 5,000 people from the Purvanchali community.
"We have also invited several cabinet ministers and party leaders from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, like Dharmendra Pradhan, Ram Kirpal Yadav, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Giriraj Singh," said Delhi BJP Purvanchal Morcha president, Manish Singh.
The event, which will be presided over by Tiwari, will have various Bihari dishes on the menu such as dahi chuda (curd and beaten rice) and tilkut. Party sources said Bhojpuri songs will be played in the background.
"The idea is to give the people of Bihar a feeling akin to being back home," Singh said, adding, "There are over 40 lakh voters in Delhi from Purvanchal and we want to reach out to them through this festival."
BJP MP from North West Delhi, Udit Raj, is also organising a programme at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts on Sunday, where people will be served litti chokha.
A senior party leader said, "Considering the might of Purvanchali voters in the city, the Delhi BJP unit wants to keep its votebank intact through the community outreach programme."
As per rough estimates, Purvanchalis constitute close to 30% of Delhi’s population but not all are registered voters. They dominate 20 Assembly seats or 80 municipal wards, making up 17-47% of the voteshare.
"In the 2013 Assembly polls, after appointing Tiwari as its president, the Delhi BJP won the municipal polls and consider Purvanchalis an important vote bank," a senior leader said.