Delhi Assembly elections: Door left ajar for allies, each wants ample space

Pradeep Kaushal, Abhinav Rajput
Delhi Assembly polls: JJP ‘identifies’ 18 potential seats

Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, which shares power with the BJP in Haryana, is learnt to have expressed an interest in fighting from 12 seats (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

The BJP withholding names of candidates for 13 constituencies could be a bid to accommodate three allies — JD(U), JJP and SAD.

“We may reach an understanding later tonight,” a senior JD(U) leader told The Indian Express. The JD(U), he said, has expressed interest in Badalpur, Sangam Vihar and Burari seats. It is learnt that the BJP is keen to keep the party on board because it would help get Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar to campaign for candidates and woo the capital’s Purvanchali voters.

Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, which shares power with the BJP in Haryana, is learnt to have expressed an interest in fighting from 12 seats — including Najafgarh, Mundka, Mahipalpur, Mehrauli, Nangloi, Badarpur, Devli and Chhatarpur. The BJP lacks influential in-house Jat leaders, and Dushyant’s backing could help the party consolidate voters from the community.

The Shiromani Akali Dal, which was allotted four seats by the BJP last time, wants two more this time. While the existing Akali quota includes Rajouri Garden, Kalkaji, Hari Nagar and Shahdara, the party is pressing for Moti Nagar and Rohtash Nagar as well. Two Akali nominees had last time contested on the BJP symbol. SAD MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that while the alliance is strong, no final decision on seats has been taken so far.

Sources said BJP’s misadventures with allies in Maharashtra and Jharkhand has prompted the party to adopt a more pragmatic approach in Delhi.

Among seats the BJP is yet to field a candidate from is the high profile New Delhi, from where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will contest. Sources said the party had reached out to senior leaders as well as a few “celebrities” to consider taking on the challenge, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

Also yet to be announced is the Krishna Nagar seat, which has been Harsh Vardhan’s bastion; Mehrauli, which had been earlier won by MP Parvesh Verma; and Burari, a Purvanchali-dominated seat that could suit MP Manoj Tiwari. This has led to speculation that the top leaders could be considered to fight the polls as well.

Another party leader said the different factions in the Delhi unit are still engaged in hectic parleys to ensure more members from their “camp” get to contest, which has led to 13 seats still being on hold.