Congress, AAP, BJP brace for Assembly battle in Delhi

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) With Delhi heading for Assembly elections, the three main contenders — Congress, the ruling AAP and a confident BJP — are strengthening their internal structures in the city for a battle each is determined to win.

While the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are focusing on re-structuring the block and district level units, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going ahead with a major membership drive to bring more people under its fold.

Each party has a mission.

The AAP, which created history by winning 67 of the 70 seats in 2015, wants to retain power but knows it is not an easy road. The BJP, which won just three Assembly seats, aspires to capture the House. The Congress wants to bounce back in a city it ruled for 15 long years until an AAP hurricane destroyed it.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari told IANS that his party was expecting to enlist over 25 lakh members from Delhi alone.

The BJP bagged all the seven Lok Sabha seats with the highest vote share: 56.58 per cent.

“The aim is to convert this vote share into members. Our party’s preparations are going on in full swing. JJ clusters in the city will be our focus,” BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel told IANS.

The JJ clusters or populated hutments spread across the city used to traditionally vote for the Congress before switching over to AAP five years ago. With BJP poaching in, the Congress and AAP will be worried.

The Congress, which got the second highest vote share in Delhi in the Lok Sabha polls, will also take new members but it is keeping its focus on forming Block Congress committees

“The Block Congress will be reorganised and the party will also form the state executive, which did not exist for the past five years,” Congress leader Jitender Kochar told IANS.

Last month, Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit dissolved all 280 block committees after the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

Kochar added that District Presidents in Delhi should be re-elected. The Congress has also appointed 280 block observers.

The only drawback for the Congress is the sudden resignation of its President Rahul Gandhi, leading to a leadership vacuum.

Delhi’s ruling AAP too is restructuring the party. It has announced a new set of district in-charges for all 14 districts.

“The restructuring of the party organisation is aimed at kick-starting the preparations for the Assembly election,” AAP leader Gopal Rai said.

The AAP saw its vote share plunge from a whopping 54.34 in 2015 to just 18 per cent in the Lok Sabha elections. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it had managed 32.90 per cent of total votes although it did not win a single seat.

Rai, Convenor of the Delhi unit, said the party was appointing fresh faces to lead all 14 districts.

“They have been tasked with strengthening the grassroots-level organisation of the party. The next step will be to restructure the booth level organisation,” he added.

The national capital is likely to go for elections later this year or in early 2020.

(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at nivedita.singh@ians.in)

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