By Rahul Vaishnavi
New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address over a dozen rallies in the capital ahead of assembly polls likely in February, sources in the party said, adding that the focus would be on the over six million residents of the city’s unauthorised colonies who have now got a new lease of life.
According to these sources, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident that the union cabinet’s decision to regularise all illegal settlement colonies that came up in Delhi till June 1, 2014, will pay rich dividends in poll-bound Delhi.
“He (Modi) is likely to hold around 12 to 14 rallies all over Delhi. We want him to address all the 14 districts,” said a senior leader of the BJP, which doesn’t have a chief ministerial candidate for Delhi and is instead banking on Modi’s image to get it through.
The importance of winning Delhi, where the BJP has remained out of power for 15 years and is facing the heat from the AAP, can be gauged from the fact that Modi had addressed five rallies in Delhi ahead of the previous assembly elections last December.
“The last time too we wanted him to hold a couple of more rallies but that did not happen due to some reasons. We think that might have been the reason that we fell slightly short of victory,” a senior party leader told IANS.
The BJP won 31 seats in the Delhi assembly with the support of a lone Akali legislator but fell short of the magical figure of 36 in the 70-member house.
“But hopefully, this time round, it will be an all out attack on the opposition,” the leader said.
According to the leader, the focus of the rallies will “obviously” be on the unauthorized colonies.
“They (colonies) have always been pivotal for all parties and our efforts towards their regularisation will help us,” said the leader, adding that the party was hoping to bag over 25 seats that fall under such colonies.
The previous Congress government had found 895 of the 1,639 illegal colonies eligible for regularising. However, after a Dec 29, 2014, cabinet nod, all the 1,639 colonies, along with another 300 that came up after March 2002, will be regularised.
Considered a traditional vote bank of the Congress for years, the residents of these colonies switched allegiance in last year’s assembly polls and played a key role in helping the AAP bag 28 seats.
The BJP has however set its eyes on the substantial chunk of voters from these colonies – the majority of whom are labourers and workers from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
“Although every resident knows about the decision but when Modi interacts with them personally, it will have a deeper impact on them and they will know whom to vote for,” another BJP leader told IANS.
Modi will Jan 10 formally kick off the BJP’s campaign for the Delhi assembly elections with a rally at the Ramlila Maidan that will be attended by the party’s three newest chief ministers from Haryana, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, another source in the know said that the party’s first list of candidates is likely to be announced January 18.
(Rahul Vaishnavi can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)