Banking on the 40 lakh strong migrant vote bank in the National Capital, Janta Dal (United) is ready to make forays into Delhi politics, one step at a time. Nitish Kumar's JDU has decided to make its presence felt in Delhi, starting from MCD elections.
"Delhi's Purvanchalis want us to come here," Sanjay Jha, JDU Delhi in-charge told News Nation Digital. According to Jha, Delhi needs Bihar's Nitish model for development. "People see only Lutyen's Delhi, they don't see Delhi which lives in JJ colonies and unauthorised colonies."
These areas of the Union Territory are mostly inhabited by migrant population hailing from Purvanchal regions of UP and Bihar.
In an interview with News Nation Digital, a close aide of Nitish Kumar, Jha also revealed that, for JDU, a strong performance in MCD elections would mean a stepping stone for upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections in 2019. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q: Why has the party decided to contest MCD elections in Delhi? Idea? Goal?
A: When Nitish Kumar took over as party president we decided to expand our reach. In Delhi, Purvanchalis wanted us to come here. With that in mind, we relaunched our party in National Capital on Dec 3.
Q: On how many seats the party is contesting polls? All 272 or just some selective
A: We are fighting elections on roughly 100 seats, basically, the seats which have the majority of people from Purvanchal - UP, Bihar and migrant community or poors like in areas such as Sangam Vihar, Burari and Kirari.
What we have seen is ironical. Delhi needs more governance than Bihar. Bihar has seen much much better things. People see only Lutens Delhi, they have not seen the other Delhi, which lives in JJ colonies, unauthorised colonies and living conditions there.
Here in Delhi people voted big time for Aam Adami Party, their major support comes from Purvanchal but they have done nothing... I think AAP has been a big let down.
Q: Why do you think the Delhi voters will vote for JDU
A: BJP has been in Delhi MCD for past 10 years. If you want to see the ground reality of PM Swachhta Abhiyan you should go and see what MCD counsellors have done.
Nitish Kumar has really changed the face of Bihar. He has changed the perception of the state. People of Delhi need Nitish Model. With these elections we hope bring 'Nitish Model' to Delhi. If Bihar can be changed, why Delhi's neglected area can't be changed?
Q: What advantage does JDU have over AP, BJP or Congress with Delhi voters?
A: Number one, majority voters are Purvanchilis. Earlier they had to sit outside political offices to be heard but now their own people are fighting elections.
Secondly, people from Purvanchali community have voted AAP and BJP in the past but to vain. They continue to live in 30-40 sq ft houses in unauthorised colonies. They can't take a loan on those houses. These governments have done nothing for them.
The migrant community has trust for Nitish Kumar. They know that JDU may be a regional party but its leader Nitish Kumar has national prospects. So they know if he promises something he delivers.
Q: What are the disadvantages for JDU?
A: We don't have resources as compared to BJP or AAP. Plus we are new party here but with these elections, we will make our presence felt
Q: But, auto drivers have already extended their support to JDU?
A: On auto wallahs: Auto drivers were cheated by AAP. They were the one who promoted AAP in Delhi free of cost. But the party did nothing for them.
Now they are saying that our own leader has come 'Nitish ji is the only one who can understand our problems, if he comes here he can help us'.
AAP has done nothing for auto wallahs, rehri-patri wallahs, poor people living in unauthorised colonies. Now they are seeing that Nitish Kumar has come, 'my own party leader has come'
Q: JDU has made forays in Delhi with MCD elections, is this first step towards other Delhi offices like CM or the ultimate post - PM?
A: MCD elections are the first step towards Delhi assembly elections and then Lok Sabha elections. We will definitely contest from here. There are seven seats in Delhi, three seats in Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad with a huge presence of migrants. JDU definitely has a presence in these areas.
These elections are kind of stepping stone for us for Lok Sabha polls
Q: Is JDU fighting MCD polls with RJD, the alliance partner in Bihar?
A: JDU not fighting elections along with RJD. We have an alliance in Bihar not in Delhi.
Q: What's your take on BJP's huge victory in UP, and the selection of Yogi Adityanath as CM?
A: Congress has not tried to assimilate the alliance. It would have been different result had they tried, particularly in Puravanchal region.
No doubt it is a huge victory. They also have an advantage in MCD elections because of the Euphoria created by the UP results but they also have a great challenge they have to perform as well.
Anti-incumbency factor will play a huge role in Delhi MCD elections. Councillors are so corrupt, the kind of money they make is unimaginable for even Members of Parliament. BJP is there in all three corporations, which makes them accountable to all queries. Only changing candidates will not give them a clean chit.
Q: How do you see PM Modi's three years in office in Centre?
A: Prime Minister Modi promised a lot, but delivery is yet to be seen. During Bihar elections, he promised crores of rupees, but I don't think the state has seen a penny of it so far.
Q: Some media reports do speculate that Nitish Kumar may go with BJP in the coming days. What is the truth? Is everything fine in the ruling alliance in Bihar?
A: Nitish Kumar cannot compromise when it comes rule of law and governance. So I think the alliance is working fine, so I don't think there is any question of going with BJP.
The last MCD polls were held in 2012. The much-awaited polls will decide the fate of 272 councillors. While NDMC and SMDC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64 seats.
The total number of the electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206, which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category, according to the state election commission. Nitish Kumar is scheduled to hold two public rallies for JDU candidates in MCD polls on April 9.