Small parties trying their luck in poll battleMay 3rd, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS
By Mayank Aggarwal
New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Some are operating from a single room while others are sweating it out from their homes-turned-offices. Leaders of hundreds of small political parties are hoping to make a mark in these Lok Sabha polls.
According to the records of the Election Commission, there are seven national parties, 43 state level parties and 1,000 small political parties across India. Of the 1,000 parties, nearly 200 are operating from the capital.
Desh Bhakt Party was formed nearly 19 years ago. It operates out of a small room in the busy Karol Bagh area of central Delhi.
“Our party was formed in 1990 to protest against multinational companies coming into the country and against communalism,” 67-year-old S.K. Ralli, President of Desh Bhakt Party and educationist, told IANS.
Ralli claimed that at present the party has around 6,000 members across the country. Though the registered address for the party office is his Preet Vihar residence, all the party meetings take place at the Karol Bagh office.
“Our agenda and programmes were hijacked by other parties. Now our main aim is to spread awareness among people. Two candidates of our party are fighting from the Chandni Chowk and New Delhi constituencies” in the May 7 Lok Sabha polls in the capital.
Ralli claimed that in recent elections, the number of votes secured by his party candidates were highest after the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Another such party is Rashtriya Sawarn Shakti Party (RSSP) that was started six months ago. The party has put up 12 candidates in five states - Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.
RSSP’s national president Sanjay Sharma claimed that the party is growing very fast and has 12,000 members now. Besides the regional offices, the party’s main office is Sharma’s residence in the Gagan Vihar area of east Delhi.
“Though no one starts a fight thinking he can’t win, I know that the party is in an infant stage only. We don’t expect any miracle that we will win elections this time. But one thing for sure is that we’ll seriously make a dent in the next elections,” said 38-year-old Sharma, who is involved in the construction business.
RSSP’s main issue is to fight against reservation. It calls for equal opportunity for all. “We are against the discriminatory reservation system and that is why we are aiming to unite people of upper castes,” said Sharma.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) has a two-room national office in the Shakarpur area of east Delhi.
The 40-year-old party is fighting in 82 constituencies across the country and claims more than 100,000 members. “In Delhi we are fighting in Northwest Delhi where we think we have a good chance,” said party worker Kavita Krishnan.
Not all small parties think they are big enough to fight Lok Sabha elections. Some are not fighting due to lack of funds.
One such party is Bharat Vishal Party (BVP) that was formed four years ago by a group of politically active residents of Munirka in south Delhi.
“We know that we can’t win a election on our own but we formed a party to work for the welfare of our area. Whether it is the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party, we will support the one who will work for us,” BVP president M.C. Sharma told IANS.
The party is operating from Sharma’s home and has nearly 150 members at present. When he is not working for the party, Sharma spends time at his son’s Feng Shui shop in Munirka.
“We decided to support other parties because to run a party and attract more members we need huge funds which we don’t have. Besides this, a lot of members have stopped working after starting the party,” said 76-year-old Sharma, who is a retired agriculturist.
Few voters think highly of these small parties.
“These parties lack perspective. Instead of strenghtning the electoral system, they eat into votes of national parties,” said 21-year-old Himanshu Arora, adding that he will never vote for them.
“Some of them want to bring change but generally I suspect the reason behind their formation. I will not vote for them,” said college student Devika Menon.
(Mayank Aggarwal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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