Delhi polls: Congress to highlight development, BJP price rise

October 14th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) As the Election Commission Tuesday announced Nov 29 as the date for the Delhi assembly elections, the ruling Congress said development would be its main poll plank while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it would take on the administration on price rise and terrorism.”We are ready and happy that the suspense has ended. Now we will start preparations for the elections with full confidence,” said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

“We will respond to all issues that the opposition parties raise. For 10 years we have worked for the people of Delhi, we would like to take that work forward,” Dikshit added.

Dikshit’s Congress government may face a strong anti-incumbency factor this time after ruling the capital for 10 years. But Dikshit said she feels there would be a pro- incumbency vote.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Aggarwal said he has full confidence that his party would return to power in Delhi for the third time.

“We are strong enough to defend ourselves from the attack of the BJP. By end October we will announce our candidates and our manifesto. Our main issue for the election will be development,” Aggarwal added.

As per the Election Commission’s announcement, Delhi elections will take place Nov 29 and the counting of votes will take place Dec 8.

Delhi has a total of 70 assembly seats, of which 58 are for candidates belonging to general category and 12 for those of the reserved category.

At present the Congress has 47 seats in the assembly, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 20, while one each are with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Janata Dal-Secular and one with an independent.

Ten years ago, when the Congress came to power in Delhi, one of the major issues was price rise and inflation. This time around, the Congress government would be facing the same set of issues.

Besides issues like development, water and electricity, terrorism and security are also expected to be major issues in these polls.

BJP, which is the main opposition party, stated that the party is all geared up for the elections and expects to win with two-thirds majority.

“Our party is ready and we hope we will win with two-thirds majority, similar to the way we won in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections,” said Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the BJP’s veteran leader and their chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Delhi elections.

“Now the model code of conduct will start and the Congress government will no more be able to misguide the people of the capital through advertisements worth millions, which they were publishing in newspapers,” Malhotra added.

“Our manifesto is nearly ready and we will now prepare the list of candidates who will be given the tickets. We have our charge-sheet ready against the Congress government,” Malhotra said.

Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan said: “The election manifesto would be announced in the next couple of weeks.”

Delhi BJP spokesperson Mewa Ram Arya stated that terrorism, price rise and Sheila Dikshit’s failure in providing basic facilities like water and electricity would be the major issues on which they would fight the assembly elections.

While the BJP and the Congress are planning to target each other, another party that is expected to play a key role in the Delhi elections is Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

BSP’s Delhi unit head, Brahm Singh Bidhuri, said, “We have for long been ready for elections and have already announced our candidates for 66 assembly constituencies. We hope to win around 40 seats.”

Asked about the issues his party would fight the elections on, Bidhuri said: “Both the BJP and the Congress in their manifesto had promised full statehood to Delhi but none did it. If we come to power, our first aim will be to get Delhi complete statehood.

“Price rise and sealings (on commercial establishments in residential areas) would be the other issues on which we will contest the assembly elections. As far as terrorism is concerned, it is a gift of the Congress,” Bidhuri added.

Bidhuri said the BSP’s national president Mayawati would also come to Delhi before the elections this time.

Delhi’s chief electoral officer Satbir Silas Bedi said: “We are ready for the elections. We have already published photo electoral rolls for the 24 newly delimited assembly constituencies of the capital. We will Wednesday publish the photo electoral rolls of the remaining 46 constituencies of the Delhi assembly.”

Asked about new voter cards, Bedi said: “The card upgradation process will go on. We will also issue new voter identity cards to those whose names have been included in the voter list for the first time or whose photographs have changed.”

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