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Delhi polls: 'Slow, steady' Left parties hope to leave a mark

November 23, 2013 12:49 IST

The battle among the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Admi Party in the December 4 assembly elections might be hogging limelight but there are other players too trying to make their presence felt in the Delhi's political landscape.

Three Left parties Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Forward Block have decided to jointly fight the polls in 19 constituencies while CPI-Marxist Leninist has fielded candidates in four seats.

The CPI has fielded candidates in 10 seats while CPI-M and Forward Block are contesting in three and two constituencies respectively.

The Samajwadi Party has put up candidates in 27 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party in 69 seats and Nationalist Congress Party is fighting the polls in nine seats.

The Left parties said they are going by the 'slow and steady wins the race' mantra while focusing on issues which they say have been ignored to an extent by other parties.

"We don't have poll manifestos like Congress or BJP which are full of unrealistic claims. We are focusing on very basic issues," says Vijender Sharma, Delhi state secretariat member of the CPI-M.

The party is contesting from Karawal Nagar, Shahdra and Dwarka. It did not contest in the 2008 assembly polls.

The issues that the CPI-M is raising include food security, rights of working class and implementation of minimum wages.

"Parties are not formed in a day, they are evolved over a period of time. We have been campaigning for three years. If we win in the constituencies we are contesting, we will get some representation in the assembly which will give us opportunity to raise our voice," he says.

The constituencies in which CPI fielded candidates include Narela, Timarpur, Mangolpuri, Palam, Chhatarpur, Trilokpuri, Patparganj, Seemapuri and Babarpur. In 2008 assembly polls, the party had fielded candidates in six constituencies.

Dinesh Varshney, CPI's Delhi state council assistant secretary, said his party is focussing on high power tariff, scarcity of water and other key issues.

He said CPI will also raise the issue of inflated electricity bills and government's "failure" to put in place a transparent "billing mechanism".

"We have also observed that power regulator DERC had shown some consumers on the defaulters list for non-payment of the bills, where as the consumers had the receipts of their bill payment. How is that possible?" said Varshney.

He also claimed that both the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party are making promises of either cutting water tariff or supplying it free but most of those promises were "unrealistic".

The CPI-ML, which contested on a single seat in 2008, has fielded candidates on 4 seats this time from Narela, Wazirpur, Kondli and Patparganj.

According to Kavita Krishnan, Member, Communist Party of India-ML, the Election Commission's guidelines are not helping the small parties.

"We are a small party. We cannot get lakhs of pamphlets printed in one go and the printing press people refuse to print 5,000 copies. There is so much rigidity. We are facing difficulty in campaigning here," she says.

Sharing similar views, Vijender says, "As per Election Commission's guidelines, we are not allowed to wear our logos on our Tshirts, we can't paint on any walls accept few designated places. We don't have as much money as Congress and BJP to give glorious advertisements on radio channels. How are we supposed to campaign?."

Congress is fighting polls in all the 70 constituencies while BJP has fielded candidates in 66 seats, leaving four to its ally Shiromoni Akali Dal.

The voting is scheduled for December 4 while counting will take place on December 8.

A total of 1.15 crore voters in the national capital are expected to exercise their franchise to elect the 70-member assembly, which has 12 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes.

Image: Reuters

 

Gunjan Sharma in New Delhi
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