Purvanchal sway: AAP reaps benefits of a Cong political doctrine 

The 35% of Purvanchalis constitute a key vote bank, the support of which can translate into government formation by any political party

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters celebrate the party's victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, at party office in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The benefits of a political doctrine that the Congress pitched early on is being reaped by the Aam Admi Party (AAP).

The doctrine, known as ‘associational politics,’ was one of ‘inclusivity’ and it envisaged more seats for the Purvanchal vote bank. (The Purvanchal people comprised those who settled in Delhi from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar).

The Congress fielded Mahabal Mishra from the Dwaraka Assembly constituency to woo the Purvanchal vote bank which is now 35 per cent of the electorate. The Purvanchalis, as they are known, was spread out in east and northeast Delhi but they hold sway in south and outer Delhi too.

In 2015, the AAP had said that it was the party which had given tickets to the most number of candidates from Purvanchal. This assembly election, political parties were seen vying to get the support of the Purvanchalis. The community got merely 2-3 seats in the 2015 elections but this time 8-10 Purvanchali candidates were fielded by the three main parties, AAP, BJP, and the Congress.

BJP fielded Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and Mohan Singh Bisht, hailing from Uttrakhand. Bisht had represented the Karawal Nagar constituency four times in the past. AAP had Durgesh Pathak and Congress relied on Arbind Singh. Related news: How BJP’s hyper-nationalism pitch ricocheted in DelhiIt seems the AAP’s strategy is working well. AAP won in Narela, Burari, Badli, Rithala, Sultanpur Majra, Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar and Sangam Vihar, all in the northeast Delhi.

In a bid to drum up support of Purvanchalis, earlier, Manoj Tiwari took a dig at Arvind Kejriwal saying they were not going to be swayed by the Delhi Chief Minister’s water and power freebies. He said 98% of Purvanchali votes would go to the BJP. “Purvanchalis will support the BJP in the Delhi elections because Kejriwal and his party have been humiliating them and their culture,” Manoj Tiwari had said in an interview.

It is the same ‘associational politics’ that prompted national parties like the BJP and the Congress to tie up with smaller regional players. For Delhi, the BJP had allied with Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). The Congress found company in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The JD(U) and LJP were given tickets from Burari, Sangam Vihar and Seemapuri and the RJD, from Burari, Kirari, Palam, and Uttam Nagar.

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