As the stakes are very high for the BJP and the Congress to regain grounds in the Delhi Assembly against Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), they too have listed star campaigners for the February 8 elections.
The ruling-AAP has listed 39 star campaigners, including Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai, Atishi Marlena and Raghav Chadha.
The BJP has rolled out big guns of the party to wrest Delhi from the AAP — drawing up a list of 40 star campaigners led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the high decibel Assembly elections. The BJP, which could win only three seats in the 2015 Assembly election, has lined up a battery of Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and senior state leaders to campaign over the next 20 days.
The list includes star campaigners like Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and the national president Jagat Prakash Nadda.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and the party’s poster boy Yogi Adityanath will lead the fight with former Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Arjun Munda.
Most of the campaigners for the BJP are from outside Delhi — a gap the ruling party is expected to exploit. Earlier, Kejriwal had pointed out that the BJP is yet to name a Chief Ministerial candidate. While that is the BJP’s usual procedure except in rare cases, the Chief Minister has poked fun at the party.
Meanwhile, the Congress has submitted names of 40 star campaigners to the election commission for the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra former Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha are among the star campaigners.
The decision to include Sidhu and Sinha’s name in the list of star campaigner is taken considering large number of Punjabi and Purvanchali voters in the national Capital, a senior party leader said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled States Capt Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Kamal Nath (Madhya Pradesh), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) and V Narayanasamy (Puducherry) also figured in the list.
Former Chief Ministers Harish Rawat and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, senior leaders Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad, are also among the star campaigners.
The other campaigners for the AAP in the list are Bhagwat Mann, Pankaj Kumar Gupta, Durgesh Pathak, ND Gupta, Sushil Kumar Gupta, Rajender Pal Gautam, Imran Hussain, Baljinder Kaur, Dilip Pandey, Preeti Sharma Menon, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Amantullah Khan, Satyender Jain, Dr Ajay Kumar, Kailash Gehlot, Rakhi Birla, Vishal Dadlani, Prithvi Reddy, Aman Arora, Shoaib Iqbal, Abdul Rehman, Sanjay Bhagat, Rekha Rani, and Somnath Bharti.
Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra, campaign committee chief Kirti Azad, AICC in-charge of Delhi P C Chacko and NSUI chief Neeraj Kundan, will also campaign for various candidates in the high-stakes poll battle.
Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, who has been aggressively taking on the AAP and had launched the party’s campaign in Delhi, will also canvass for various candidates for the party.
Polling will be held on February 8 for the 70-member Delhi Assembly and the results will be declared on February 11.