The Congress released the first part of its manifesto - there are three parts - for Delhi today targeting the urban poor who live in massive slums and unauthorised colonies across the capital and who gave Mr Kejriwal 60 per cent of his vote share two years ago.
"The upcoming Delhi civic body polls will be a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP. There is no third party in the contest," said Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken as he released the manifesto, calling Delhi's urban poor the most neglected segment in the capital. The Congress has promised that if it wins the three municipal corporations in Delhi, it will set aside 2,000 crores for the re-settlement of those who live in unauthorised colonies.
The party has also promised that Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD sanitation employees, currently on contract, will be given permanent jobs. And those 5 lakh street vendors will be given licences. The party also plans a scheme to bring drop-outs from MCD-run schools back into the education system.
In an important promise, the Congress has taken up complete elimination of land fill sites for better sanitation. The next two tranches of promises will focus on infrastructure and the youth.
Elections to the MCD, now split into three - MCD North, MCD South and MCD East - will be held on Sunday, April 23, and votes will be counted on Wednesday, April 26. Delhi's civic body has been dominated by the BJP for 10 years now. In 2012, the first election after the MCD was divided into three, the BJP won a majority in the north and east and was the largest party in MCD south. The Congress had trailed in second place in all three. The Aam Aadmi Party did not contest that election - it was launched later that year.
While the BJP has pulled out all stops to retain control with a keenly devised strategy and high powered campaign, Arvind Kejriwal's AAP is seen as fighting to retain political relevance after being trounced in the Punjab and Goa elections this year.
The Congress' recent record in Delhi hasn't been great. In the assembly elections two years ago, AAP swept it aside winning 67 of 70 seats. The BJP won the other three. In the national election in 2014, the BJP took all seven Delhi seats in a Modi wave.
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