Singer Daler Mehndi to make political debut; Two sitting MLAs, a former MLA, former councillor to join the party
On the eve of the Monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly, which is expected to be its last before the elections due later this year, the Congress on Monday announced a major regrouping of secular forces in the Capital. It declared that two sitting MLAs, a former MLA and a former Municipal Councillor would be soon joining the party. Apart from this, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee also announced that popular Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi would also be entering politics by aligning with the Congress.
The announcement by DPCC president J.P. Agarwal said some leaders and persons had expressed their desire to join the Congress and these have been accepted by the party. These leaders, he said, will be admitted to the Congress in the near future.
Those figuring in the list include two sitting MLAs, Ram Singh Netaji from Badarpur and Asif Mohammad Khan from Okhla. Ram Singh Netaji is a former Congress MLA who had represented the party from Badarpur earlier. In the last Assembly election, he had won on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.
Asif Mohammad Khan was an Independent councillor before he fought and won the last Assembly election from Okhla on the Rashtriya Janata Dal symbol. By bringing him into the party fold, the Congress is trying to consolidate its position not only among the minorities but also looking at improving its prospects in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Okhla is a segment of the East Delhi parliamentary constituency, which is represented by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit. Ensuring a consolidation of minority votes there in favour of the Congress would bolster his prospects in the next elections as well.
Another person of note to find a mention in the list is two-time MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, who had incidentally fought and lost the last Assembly election on a Congress ticket from Badarpur. After the loss, in which he felt some Congress leaders had worked against him, Mr. Bidhuri had quit the party. Having six councillors in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and significant presence in several Assembly segments, the senior leader from the Gujjar community said he was still awaiting some clarifications from the Congress central leadership and would take a final decision after consulting his supporters. The DPCC said former Municipal Councillor Dr. V.K. Monga would also be joining the party. But the biggest surprise was the announcement of singer Daler Mehndi donning the party cap. Through Mr. Mehndi, who used to reside in West Delhi, the Congress is expecting to make deeper inroads into the Sikh community, which had voted the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) group to power in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections after almost a decade earlier this year.