The buzz Arvind created is more against Congress than for him
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The BJP may have dubbed Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) the B-team of the Congress in Delhi, but on the Congress home turf near Rahul Gandhi's home, the new party's primary target is the Congress votes rather than those of the BJP.
A little over 350 voters, mostly comprising members of the Valmiki community, live in the Jhuggi Jhhopri camp right behind Rahul's home at 12 Tuglaq Lane. They are being watched closely by Sukhdev Singh, a Valmiki himself, on behalf of the AAP. And his assessment is that the votes his party gains will come from what used to be the Congress bank.
"Last time, the majority here voted for the Congress. This time no less than 60 per cent have indicated their preference for the jhaadu (the AAP's election symbol)," says Sukhdev. "Of the rest, the majority are in favour of the BJP."
He explains his role: "I am in charge of the security of the AAP's votes. I will not let anyone exert undue influence here till polling day." Sukhdev pledges to arrange for a camera to monitor this. He keeps the voter list with photographs in hand.
The camp is part of New Delhi, a constituency of 1.24 lakh voters, where incumbent chief minister Sheila Dikshit is pitted against Kejriwal and former BJP state president Vijender Gupta in the most high-profile contest in the capital.
At another Jhuggi Jhhopri camp, near Rani Laxmi Bai Nagar, some residents say they do look at the jhaadu as their second option, ahead of the BJP. "Sheila Dikshit has done good work, but some people are drifting towards the jhaadu because of rising prices," says Anita, while other women in the camp nod in agreement and while some of their children play with masks of Harsh Vardhan, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, which were distributed from a campaign van that passed by a couple of hours earlier.
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