Not here to win but to make our points: Smaller parties in Delhi
New Delhi, May 2: The three biggies, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), might be occupying ad space and mind space as campaigning for Delhi's Lok Sabha elections gathers pace but a host of smaller parties have also put their hats in the poll ring -- not to win maybe but just to make people aware that alternatives can exist.
While hoardings of the mainstream parties are splashed across the city, about 45 lesser-known parties such as Anjaan Aadmi Party, Aapki Apni Party, Bhartiya Insan Party and Ambedkar National Congress are also in the list of parties vying for Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats, raising issues as varied as Dalit empowerment and vegetarianism.
The similarities in some of the names are inescapable, and perhaps not just a coincidence. But there is also the Sanatan Sanskriti Manch, which is focused on making sure that justice is for all, and has fielded three candidates.
These parties are aware they might not give the bigger political outfits any competition but their representatives said their mission is to ignite a spark and inform people there are other alternatives too.
Dilip Kumar, who runs a laptop repair centre in Nehru Place and is the Sanatan Sanskriti Manch candidate from South Delhi, said everyone should be assured of justice and no one should be above the law.
"The rape cases against (self-styled godmen) Asaram Bapu and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan were investigated thoroughly and they were put behind bars but there is no discussion about the sexual harassment case against the chief justice of India. Law should treat everyone equally," he said.
Kumar said he will also address local issues. The government, he added, has built toilets but there is no water. "What is the point of building toilets when there is no water?" he asked.
The Sanatan Sanskriti Manch is also contesting the New Delhi and Chandni Chowk seats. Also from South Delhi is Navanit of the National Youth Party who believes everyone has the right to contest in a democratic set-up.
"Look at Arvind Kejriwal. He came from nowhere and brought the Congress down in Delhi. Everyone has a right to fight the elections in a democratic set-up and in today's time everyone wants their child to become doctor, engineer but becoming a politician is a no-no," the independent journalist said.
Kumar claimed he was the one who investigated the Rafale fighter jet deal for the Congress and said the party has 3,000 workers and will be doing door-to-door campaigning. The party is also contesting from the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
D Durga Prasad of the Challengers Party dreams big. He aspires to first become the chief minister of Delhi and then the prime minister and said he is contesting from two seats - Northeast Delhi and East Delhi.
Prasad, who contested the by-election from Amritsar in 2017, said he chose the Northeast Delhi as it has BJP's "prospective CM candidate Manoj Tiwari" and three-time former chief minister Sheila Dikshit of the Congress in the fray. He stays in East Delhi and that is the reason he is contesting from the seat against BJP's Gautam Gambhir, Congress' Arvinder Singh Lovely and AAP's Atishi.
"We want a complete transformation of Delhi and want to make it a full-fledged city, national capital, metropolitan city and state which will control four states -- Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan. Cities which form the NCR (National Capital Region) should be merged into Delhi," Prasad said.
Then there is the Pyramid Party Of India, which is based out of Andhra Pradesh and will be making its electoral debut in Delhi by contesting on five seats - East Delhi, West Delhi, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi and South Delhi. The party recently held a silent rally at Jantar Mantar to promote the concepts of meditation and vegetarianism.
"We have four goals -- telling people about the power of meditation, vegetarianism and enlightening people about self-knowledge and spiritual knowledge," the party's West Delhi candidate Kulwinder Singh Mehta said.
"We wanted to launch the party in north India and it was felt the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi would be the right platform," Mehta added. Quizzed about his poll prospects, the real estate agent said he has been meditating for nine years and someone has to take a step to become the change. Also in the mix is the National Road Map Party of India.
Shakeel Ahmed, national general secretary of the party, said elections are fought in the name of casteism and not development. But his party wants to change all that by ending vote bank politics and ensuring the empowerment of Dalits and economically weaker sections of society.
Lal Ji Singh, a candidate from the Akhand Rashtrawadi Party in New Delhi, said the rules of the Chief Electoral Office in Delhi for gaining permission for rallies and public meetings are quite stringent. He said the online permission portal faces technical glitches and the manual permission takes 48 hours to come by.
The agenda, he said, is to fix problems faced by cart-sellers, decreasing Metro fares and providing free accommodation for students from outside Delhi. Other parties in the fray include the Anjaan Aadmi Party, Mazdoor Kirayedar Vikas Party, Parivartan Samaj Party, Voters Party International, Sanjhi Virasat Party and Bhartiya Kisan Party.
Delhi votes on May 12 in the fifth round of the seven-phase polling. The votes will be counted on May 23.