Delhi, the hotbed of politics, is flaunting celebrity candidates during the sixth phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Both BJP and Congress are cashing in on the popularity of their candidates who may have no connection whatsoever with real politic or even their voters. Both parties are also positioning old horses to get real numbers.
BJP is fielding celebrity candidates like former ace cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Punjabi Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans and popular Bhojpuri Singer-turned politician Manoj Tiwari.
Congress, on the other hand, is fielding Olympic medallist and Padma Shri Vijender Singh from South Delhi constituency.
Singh would face Aam Aadmi Party's Raghav Chadha, and sitting BJP parliamentarian Ramesh Bidhuri.
“In more than 20 years of my career in boxing, I have always made my country proud in the ring. Now it’s time to do something for my countrymen and serve them. I would like to accept this opportunity and thank Congress, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,” Singh had earlier tweeted.
While Gambhir has been pitted against Congress old hat Arvinder Singh Lovely and AAP's Atishi Marlena in East Delhi, Manoj Tiwari would face Congress veteran and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and AAP’s Dilip Pandey in North East constituency and Hans Raj Hans would face another Congress veteran Rajesh Lilothia and AAP's Gugan Singh Ranga, both former MLAs in North West Delhi.
For this Sufi singer from Jalandar, who has had his political stints in Akali Dal and Congress, the battle is tough against seasoned local politicians. Moreover, as they say, the North West constituency may not have much glamour to offer but has the maximum number of voters – 23.7 lakh —in national capital.
The North East constituency, where Manoj Tiwari is contesting from, is known to be a combination of Poorvanchalis, Muslims and migrants, which may play a decisive role based on caste politics.
A similar experiment by BJP in 2014 in fielding celebs had paid off, feel political analysts. Singers Manoj Tiwari and Babul Supriyo, actors Paresh Rawal and Kirron Kher, Olympic shooting medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, columnist Pratap Simha, former Army chief VK Singh, former union home secretary RK Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh and former bureaucrat Udit Raj were prominent among those fielded by the BJP. All of them had won.
Apart from celebrities, major political heavyweights including former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and five sitting BJP MPs will fight for a seat. AAP has fielded senior party leaders like Atishi and Raghav Chadha, known for their work in education and finance, from East Delhi and South Delhi.
Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats with an electorate of approximately 1.37 million voters. With just two phases left in the 2019 general elections, all eyes are on the national capital, which goes to polls on Sunday.