In a move that may lighten up prospects for BJP in a close fight with AAP, an influential traders' body has extended support to the saffron party for the Delhi Assembly election. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which claims a membership of six crore merchants across 40,000 affiliates, have pledged to back BJP for the polls to be held on Saturday.
CAIT secretary general, Praveen Khandelwal, said, "Delhi traders have decided to vote and support BJP in Delhi elections. Delhi has 15 lakh traders and more than 30 lakh employees. It could be a major turnout and a game-changer for BJP."
Delhi Traders @TEAMCAIT declare support to @BJP4Delhi today in Delhi polls. Delhi has about 15 lakh traders employing nearly 30 lakh people. This support will be a game changer @narendramodi @PMOIndia @AmitShah @AmitShahOffice @JPNadda @HardeepSPuri @PiyushGoyal @nsitharaman pic.twitter.com/6zV299ON5j— Praveen Khandelwal (@praveendel) February 7, 2020
CAIT's endorsement comes at a time when campaigning for the election has stopped. The BJP has traditionally been a favourite of the trader class due to its pro-business and protectionist stance on the economy. CAIT has been successful in pressuring the BJP government and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to resist expansion plans of American e-commerce giant Amazon in India.
New Delhi will go to polls in a single-phase on February 8 and the counting of votes will take place on February 11. The BJP has fielded Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha president Sunil Yadav against Delhi CM Kejriwal from New Delhi constituency, and the Congress has pitted former NSUI Delhi president Ramesh Sabharwal against him. BJP is trying to make advances in the upcoming Assembly elections after the 2015 debacle where it won only three seats. During the 2015 elections, AAP won 67 seats out of the 70-seat Assembly.
The Delhi Assembly Election results will be declared on February 11.