Following an acrimonious fight, aggressive campaign and bitter war of words, the focus is now on tomorrow, February 11. The verdict of the Delhi elections will have a huge say on the politics of the country in the times to come. Therefore, not only the political players, but the entire nation wants to know who is going to conquer India’s national capital state.
With the Congress, virtually out of the race, the main battle is between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its potential challenger, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Going by the pre and post poll studies by different media houses, the AAP seems to be cruising to a comfortable victory. However, the late upsurge by the saffron party may disturb the poll economics. Also, in the past, more than once, such predictions have gone horribly wrong, way off the target.
However, for both the BJP and AAP, the verdict is extremely critical. For the BJP, it’s a prestige issue and victory will bring it back on winning tracks. BJP had won Delhi’s first assembly polls way back in 1993, it had 49 seats. The party lost the next three elections to the Congress under Sheila Dikshit. Though it was the single largest party with 31 seats in 2013, the AAP- which stood second in the results tally with 28 seats, in its first tryst with electoral politics-formed the government thanks to support from the Congress.
On the other hand, for the Arvind Kejriwal led AAP- the newest political outfit to have ruled Delhi, it’s all about its survival. A second term in Delhi will of course skyrocket Kejriwal’s value in the political stock market of the country.
Interestingly, despite the saffron surge across major parts of the country, Delhi has been out of the BJP’s grasp. Thus, the party would be hoping to return to power in the capital state after two decades.
In the 2014 general elections, the Modi wave had swept the entire country. Delhi voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP with the party sweeping all seven seats with substantial margins. However, seven months later, the same voters opted for Kejriwal in the assembly polls held in February, 2015. In a stunning show, out of the total 70, AAP pocketed 67 seats.
Once again, in the 2019 (April-May) general elections, the Modi magic worked again and brought more seats for the saffron party that it had secured in 2014. This time too, it bagged all the parliamentary seats in Delhi.
However, in the following months, the BJP has experienced poll reversals in two states where it was in power: Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Rupture within the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance ultimately led to the later joining hands with its opponent Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). As a result, despite being the single largest party, the BJP failed to return to power in the land of Marathas.
Kejriwal is a product of political agitation. The AAP was born after the anti corruption agitation by Anna Hazare at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. There is no denying the fact that the biggest political beneficiary of the Anna movement has been his trusted lieutenant, Kejriwal. Interestingly, for two months before polling in Delhi, another agitation-against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)- has been going on at Delhi’s at Shaheen Bagh. It’s a different tale that Kejriwal hasn’t visited the venue, however, Shaheen Bagh is likely to impact the poll outcome.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well known for his development agenda-often called the Vikash Purush- the BJP has gone all out on nationalism. On the other hand, the APP is banking on its performances in the core sectors such as education, healthcare, water, electricity. The poll outcome will show what the common voter thinks is more important to him. Delhi may be a small state, but has a huge political significance in the country.