New Delhi: The Delhi assembly elections will be held 8 February and results declared 11 February, the Election Commission announced Monday.
While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is seeking reelection backed by its “freebies” and other populist schemes, the elections are crucial for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a series of electoral setbacks — the party has lost five elections within a span of one year.
The Congress, which led Delhi for three consecutive terms before its 2013 and 2015 routs, doesn’t have a mass leader in the national capital following the death of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit last year.
The term of the 70-member assembly ends on 22 February.
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A tripartite contest
The BJP has been out of power in the national capital since 1998, winning all of three seats in the 2015 assembly election amid an AAP landslide.
Its hopes this poll season hinge on the central government’s decision to regularise thousands of unauthorised colonies, a move the AAP has also taken credit for.
In the 2013 Delhi assembly elections, where the AAP made its debut, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 32 seats.
However, the AAP, which won 28, formed the government with outside support from eight MLAs of the Congress.
Forty-nine days later, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government’s resignation after all non-AAP MLAs, including a JD(U) legislator and an independent, opposed his bid to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly.
In 2015, following a campaign where Kejriwal apologised to the public for his shock resignation, the AAP was back in office with a stunning majority — 67 seats.
It has faced a rocky electoral run since. After its poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the AAP brought strategist Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) on board for the election campaign.
The AAP has also offered a series of sops for Delhi residents — it has made water and power virtually free for the majority of residents, and waived public bus fare for women. Another key promise is to make Delhi Metro free for women — a step it has described as being aimed at safety. However, the central government, a stakeholder in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, is yet to approve the proposal.
The party has also been highlighting key schemes at townhall meetings organised by the IPAC as part of their campaign.
On their part, BJP leaders say regularisation of colonies by the central government will get them the support of lakhs of residents, but some are concerned that highlighting Modi administration’s initiatives might not be enough.
“As far as the Lok Sabha elections are concerned, we won all the seven seats. But the assembly elections are largely fought on local issues,” said a senior BJP leader.
“The municipal bodies that are under our control have not been performing well. At the same time, many incidents, including fire tragedies, building collapses, have taken place, for which the AAP has been blaming them,” the leader added.
The elections are also crucial as they come amid the protests against the Modi government’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. The Delhi unit of the party, which is facing infighting, is relying on the so-called “Modi magic” and has already held a rally in Delhi to thank the central government for regularising the unauthorised colonies.
The Congress, however, is struggling to get its house in order in the national capital. With the demise of Dikshit last year, the party, which drew a blank in 2015, does not have a face in the national capital.
It was after much deliberation that organisation man Subhash Chopra was appointed as Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief late last year.
While the party has been holding several events and press conferences, it is struggling to make a dent against the AAP and the BJP.
(with inputs from Deeksha Bhardwaj)
Also read: Arvind Kejriwal’s start-up AAP is the political ‘Unicorn’ of the decade
This is an updated version of the report
There is no prize for guessing who will win this election for Delhi legislature. Congress hardly has chance of winning. BJP has not learnt the lessons taught by the voters across the country – that they treat State and Parliamentary elections on different bases. If BJP is going to depend on Modi, Art 370, CAA etc to win this election, it is in for a predictable unpleasant surprise.
Yes,B.J.P. has lost five state in a year but this party has managed to educate us how to live with dignity with own identity not on borrowed money and ideas.The man perhaps first in the entire history of India,who has so far been able to stand and address both the house of British Parliament for the cause of own land.
The party has dared to touch those never been disturbed by others,one nation one tax,one legislation and one objective will be the mission as should have been just after the partition. India has been utilized physically,economically,culturally even exploited socially by none other than paupers surrounded across international borders. India had transferred hefty amount of funds for rehabilitation of not only east but west Pakistan as well,India is the first country where prophet son given sheltered under a huge mosque,perhaps first mosque after mecca in the world. India has been keeping the promises of tolerance by maintaining the underutilized palace of Jinnah and monuments one of them reckoned as 7th wonder!! from exchequer without discrimination. Then to introduce the laws and regulations( on how to live and share the resources between original inhabitants as being implemented and practiced in any cultured nation across the world) in order to set own house in order, misinterpretation as per own interests, would bring nothing but help this land to locate who is real and fake….
ABP-C Voter Survey. Delhi 70. AAP 59. BJP 8. Congress 3. 2. The Congress ruled Delhi for three terms. Far from “ rebuilding “ itself in states like UP and Bihar, see how it has faded from people’s consciousness. An also ran in Maharashtra, where again it served for three consecutive terms till as recently as 2014. The simple fact is that the family has been dragging the party down. Its calculation is that sooner or later, growing anti incumbency will hand it the crown. That happened in R, M and C. More recently, in J, in coalition.
If the Congress has an ounce of common sense, it should get out of the line of fire. One hopes the good Muslims of Delhi will not waste their votes.
“good Muslims”? How interesting. By inference, the not-good Muslims are allowed to “waste their votes” (wish The Print would make laughter emojis available). Disclaimer: I personally and strongly believe all human beings are good and Muslims are no exception.
Aap ki English kamzor hai. Good Muslims is meant like the good doctor, not to split the community into good and bad. Divisiveness is not my trip in life.
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