After a tough campaign, capital to vote today
AAP obtained a record mandate in the 2015 assembly polls, when it won 67 of 70 seats. Attracting the electorate with its development agenda and promising to provide an honest government that takes care of the poor, AAP this time faces a well-coordinated and intense challenge from BJP. Will your promise to continue giving electricity, water, health, education and free transportation keep rivals at bay? The party has not won a single election anywhere in India since that resounding victory in 2015, which limits its dream of expanding in other parts of the country.
In 2015, AAP obtained more than 54.3% of votes, while BJP obtained 32.2% and Congress 9.7%. On the other hand, BJP did not win a single assembly election in Delhi after 1993 and its resolution to form a government this time was evident in its high decibel campaign that highlighted what it sees as a threat to national security. BJP invoked important decisions taken by its government – amending the citizenship law, repealing articles 370 and 35A, and surgical strikes in Pakistan – to seek votes, in addition to highlighting what it claims to be the AAP failure to guarantee supply of clean water, installation of CCTV cameras and give free wifi in Delhi. Both parties conducted a high impact campaign with several public meetings and roadshows daily.
The Prime Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, assumed responsibility for the AAP campaign with Deputy Rajya Sabha Sanjay Singh and Deputy Punjab Bhagwant Mann speaking. Kejriwal held more than a dozen town halls, bringing his government’s report card to the public.
The saffron party campaign in Delhi, which involved about 200 parliamentarians, 11 main ministers and more than 50 central ministers, was personally administered by the Union Interior Minister Amit Shah.
BJP officials held about 350 events in 70 constituencies every day and Amit Shah himself addressed four or five public meetings daily. This time BJP did not declare his candidate for prime minister and the elections are fought in the image of Prime Minister Modi and under the supervision of Shah.
Congress is struggling to remain relevant in the politics of Delhi. Eliminated in the 2015 elections when it obtained less than 10% of votes and did not win a single seat, the great old party has been desperately trying to recover its traditional bank of votes from slums, resettlement colonies, Dalits and minorities. Although his campaign lacked the incisivity of the two rival parties, the last week of elections witnessed the main Congress officials: Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Manmohan Singh and the chief ministers of four states, among others, calling to recover the ruling party. Delhi for 15 years and built “world class” infrastructure.
The party openly extended its support to anti-CAA protesters in Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islam with an eye on Muslim voters. In addition to free electricity and water for the poor, pucca houses for slum dwellers, more services and property rights for residents of unauthorized colonies, drinking water in each home, security for women, jobs or allowances for the unemployed, Yamuna cleaner, more buses and new schools and colleges are among the main promises made by the three parties.
The three parties highlighted the Poorvanchalis, which represent almost a quarter of the total votes, to receive special attention. All of them have given tickets to several candidates in the region. They have also been talking about the regularization of 1731 unauthorized colonies and granting property rights to their residents to influence the 25 Lakh voters who live there. Several seats, including the coveted New Delhi, will launch interesting contests. New Delhi has the distinction of giving a CM since 1998 when Sheila Dikshit fought her first election here.
In New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal faces two rookies: Sunil Yadav of BJP and Romesh Sabbarwal of Congress. In Patparganj, MP Manish Sisodia also faces two rookies: Ravi Negi of BJP and Laxman Rawat of Congress. In Shakur Basti, the veteran leader of BJP and former MLA SC Vats faces the PWD minister, Satyendar Jain, while in Ballimaran, there is great competition between the heavyweight of Congress and former minister Haroon Yusuf and the minister of AAP Imran Hussain civil food and supplies. In Chandni Chowk, it is a new test among those who faced each other in the last elections, but this time they have changed their matches.
Former AAP MLA, Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk) and Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka) are competing in tickets for Congress this time, while former Congress MLA, Parlad Singh Sawhney, is the AAP candidate in Chandni Chowk .