For AAP, this is a do or die battle, as the civic poll results will be a referendum on its two-year old government in Delhi.
New Delhi: In the high-voltage civic elections in the national capital on Sunday, the BJP, which had won a majority last time, has a clear edge over its rivals in south and north Delhi, but is facing tough competition from the Congress in east Delhi.
While a majority of the BJP candidates are banking heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and model of governance to woo 1.32 crore voters spread across 272 wards of the city’s three municipal corporations, the Congress has been highlighting former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s developmental work during her 15-year consecutive rule.
For AAP, this is a do or die battle, as the civic poll results will be a referendum on its two-year old government in Delhi. The AAP candidates are banking on their government’s pro-people measures —electricity and water subsidies, crackdown on private schools for hiking tuition fee and opening of mohalla clinics across the city — and hoping that voters will focus on these and ignore the constant quarrels with the L-G and the Centre.
Political analysts say that if recent by-poll results in 13 municipal wards are any indication, the Capital is all set to see a triangular fight between the BJP, the Congress and the AAP. In the by-poll, the AAP had won five seats, the Congress four and BJP just three. One Independent candidate who won the by-poll later joined the Congress.
There are also about 20-odd wards where JD(U) and BSP candidates are going to give a tough fight. Both JD(U) and BSP have fielded about 100-odd candidates in the city’s three municipal bodies.
Though the BJP had won the three corporations for two consecutive terms, there was a constant fear among its leadership that anti-incumbency factor could mar its prospects in the civic elections. That’s why the party, riding high on its recent successes in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Goa, dropped all its sitting councillors and fielded fresh candidates in all the wards.
The Congress, which was unable to even open its account in the last Assembly polls, that too after ruling the city for three consecutive terms, faced a major jolt recently when its former city unit head, Arvinder Singh Lovely, also minister in Mrs Dikshit’s Cabinet, quit the party to join the saffron brigade. Congress’ city youth wing chief Amit Malik also left the Congress for the BJP.
Both claimed that they were quitting the Congress as state unit head Ajay Maken had not given tickets to deserving candidates. Veteran Congress leader A.K. Walia and former city minister Haroon Yusuf have also criticised Mr Maken for the ticket distribution.
A crucial issue in this civic election is that the geographical boundaries of almost all the wards changed after the recent delimitation drive. In the past, there used to be only four wards under each Assembly seat. Now wards have been carved out based on population size, each with 60,000 voters.
In the last civic polls, the BJP had bagged 142 seats, the Congress won 77, the BSP 15, and others 33.