Muslim, slum vote division helped BJP?

Congress only party whose share went up by 12 per cent

New Delhi: If the recent civic election results are any indication, the votes polled by the AAP and the Congress show that the two parties together have swept 63 of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi. The only Assembly seats where the combined vote share of the two parties was less than the BJP are Gandhi Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, Rohtas Nagar, Shakur Basti, Rohini, Tuglakabad and Najafgarh.

The civic poll results clearly indicate that if 10 to 15 per cent voters switch sides from the AAP to the Congress or vice versa, one of the two outfits will, on its own, be in a position to form the government. But if each of the AAP and the Congress get 25 per cent votes, then the BJP is bound to sweep the state elections scheduled to be held in 2020. In the last Assembly elections, the AAP had swept 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi.

But in the recent civic polls, the AAP could emerge winner in only seven seats — Sultanpur Majra, Seelampur, Ballimaran, Vikaspuri, Deoli, Sangam Vihar and Okhla. All these Assembly seats have a sizeable chunk of Musl-im voters, whose votes got divided between the AAP and the Congress. The Assembly seats swept by the Congress in the civic polls are Chandni Chowk, Matia Mahal, Badli, Sadar Bazar and Mehrauli.

Political pundits are of the view that former Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely, former state women’s wing chief Barkha Singh and local youth wing head Amit Malik’s exit from the party worked in favour of the BJP as voters in the Muslim community and slums got the sense that the Congress was on the downslide and in an attempt to stop the BJP from coming to power, their votes got split between the AAP and the Congress. In the end, division of the Muslim and slum voters helped the BJP to secure victory in about 40 to 50 municipal wards.

For instance, in Mr Lovely’s Gandhi Nagar Assembly seat, where the saffron party’s vote share has often been less than that of the Congress since 2008 state elections, the BJP was able to secure 50.50 per cent votes in comparison to the Congress’ vote share of 30 per cent. It was only in the 2015 Assembly polls that the Congress logged only 14.41 per cent votes in comparison to BJP’s 38.60 per cent vote share.

The civic poll outcome has also set alarm bells within the AAP whose vote share fell drastically from 56 per cent in the last Assembly elections to 26 per cent in the civic polls. While the BJP was able to increase its vote share by about 3 per cent, the Congress was the only party whose vote share went up by 12 per cent in comparison to the previous Assembly polls.

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