Delhi Elections were expected to be interesting. But since BJP has announced Kiran Bedi as its Chief Ministerial candidate permutation and combinations have changed drastically. Various opinion polls hint to the fact that AAP has gained more ground in Delhi, which was earlier not expected. But in the fight of BJP vs AAP, one wonders where is the party which ruled it for the longest 15 years? Where is the Ex- Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit during a critical election period?
It is expected that Congress is already out of election race in Delhi. Both BJP and AAP have dismissed any chances of Congress winning significant number of seats. But what they have ignored is the fact that it was for Congress that no one could sustain any government in Delhi a year back. Even if Congress does not emerge as the majority party, it may win few seats out of the total 70 seats in Delhi and again make it difficult for BJP or AAP to form government.
BJP and AAP have been campaigning extensively in Delhi. BJP has taken the state election to altogether a different level by bringing various Union Ministers and MPs from other states to campaign for candidates in Delhi. AAP on the other hand is using traditional door to door campaigning as well as Social media extensively to reach out to people. AAP is giving a more personal and inclusive touch to the campaigning. In between these, Rahul Gandhi has come out today to campaign for Congress. Day before Congress came up with its manifesto and it highlighted to provide shelter to people in various slum areas in Delhi.
Ajay Makan, Ex-Cabinet Minister in UPA government is the face of Congress this time. Sheila Dixit, is not even campaigning for Congress now. It seems after a small stint as Governor of Kerela, she has taken retirement from active politics now. Ajay Makan is seen as a honest man, and being an ex Delhi University president, has an element of attracting youth of the city. But the tussle between Bedi and Kejriwal has become so big that it is not giving any air time to Congress to make a point on television debates. Few reports show that Congress candidates are not even able to attract people during their campaigning.
During Lok Sabha elections, though all the seven seats went to BJP in Delhi, but Congress had a certain vote share in Delhi which can be crucial in Assembly elections. Congress ended being the third most voted party. It means Congress can still either take vote share of AAP or BJP. The vote share can again bring Delhi to witness a hung parliament. The undecided voters may vote for Congress.
It will be politically wrong for BJP and AAP to undermine the role of Congress in Delhi elections. Last time Congress and BJP did the same thing for AAP. AAP ended with creating government in Delhi, though with outside support from Congress.
There is a possibility that Congress may surprise this time. Various opinion polls have hinted around this. BJP could have had a smooth sail under Modi wave. But there is no Bedi wave in Delhi. This may help AAP, and more surprisingly Congress.
This article was first published on LokMarg.com on January 30, 2015