AAP's win may spell doom for others

AAP's win may spell doom for others

BJP's 16-year political exile in city may get extended, gloomy future for Congress

Going by the exit polls’ projections on an AAP majority in Delhi Assembly election, it is not hard to conclude that the 16-year political exile of the BJP in the capital is on the verge of getting extended by another five year. The Congress, too, has a gloomy future.

Clearly, the biggest gainer from Saturday’s election is likely to be the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.

If the exit polls are correct, questions might be raised if it was the internal foe that did in both the BJP and the Congress in these Assembly polls.

Both the parties have ambitious local leaders who on their own cannot win an Assembly election but have the devastating capability of pulling down colleagues who might be poised to perform well.

The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi and Congress face in the poll Ajay Maken would be in a better position to introspect on the issue.

Sources in the AAP said if the party manages to form the government in Delhi, for the next two years it might like to focus on delivering on its promises before expanding its vision beyond the capital.

The Kejriwal-led outfit might also try to conquer the city’s three civic agencies, which are controlled by the BJP at present, in the next elections scheduled for 2017.

“Having a go at the 2017 Assembly elections in Punjab also seems to be the natural progression,” said an AAP leader who was Kejriwal’s aide in the chief minister’s office.
Taking in a plunge into the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in 2017 would depend if the party manages to identify a strong chief ministerial face for the most populous state.

“In Punjab, party MP Bhagwant Mann could be the chief ministerial candidate,” he said.
The AAP’s repeat of its stunning performance of the 2013 in Delhi Assembly poll may come at the cost of other players like the BJP and the Congress.

“Kejriwal may be hailed as an anti-BJP icon with major polarisation of Muslim voters who have been deserting the Congress over the years,” said a BJP leader.

BJP leaders, while analysing the findings of the exit polls, admitted that the saffron party may have to sit in the opposition with about 20 seats.

“If that happens, Kiran Bedi would be the leader of the opposition,” said a former vice-president of the Delhi BJP, adding that she might lose interest in politics and move on in coming years.

Pointing to the exit polls’ projections, workers are talking in hushed tones that national BJP chief Amit Shah seems to have failed to gauge the cosmopolitan nature of the city and ignored the local workers too much by bringing in Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate.

Notwithstanding the bold face put up by the Delhi BJP after the exit polls’ projections, party leaders admit the Delhi unit lacks the punch to convert its support among the middle-class voters and use its majority in the three civic agencies to wrest power in the Delhi Assembly.

“The party should forget forming a Delhi government for at least the next five years,” said a leader, basing his observation on the exit polls’ projection.

The next Assembly elections will be held an year after the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. “The delivery by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over the next four years may decide whether the Bharatiya Janata Party would have a chance in the 2020 Assembly poll.”

“Also, do not forget that if the Kejriwal government manages to last five years in Delhi, the BJP would face the threat of becoming history,” said a BJP leader.

The Congress, according to the exit polls, is likely to fail in its battle for survival in the city.
Ajay Maken, the grand old party’s chief ministerial candidate in this election, said the exit polls projections of the party not winning even a single seat would be proven wrong on the counting day on February 10.

Party leaders said a section of Muslims and Dalit voters is still with the Congress. However, these significant vote banks of the party have got eroded with the AAP’s entry.

Non-BJP alternative

The committed middle-class voter of the Congress may not wait long to look for a non-BJP alternative, said a Congress leader, signalling that the repeated poor performances of the party in the city will wean away the young voters in families that have always stood by the party.

If exit polls’ projections about Congress decimation in the Assembly poll are true then the grand old party might better start preparing for tough civic elections in 2017.

Just in case the exit polls are proven wrong and the Congress returns with some seats or touches or surpasses the tally of eight seats which it bagged in the 2013 polls, the whole matrix of Delhi government formation post-February 10 would get turned over its head.

If Maken is to be believed, there could be some surprises in store on Tuesday. However, the exit polls have left very little scope for such a miracle to happen. 

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