The BJP is happy, Congress believes it will bounce back and AAP hoping against hope – the refusal of Congress to align with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has instilled some sense of excitement in the national capital's political scene.
With the Delhi Congress led by Sheila Dikshit remaining adamant against entering into an alliance with AAP, the onus now is on the former Chief Minister to ensure that her party performs well in the capital where Chief Minister Kejriwal is arguing that a triangular fight would help BJP only.
While former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken made a u-turn to support the idea of aligning with AAP when the leaders met party chief Rahul Gandhi, a host of local leaders supported Dikshit's stand.
The task is cut out for Dikshit as she will have to bring the party back to winning ways, which was halted in the 2013 Assembly elections when she was Chief Minister. Though it sank further by 2015, Congress showed signs of revival in the 2017 municipal polls and a clutch of Assembly bypolls when it gained some lost votes.
For the Congress, sources said, an alliance for the Lok Sabha would be “suicidal” as it cannot enter into any understanding with AAP in the Assembly polls early next year. An alliance with AAP in Assembly polls would mean Congress would have to forget the claim for the pole political position in capital and will have to play second fiddle to Kejriwal, a senior leader said.
Sources said the return of Dikshit to Delhi politics and the victories in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh polls in December last year have enthused the cadre. They believe the minorities in the capital now may return, if not in full to the party which it had lost to AAP in recent years.
The AAP still harbours hope for a rethink and has not shut the doors completely as a section of the central leaders in Congress are keen for a tie-up. The party, which now has 67 seats in Delhi Assembly, has been on the downslide since its huge victory in the 2015 Assembly polls and the municipal polls in 2017 was an eye-opener for it.
BJP leaders said the “desperation” in AAP leadership showed that the saffron party is winning handsomely. “AAP is the ruling party and is running after a party which has no MLA in Assembly. That itself shows that we are going to retain all seats,” a BJP leader said.
AAP's vote share sharply declined from 54.59% in 2015 to 26.23% two years later while Congress rose from a low of 9.70% to 21.09%. BJP's vote share also increased during this period from 32.78% to 36.08%.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP polled 46.63% riding on Modi wave while AAP garnered 33.08% and Congress 15.22%.
|Party||2015 Assembly||2014 Lok Sabha||2017 Municipal|