Parties start preparing for early Delhi polls

Last Updated 30 June 2019, 14:45 IST

The buzz about the advancement of Delhi Assembly elections to October along with polls to three other states has prompted parties to start preparations for the electoral battle.

The chatter about the polls in October gained some momentum after AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj tweeted about such a possibility.

"Very strong buzz that the Election Commission will hold Delhi elections along with other states in October itself, four months before the end of the Assembly's tenure. Can EC do that? Can EC curtail the period of a duly elected Assembly?" Bharadwaj tweeted recently.

The Delhi Assembly has a term till February next year but as per law, the Election Commission can declare elections anytime in the last six months.

AAP has already announced its door-to-door campaigning while the BJP has also alerted its local leaders to be ready in case the polls are advanced. The Congress, though in disarray, is also not leaving anything to chance.

BJP sources said they would not like to repeat the mistake of 2015 when it delayed the elections in Delhi which was under central rule. Then, it did not conduct the elections along with Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand around October 2014 when it won all the three states.

However, the polls were held in February 2015 but the AAP managed to halt Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was riding a victory wave since his election in May 2014.

"We have won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls now. We would like to have the polls as early as possible. We don't want to lose the momentum. But it is in the hands of Election Commission when to announce the polls," a senior BJP leader said.

The BJP has won all the seven seats in Delhi polling 56.56% of votes while the ruling AAP was relegated to the third position with 18.11% votes. Congress was the gainer with 22.51% votes and the second position in five seats.

Congress' performance in the polls has given some hope to leaders but the latest developments over the continuation of party chief Rahul Gandhi have diverted the attention of the state leaders.

The AAP believes that it would return to power on the basis of its work in the capital in sectors like power, water, health and education. It has now announced free ride for women in Delhi Metro and public transport systems, which it believes would be a vote catcher.

The BJP and the Congress have dismissed it as a poll gimmick. AAP's full statehood demand for Delhi did not resonate much with the voters in the Lok Sabha elections.

Soon after the Lok Sabha results, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal himself sought to enthuse the cadre trying to explain that in Assembly elections, it would be a different ball game and his party would return to power.

(Published 30 June 2019, 14:22 IST)

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