Which way: Delhiites to choose on Sunday

Which way: Delhiites to choose on Sunday

A man walk past a photo point installed at the Election Commission of India's headquarter on the eve of sixth phase polling for the Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi, Saturday, May 11, 2019. Delhi will vote for its seven parliamentary seats on May 12. (PTI Photo)

Seven seats in the national capital are going to polls on Sunday with a question whether BJP will be able to repeat the 7-0 results of 2014 or will Congress and AAP stand to gain despite failing to form an alliance.

The results, though the numbers are not big compared to the total number of seats in Lok Sabha, will have a huge impact on the three parties as the Assembly elections are less than 10 months away.

For AAP, which rules the national capital, better performance in the Lok Sabha polls would mean better prospects in the early 2020 polls while for Congress, it is a do-or-die battle to remain relevant in Delhi's political landscape.

After its spectacular win in 2015 Assembly polls, soon after striking blank in 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, AAP was sliding as it lost bypolls, in which it lost deposit in one of the sitting seats, and could not do well in municipal polls too. A setback this time would erode Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's grip.

Congress hopes to win a couple of seats and if that is not possible, emerge second in all seven seats to relegate AAP to third position. Such a scenario, Congress leaders believe, would help them in remaining contention in the Assembly elections.

Though Congress now puts the onus on AAP for the break down in negotiations, the onus is on Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit to ensure Congress' better performance as she had led the anti-AAP alliance group through the central leadership was in favour of a coalition.

It is also to be seen how Muslims and Dalits vote this time as in the previous elections, Muslims and Dalits had deserted Congress and went towards AAP. It would be a challenge for Congress to regain them though the party is confident that it would manage it.

BJP is confident that its campaign based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi would help them emerge victorious while it seeks to ignore talks among a section of voters, who had voted for the saffron party in 2014, that they would choose Congress this May but vote for AAP in the Assembly elections.

The saffron party also is witnessing some trouble as sitting MP Udit Raj joined Congress after being denied ticket. There are murmurs of protests in East Delhi where Gambhir is contesting.

The campaigning also saw a low when derogatory pamphlets against Atishi were distributed in some parts of East Delhi constituency with AAP pointing fingers at BJP's Gautam Gambhir and the latter sending defamation notices. In return, MLA Anil Baijal, who left AAP to join BJP, asked about the absence of Atishi's husband in the campaign.

Delhi also witnessed celebrity quotient not just in candidates – Congress' boxer Vijender Singh (South) and BJP's singer Hansraj Hans (North West) and Gambhir (East) -- the campaign to saw the presence of Hema Malini and Sunny Deol for BJP, Raj Babbar and Nagma for Congress and Prakash Raj, Swara Bhaskar and Gul Panag for AAP.

Though the stars gave colour to the campaign in otherwise hot weather, the battle is fought on predictable lines. BJP is heavily banking on Modi while AAP is highlighting Kejriwal government's achievements. Congress is highlighting the 15-year rule of Dikshit.

Will BJP's nationalism pitch would work or not or whether the Opposition will have the last laugh, one could know only on May 23 when the votes are counted.