Delhi Assembly polls likely by mid-Feb

Delhi Assembly polls likely by mid-Feb

Assembly elections in Delhi, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are gearing up for another face off, are likely to be held by the middle of February.

Sources in the Election Commission said the announcement for the one-day poll for the 70-member Assembly may be made this week.

The final list of electoral rolls for the National Capital Territory of Delhi will be published on Monday that will pave the way for holding the polls anytime thereafter.

Incidentally, this will be the last election that will be announced by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, who will demit office on January 15 on attaining 65 years of age.

The sources said the schedule will be so fine-tuned that the elections are hoped to be completed in the second week of February or at best the third week so that it does not come in the way of annual examinations, including those conducted by the CBSE, that usually start early March.

Since Delhi is the only state going to the polls now, the availability of Central paramilitary forces will not be a problem, said the sources. About 100 Central Reserve Police Force companies may be enough to ensure free and fair elections.

Delhi also does not have a history of violence or booth capturing.

The elections will be an opportunity for the resurgent BJP, which has been on a winning streak under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in various Assembly polls since its spectacular success in the Lok Sabha polls last May, to seek a clear verdict unlike the fractured decision of 2013 polls in Delhi.

The BJP, which had then faced the polls under Modi as the chief campaigner, could not get a majority in Delhi unlike the stunning success it had scored in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which also went to polls then.