AAP feels Delhi polls may be held along with Jharkhand

AAP feels Delhi polls may be held along with Jharkhand

AAP leader Sanjay Singh appointed as its election in-charge. (PTI Photo)

Anticipating announcement of Delhi Assembly elections along with Jharkhand, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday sounded the poll bugle with the appointment of senior leaders Sanjay Singh as its election in-charge and Pankaj Gupta as Campaign Director.

These decisions were taken at a meeting of party's Political Affairs Committee chaired by Chief Minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal here on Thursday, as the party expects that the Election Commission may announce the election schedule for Delhi along with Jharkhand.

Delhi Assembly's term is coming to end in mid-February and that of Jharkhand in early January next year. Election Commission is empowered to hold elections to an Assembly any time during the last six months of its term.

Announcing its plans, the AAP said, "the decisions are a part of the AAP's election strategy, in anticipation of the party’s preparations for the forthcoming Assembly polls, since the party is of the view that there is a likelihood of dates for Delhi elections being announced along with Jharkhand soon."

AAP, which would be seeking re-election "on the basis of the historic performance" that "changed the face of the national capital", hope that it would be able to repeat the 2015 Assembly elections when it won 67 out of 70 seats. Later, at least half-a-dozen MLAs rebelled switched sides to BJP and Congress.

With the pitch for Delhi's full statehood during in the Lok Sabha polls did not resonate much with the electorate, the AAP is likely to go to polls highlighting its decision to to provide 200 units of electricity and 20,000 litres of water free every month, installation of CCTVs across Delhi and opening of 'mohalla clinics' (neighbourhood clinics) as its trump cards.

While AAP hopes for a repeat of 2015 Assembly elections, it may not be an easy walkover for the party as it was relegated to third position in the recent Lok Sabha elections. In 2015 elections, it was AAP which halted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's so far unassailable political juggernaut when it thrusted a humiliating defeat on the BJP by reducing it to just three MLAs in the Assembly.

However, its plummeting vote share is a real concern after it peaked to 54.59% in 2015 Assembly elections after clocking 33.08% in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. AAP's vote share dipped by more than half during the 2017 municipal polls to 26.23% and it further lost ground in 2019 polls as it could garner only 18.11% votes as against Congress' 22.51% and BJP's 56.56%.

Congress has increased its vote share from 9.7% in 2015 to 21.09 in 2017 and in Lok However, disarray in Congress after the Lok Sabha elections and its inability to find a successor to former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as Delhi Congress chief is a big relief for AAP as it hopes to have a direct fight with the BJP.

With elections in mind, the AAP had also changed its strategy soon after the Lok Sabha polls by choosing not to target Modi and even supporting the BJP-led NDA government's move on scrapping special status of Jammu and Kashmir. It also initiated a 'Dilli Mein Toh Kejriwal' (In Delhi, it's Kejriwal) campaign, days after the Lok Sabha defeat, believing that the AAP chief continues hold sway among voters.

During the past five years, AAP is said to have lost a chunk of minorities and Dalits voters, which it had weaned away from Congress, but leaders feel they would be able to bring them back to the fold.

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