Delhi goes to polls on Feb 8, counting on Feb 11

Delhi goes to polls on Feb 8, counting on Feb 11

Representative image. (PTI photo)

Delhi will go to polls for a new Assembly on February 8 when voters will decide whether to give AAP another shot at power or provide the BJP, which is out of power in the national capital since 1998, a chance to be on the driver seat.

Congress, which was at power for 15 straight years till 2013, may remain at a distant third, as it is perceived to have lost its momentum after relegating AAP to the third position in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

After announcing the election date, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the counting of votes will take place on February 11.

AAP, which had a 49-day term in 2013 and now finishing a five-year term, is confident that it will retain power for another term riding on its performance while BJP, which is drumming up its campaign, hope to dethrone the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.

Confident of returning to power, Kejriwal said one should vote for AAP only if you think that his government worked and no government has ever dared to say this. He said the election will be fought on the basis of AAP government's work.

On the other hand, BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah said people can be "fooled once not always". "I am confident that through this festival of democracy, the government led by a party, which misled people for five years and gave hollow promises, will be defeated and a government will be formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that can fulfil the people's aspirations," he said.

In 2015 polls, it was AAP who thrusted a humiliating defeat on the BJP by reducing it to just three MLAs in the Assembly. AAP had then won 67 seats while Congress did not win a single seat.

However, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections saw Congress clawing back to prominence by garnering 22.51%, coming second in five of the seven Lok Sabha seats and relegating AAP to the third position even as BJP won 56.56% votes and all the seven seats.

While the pitch for Delhi's full statehood during in the Lok Sabha polls did not gather much support, this time AAP is highlighting its decision 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.

AAP has also tweaked its strategy keeping in mind the elections 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 was also accused of not being vocal about the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

BJP is hoping that the central government's decision to regularise over 1,400 unauthorised colonies will fetch them votes and seats. So far, BJP had announced a Chief Ministerial face for Delhi but this time, it has not done yet so far amid Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah's assertion that the party "will form the next government in Delhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".

Congress, on the other hand, hopes to win some seats, with its senior Delhi leaders managing to hold on to their turfs. Congress in-charge P C Chacko had initially suggested to the central leadership that the party should explore possibilities of a tie-up with AAP but was rejected.

While Congress leaders believe that AAP may form the government on its own, party leaders said it was not averse to repeat the 2013 experiment to pledge support in a "rare scenario" where Kejriwal falls short of the majority numbers. 

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