Sheila Dikshit era likely to end if Congress loses in Delhi polls

Sheila Dikshit era likely to end if Congress loses in Delhi polls

Exit polls after the Delhi Assembly elections are pointing to a possible end of the Sheila Dikshit era in Delhi government and Congress sources say, even if all projections are proved wrong and the party manages to retain power, she is likely to move over to Central government for a bigger role.

According to exit polls, Dikshit, 75, a three-time chief minister, is staring at a defeat not only in her New Delhi constituency but also the possibility of her government’s ouster when the results are declared on December 8.

The BJP, on the other hand, is expecting to nudge close to a majority in the 70-member Assembly, while some leaders said, in the case of a hung House the party will prefer to seek fresh elections.

In the post-election briefing, Aam Aadmi Party’s leader Yogendra Yadav, despite being a psephologist, evaded questions whether his party would form the next government.
Some politicians are hoping that the final results will be slightly different from what the exit polls have projected.

“Let the final result come,” said Vijender Gupta, the BJP candidate who contested from Chief Minister Dikshit’s New Delhi constituency.

“Even a 2-3 per cent voter share difference in reality and exit poll projections can change the scenario drastically,” he said.

Gupta, a former Delhi BJP chief, said the victory margin in his constituency would be in three digits or very low four digits. “My contest is with Arvind Kejriwal, Dikshit is bound to be number three in the race,” he said.

Sources in the Delhi BJP said the party was in no rush to reveal its cards before the results are out. “The analysis of these elections will be used in the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
“If we fall short of the half-way mark, we will not join hands with any party to form a weak government,” he added.

“Our priority then would be to ensure that the voters’ anger against the Congress - which will be reflected in the outcome - is channelised for gains for the party in the general elections in May 2014,” said a party leader. Delhi Congress spokesman Jitender Kochar refused to speculate. “Wait for two more days,” he replied to a question if Dikshit will become the chief minister again.

Sources in the party said if Dikshit leads the ruling party to a fourth successive win, she may be used by the central party leadership as a trump card in the Lok Sabha elections and the face of the party’s development-based performance.

“If the Congress fails to get a respectable number of seats in Delhi, Dikshit will be shifted out of Delhi to avoid being targeted again by the opposition parties in their campaign for the parliamentary elections,” said a sitting party legislator.

A change of guard is also likely in the Delhi Congress soon after the Assembly election if the results turn out to be bad. “A new Delhi unit chief may replace J P Agarwal, who may himself express a desire to be relieved of the responsibility,” said a leader.

Kalkaji constituency’s legislator Subhash Chopra, who headed the party’s election committee during the just concluded polls, is likely to step into Agarwal’s shoes.

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