iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 19, 2013
Termed insignificant by their seasoned rivals, political maverick — the Aam Aadmi Party — is expected to upset the caste and regional equations  in the Delhi assembly elections, says the Hindustan Times-C fore survey.



Debutants AAP is going to dent the traditional vote bank of the ruling Congress — Dalits and Muslims — as much as it is likely to eat into the vote share of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the survey shows.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) made a dent into the traditional Congress voters’ base in the  Scheduled Castes and the Muslims in 2008, when it cornered 14.1% votes from the two communities.

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According to the survey, AAP will replace the BSP as a potent third force in Delhi in this election.

“By regularising illegal colonies, distribution of ownership certificates to resettlement colonies and extension of Lal Dora, the Congress is likely to retain some of its vote share. But AAP has managed to create a support base in unauthorised colonies, slums and lower middle class areas. Majority of its cadre comes from such areas,” said Ravi Ranjan, fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University.

The survey also shows that the Congress will increase its vote share among Sikh voters from 42% to 50%, most of which will come at the cost of BJP, which is expected to lose a sizeable chunk of votes — from 46% in 2008 to 25% this year.

The BJP may also lose its traditional supporters in the upper caste Hindus and Baniyas to AAP.

“They are those middle class people who are completely disenchanted with the Congress and would have voted for the BJP if AAP was not there,” Ranjan said.

The survey reveals that the Congress and the AAP are likely to do better in east and south Delhi where there are more illegal colonies and slums. The BJP will fare better in its strongholds — west and parts of north Delhi. 

“It’s too early to write off the BSP.  It might not be in power in UP but it doesn’t mean that its vote share will be halved,” said Professor Sudha Pai of JNU.