iconimg Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Atul Mathur , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 13, 2014
After the Assembly elections, it is the turn of the parliamentary elections in Delhi to witness a triangular contest.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular debut in the Delhi Assembly elections have taken the air out of the sail of the two national parties and traditional rivals in Delhi - Congress and the BJP.

Interestingly, there have been instances when regional parties gave a spirited performance in municipal or assembly elections and managed to corner a double digit vote share. But they failed to repeat it in subsequent parliament elections.

In the 1993 assembly elections, swept by the BJP, the Janata Dal was polled 12.65% votes and its candidates won four seats. The party, however, could not sustain its performance in 1996. The party fielded its candidates on five seats and lost all. The Janata Dal candidates were number three on four seats.

The 2007 municipal elections and 2008 assembly elections saw the rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party in Delhi. A large chunk of Scheduled Caste votes, which otherwise went to the Congress’ kitty, shifted to the BSP.

Party chief Mayawati was then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and her rallies ahead of the elections consolidated SC votes behind the BSP. The party won two seats. Its candidates were close third on several seats.

But it failed to maintain the momentum in 2009 elections. The party could manage only 5.34% votes and its candidates were nowhere in the contention. The Congress walked away with 57% votes and all seven seats.

"It is easier for smaller and regional parties to consolidate vote share in municipal or assembly elections where the constituencies are smaller. But Lok Sabha elections are a different ball game," said a senior Congress leader, who looks after the party’s strategy in elections.

With the AAP getting more than 29% votes and 28 seats in the 2013 elections, it is going to be an interesting fight between three parties in Delhi.

"AAP is definitely going to do well in Lok Sabha elections and is most likely to be the second big party after the BJP," said Ravi Ranjan, a political analyst.

He said a weak Congress, which won only eight seats in the assembly, and AAP’s dominant performance in the assembly elections will ensure that it would no longer be a straight contest.