Delhi goes to polls today | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi goes to polls today

The stage is all set for the fourth assembly elections in the Capital. Elections will be held for 69 out of 70 assembly constituencies in the city, report Anuradha Mukherjee & Moushumi Das Gupta.

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2008 00:26 IST

The stage is all set for the fourth assembly elections in the Capital. Elections will be held for 69 out of 70 assembly constituencies in the city. Polling in one of the seats — Rajendra Nagar — was countermanded after the death of BJP candidate from that seat, Puran Chand Yogi.

Will Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit get lucky the third time or would senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was the chief executive of the Metropolitan Council, return as chief minister? Both of them will have to wait till December 8 for the people's verdict.

Dikshit, however, would set a new record of sorts if she manages to win for the third time. She is the longest ruling woman chief minister appointed by the Congress. Dikshit said she was optimistic about the results.

“Going by the response at rallies, things look encouraging for the Congress. But I can't be arrogant enough to declare victory beforehand,” said Dikshit. Her party colleagues claimed the Congress would win on at least 36 seats. This estimate is eleven seats shorter than the score in 2003. Congress had won 47 seats then.

The BJP, which managed to get 19 seats during the 2003 elections, hopes to improve its tally this time around, encashing on the anti-incumbency factor.

It also hopes to gain in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks.

The mood in the BJP state office was quite upbeat on Friday with party leaders optimistic of getting anywhere between 42 to 45 seats. And they admit, though not officially, that the Mumbai terror attack is going to help swing votes in the party’s favour.

But what could spring the biggest surprise during this election is the likely emergence of the Bahujan Samaj Party as the decisive third political force in the Capital. From a mere 5.75 per cent of the total votes in 2003, the party hopes to increase it to 15 per cent this time.

Asked if the BSP might hurt the Congress, Dikshit said: “It may hurt the BJP too. BSP chief Mayawati is speaking about social engineering and this may affect the BJP,” said Dikshit.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley also admitted things might be different this time. “Traditionally, in Delhi it was always a Congress versus BJP fight. This time around it’s going to be a triangular contest,” said Jaitley.