MCD election results 2017: What’s at stake for BJP, AAP and Congress
Stakes are high for the three main players BJP, AAP and Congress in Delhi politics. Two exit polls have predicted win for BJP even as AAP claims it will win over 200 seats.MCD Elections 2017 Updated: Apr 26, 2017 09:57 IST
The results of the MCD elections will be known in a few hours from now. Unlike local body elections in other parts of the city, municipal corporations in the city is getting an unprecedented attention, as its outcome could have a far reaching consequences in the politics of the national capital.
In immediate terms, the stakes are high for the principal players in the city politics---BJP, AAP and the Congress.
On Sunday, immediately after voting ended for Delhi’s three civic bodies, two pollsters predicted a huge win for the BJP, which was facing a decade-long anti-incumbency in the municipal corporations. The MCD acronym had been expanded by the AAP leadership to mean ‘Most Corrupt Department’ in recent weeks as they pushed to take control of Delhi’s local governance.
But the exit polls suggest that AAP and Congress are fighting neck-and-neck for a very distant second spot.
WIN OR DEFEAT? WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE BJP
A clear win for the BJP will be a big turn-around for the saffron party’s fortunes that lost badly to the AAP in 2015 assembly elections. The party is up against a decade-long anti-incumbency in the municipal corporations.
The city witnessed repeated strikes by the municipal staff, especially sanitation workers, over delay in salary payment. The corporations failed to check vector-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, which have been claiming lives year after year.
The MCD acronym had been expanded by the AAP leadership to mean ‘Most Corrupt Department’ in recent weeks as they pushed to take control of Delhi’s local governance. If the party returns to power for the third time in a row, party leaders suggest, it will be reflective of the Modi magic at work.
Party’s victory will suggest that the Modi juggernaut is continuing from where it had left off in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections last month. They suggest that the blips 2015 in Delhi and Bihar, where they were defeated by AAP and the Nitish Kumar-led JDU-RJD Mahagathbandhan respectively, are behind the BJP.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR AAP?
But if the exit polls hold true, the writing is on the wall for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which had routed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in the Delhi assembly elections two years ago.
Kejriwal, who was positioning himself as a challenger to Modi by taking him on directly in public discourse (Kejriwal interview link), will have to ask himself some uncomfortable questions about how a city he has mesmerised in 2015 is so decisively swinging away from him and his anti-politics plank.
Party’s recent performance in Punjab and Goa assembly election was a major jolt towards its national expansion. If that was not enough, the party’s candidate lost his deposit in Rajouri Garden assembly bypolls.
If the party performs badly, as it is being predicted in the exit polls, and fails to hold on to its fort, the party will be up against a challenge to emerge as an important pole in country’s politics, which it has been attempting to achieve by weaving a larger narrative of providing ‘alternative piolitics’.
WILL IT BE REVIVAL OF THE CONGRESS?
The electoral outcome of the municipal elections will equally be critical for the Congress, which is making all efforts to stay ‘relevant’ in the city politics after it failed to open an account in 2015 assembly elections.
Even as the leadership is rebuilding the organisation, the party received major setbacks as several top leaders deserted the party just ahead of the civic polls and joined the BJP.
The pollsters are not predicting anything rosy for the party. However, the party cadre could have some reason to cheer as it may increase its vote share across the three corporations, as compared to the less than 10% votes it received in 2015 assembly elections, when it failed to even open its account.
But it’s small succor for a party that was hoping to use the MCD elections as a springboard for its revival. A heavy loss in the elections could also have an impact on the future of party leaders currently running the Pradesh Congress Committee.