Excitement and anxiety were two words that captured the emotions of Delhi’s political circle perfectly on Tuesday after the notification of municipal wards was announced on Tuesday.
The common assessment across the political spectrum, however, was that the delimitation of municipal wards — which revised the number of municipal wards in 37 out of 70 assembly segments — had made the upcoming municipal elections in Delhi unpredictable by altering the traditional strongholds of different parties.
“For the first time, the city would have witnessed a triangular fight in municipal elections. The delimitation of wards, which has altered the geographical boundaries, has only added to uncertainties regarding outcomes,” a senior BJP leader said.
The delimitation will lead to critical changes in the demography and character of the seats. Population being the fundamental criterion of redistribution, most of the assembly seats that had larger concentration of unauthorised colonies and slum clusters now have more municipal wards under its fold.
The number of municipal wards in assembly seats like Burari, Kirari, Bawana, Vikaspuri, Matiala have gone up from four to six or more. It could be an advantage AAP, party leaders said.
“The population density is higher in unauthorised colonies, slum clusters and villages — where the core support base of AAP lies. Though the party swept Delhi in 2015 assembly polls, the catch lies in the victory margins. Victory margin in seats like Burari, Kirari, Deoli and Matiala was much higher as compared to urban seats like Greater Kailash, Malviya Nagar and Kasturba Nagar,” a senior AAP leader said.
The BJP has traditionally been strong in the urban pockets. The Congress enjoyed mass support in areas dwelled by low-income groups, unauthorised colonies and slum clusters, until the emergence of AAP on the political horizon.
Congress leaders argued that support for AAP had waned and the party stood a fighting chance in the next polls.
“We won four of 13 seats. One more seat, Bhati, was won by a Congress rebel. Five of these four seats —Jhilmil, Kondli, Bhati and Nangloi — are dominated by unauthorised colonies,” a senior Congress leader said.
A section in the BJP is ‘anxious’ about the fallout of the change in demography on the electorate in some wards. “Hauz Rani, which is dominated by the minority community, was a separate ward. Now it has been merged with Malviya Nagar. That will impact the poll dynamics,” a senior BJP leader said.