Delhi will find out who managed to trump opponents and claim the seat of power on Monday when votes polled on November 29 are counted.
These assembly elections are crucial for Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who could set a record if the Congress wins third term, while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra is keen to make a comeback to the city he once governed as the chief of the metropolitan council (a post equivalent to the chief minister’s).
Predictably pitched between the Congress and the BJP, the contest is made more interesting by the presence of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The BSP, contesting from all assembly seats this year, may not be positioning itself as a winner, but could well prove a decisive force.
“The party can’t be taken lightly because it influences not only the Dalit vote, but also the vote of migrants from Uttar Pradesh in Delhi,” said Yogendra Yadav of the Centre for Study of Developing Societies.
Congress leaders have said the Mumbai terror attacks could affect the votes in its kitty if the polling percentage crossed 55 per cent; as expected urban seats did witness a high turnout.
This does not bode well for the party, as senior Congress leaders admit.
Anticipating that a hung house may well be on the cards, Congress has already instructed members to revive relations with leaders from smaller parties like the Lok Janshakti Party and independent candidates.
“These forces will be the deciding factor this time,” said a source from the Congress.