In just a few hours Delhi will know the results of the Assembly Elections held on February 7 and after being subjected to two state elections in 14 months, most Delhiites are fervently hoping for a decisive result.
Pollsters have predicted a clean sweep for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), expecting it to win between 35 and 48 seats. Enthusiatic party volunteers who spent Sunday with their families and friends returned to the party office on Monday.
The party exuded a quiet confidence, preparing its Patel Nagar office for the hordes expected to descend there on Tuesday.
AAP has called in volunteers to manage crowds expected outside its office where arrangements for water, seating and medical emergencies were being made on Monday evening. Two stages were set up in front of the three-storey building housing the AAP office — one for journalists and the other for volunteers who have planned dance performances.
All AAP leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, will track counting day trends from the office itself. Kejriwal is expected to address AAP volunteers at 2pm irrespective of a win or loss.
“Our fingers are crossed. We are waiting for the results with bated breath but we are not assuming anything. The results are a big day for us and a large number of volunteers are already at the North Avenue office as well as the Patel Nagar office,” said a volunteer who did not want to be named.
According to party insiders, the senior leadership ordered workers to remain calm and not celebrate before the results.
“While the exit polls and the party’s ground reports indicate a comfortable majority for the party, it is the party’s belief that members need to wait for the final results before they go into celebratory mode. The party does not expect jingoism from members and volunteers. There is only one more day to go,” the leader said.
Unfazed BJP stocks up on sweets
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) that has been riding on its whitewash win in the Lok Sabha elections seems to be in for some bad news, with exit polls predicting between 19 and 27 seats for the saffron party in the 70-member Delhi assembly.
Seemingly unaffected by the exit polls, the party has ordered several kilos of saffron and green barfis just in case pollsters prove to be wrong.
Sources in the BJP said that the state unit of the party had placed an order for several kilos of barfis but they refused to divulge details of the location where it was being prepared fearing that in case the party did not fare well, it would become a cause of embarrassment.
BJP leaders were also appointing counting agents and placing television screens to ensure workers watch live updates on TV in anticipation of a win.
“We have placed an order for ladoos and we will distribute them among the party workers. All the BJP workers and leaders will be present at the Pandit Pant Marg office to watch the live updates on TV,” said a senior BJP leader.
Agents appointed by the BJP will be present at the counting centres and give regular updates through text messages. They have been told to file complaints in case they find any problem during counting as they fear that winning margin would be very narrow.
“Rather than wasting time fighting and discussing the results in case the agents find that there is anything wrong in the results, they should immediately file an objection so that the issue can be probed,” said a senior BJP leader.
While the party did try to show it was confident, the fact that none of the senior leaders were present at the Pandit Pant Marg office reflected that it was actually anxious about the results.
Meawhile, party CM nominee Kiran Bedi on Monday invoked ‘karma’ and said that she was not nervous about the results as they were not in her hands.
Kiran Bedi addresses party members at a thanksgiving function in Delhi's Krishna Nagar area. (Subrata Biswas/HT Photo)
“I have given it my all. In the past 17 days, whatever time I got and was given is God’s will. For any exam, when I’ve given my best then I get a sound sleep. The result is not in my hand, but karma is,” the former IPS told reporters.
Bedi has said that whether BJP loses or wins, she will take responsibility for it.
Silence prevails over Congress office
While the BJP and the AAP were busy making arrangements for leaders and party workers to watch elections results at the party offices on Monday, the Congress office remained unusually quiet.
Most party leaders stayed away from the party office at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg on Monday and were likely to stay away on Tuesday too when counting happens at seven different centres across Delhi.
“We are not expecting any leader to come to the party office. We have made no special arrangements. In case somebody decides to come, we have television sets here to watch news debates and election results on news channels,” said a senior party functionary.
Interestingly, the Congress had made extensive arrangements for the counting day in the 2013 elections.
Special screens were put for workers to watch election results. A light would glow every time the party wins a seat. Sources said the party had also alerted a sweetmeat maker. The early trends however were indicative of what was going to happen and the party office remained silent.
(With inputs from HT correspondent Atul Mathur and Agencies)