In an election that many saw as a referendum on the UPA and Sheila Dikshit governments’ inability to control corruption and price rise, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday retained control of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), winning 137 of its 272 seats.
This is the first time Delhi voted for three corporations that the MCD was divided into this year — East, North and South Delhi. While the BJP won East and North Delhi comfortably, it was the largest party in South Delhi but nine seats short of a simple majority. On the whole, the BJP fared worse than the last time when it had won 164 seats while the Congress did slightly better by winning 78 seats compared to 67 in 2007.
This is the Congress’ second defeat in municipal polls in a metro this year. In February, it was defeated by the Shiv Sena-BJP in the Mumbai civic polls.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi did not make much of his party’s defeat. “Last time, the BJP had won the MCD polls but the Congress came to power in the assembly. The Congress even went on to win all seven Lok Sabha seats. The MCD polls should be seen only as MCD polls,” he said.
Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta, however, said that unlike the 2007 elections when sealing and demolition was an immediate and visible factor, there was no such factor this time.
“The price rise and corruption in both Delhi and at the Centre were big issues and I feel the people of Delhi voted on these issues,” he said.
Political analyst Sanjay Kumar agreed that there was no anti-incumbency wave against the BJP but there were some pockets where voters were not happy with the councillor and voted against the BJP, resulting in its loss of 26 seats.
“But this result also does not indicate that people voted against the Congress on price rise and corruption. The Congress primarily lost its vote share because smaller parties like the BSP and SP ate up its votes. The Congress voters looked for bi-polarity and instead of going with the BJP, chose to vote for other parties,” said Kumar, who is a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.