It may have been decidedly decimated in the assembly elections four months ago, but an internal survey of the Congress suggests it is on course for a revival in the Capital.
According to the evaluation done in the first week of April, senior Congress leaders said, the party was in a good position to win the New Delhi parliamentary seat, while it was in with a chance in East Delhi, Northeast Delhi and Chandni Chowk — three constituencies with sizeable Muslim populations that can be decisive.
The survey indicates that the party is resurgent in South Delhi, while it faces a tough challenge in the Northwest and West Delhi seats.
Interestingly, with just a day to go for voting in the Capital, none of the three prominent political parties – the Congress, BJP and AAP – has claimed a clean sweep.
Despite maintaining that there was a strong Modi wave in the city, the internal survey of BJP has pegged the number of seats it is winning at four. And, upbeat after its spectacular debut in the assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party’s internal assessment, carried out last week, hinted at improved vote share but fancied its chances in just four constituencies.
Congress sources said the party survey, conducted after party president Sonia Gandhi’s rally in Karol Bagh on March 30, puts former Union minister Ajay Maken significantly ahead of BJP candidate Meenakshi Lekhi and AAP’s Ashish Khetan in New Delhi. Maken’s clean image, a relatively weak candidate fielded by the BJP and a middle class “disillusioned” with AAP after its 49-day government in Delhi have collectively bolstered the Congress’ chances, the appraisal reveals.
The Congress had won all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the 2009 parliamentary polls by huge margins. However, it was handed a drubbing by debutant AAP in last year’s assembly elections, reducing its seat tally from 43 in 2008 to just eight. The Congress’ vote share too had plummeted by 15 percentage points — from 40.3% in 2008 to 25.01% in 2013.
According to the survey, the Congress’ fortunes are largely tied to which way the Muslim votes go this time. While Northeast Delhi has close to 25% electors from the community, both East Delhi and Chandni Chowk have more than 16% Muslim voters.
“In the assembly elections, the majority of Muslim voters had opted for the Congress. If we manage to get a good percentage of Muslim votes, we can win at least two of these three seats,” a senior Congress leader said, requesting anonymity.