Anti-incumbency may hit Congress hard, Kejriwal first CM choice, says survey

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal flashes their party symbol 'broom' during an election campaign near Jama Masjid in old Delhi. (HT Photo/Arvind Yadav)

Delhi wants to see Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal as the next chief minister of the capital, says a CNN-IBN-The Week pre-poll survey.

The face of AAP — the party will make its election debut from Delhi this year — Kejriwal emerged as the  most preferred choice for the chief minister’s post.
Conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, the survey interviewed 2,507 people in 28 assembly seats between October 16 and October 24.
Of them, 25% said they wanted Kejriwal as the chief minister followed by incumbent chief minister Sheila Dikshit (16%), Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel (10%) and the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan (2%).

Anti-incumbency seems to have hit Dikshit hard. According to the survey, 49% respondents said they were dissatisfied with her performance and 60% said she should not get another chance as chief minister.
“Women and young voters are especially unhappy with Dikshit as they feel that despite Delhi having a woman chief minister, women issues and safety have not been handled properly. The youngsters want change,” said Ravi Ranjan, fellow, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University.

AAP has caught the youngsters’ imagination. First-time voters and the youth have given the AAP as their first choice while the BJP was more popular among the middle-aged and older respondents.

Of those aged between 18 and 25 years, 37% said they would vote for AAP. “AAP has emerged as a hope of change while the Congress and the BJP are fast losing credibility,” AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said. 

While political parties officially do not give much importance to the rookie party, the survey said a large chunk of BJP and Congress voters think the debutant party is a strong contender. But many AAP voters do rate Dikshit as the best chief minister of the city to date.

Inflation and corruption have emerged as the biggest issues in the survey followed by unemployment, safety of women and influence of the builder mafia. While the Congress is going to the polls riding on the development plank, 44% respondents said their areas witnessed no development at all during the Commonwealth Games.
Both the BJP and the Congress have rejected the survey’s findings. Delhi Congress chief Jai Prakash Agarwal said the Congress party had worked hard during its 15 years in power and the people of Delhi acknowledged that. “The people of Delhi will repose their faith in the Congress in the December elections,” Agarwal said.

Delhi revenue minister Arvinder Singh said the survey was another effort of the media to support AAP. “AAP is BJP’s B-team. It will not get even a single seat,” he added.


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