Amid high decibel campaigning by AAP and BJP in Delhi, Congress goes missing
The upcoming assembly elections in Delhi has turned into a bitter battle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the Congress that ruled the city state for 15 consecutive years since 1998 completely missing from the contest.
One of the reasons identified for the party’s slow start is the lack of coordination between the planners and the star campaigners. While there have been repeated demands from Congress candidates for leaders such as Captain Amarinder Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sachin Pilot, the coordinators have so far not been able to draw up a schedule for their campaigning.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to address a few rallies in the last week of the campaigning as had happened in 2015.
But there is no clarity about Congress president Sonia Gandhi or party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Also, the party had drawn up a list of 66 observers and 19 Members of Parliament (MPs) drafted from different states to help the candidates on the 66 seats it is contesting. But that too isn’t helping much.
The Congress was heavily banking on the minority vote with a section arguing that the Muslims are disillusioned with the AAP in the wake of the stoic silence of its leaders, especially Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on the Shaheen Bagh issue.
But a group of senior leaders have a different take on it. These leaders are of the view that the Muslims would by and large vote for AAP as it is in a much better position than the Congress to keep the BJP out of power in Delhi.
“The minorities in Maharashtra pushed us to go for an alliance with the Shiv Sena because they wanted to keep the BJP at bay. By that logic, it seems they will support the party that is strong enough to defeat the BJP in Delhi,” said a senior Congress leader from Delhi.
“With the BJP raising the pitch and desperately trying to polarise, it is very difficult for us to persuade the minorities to vote for us. They see us as a weak proposition. Why would they waste their votes,” the leader added.
Besides, the AAP and the Congress vie for the same vote base with the BJP’s remaining intact in the past several elections. The Congress is hoping to give a tough fight to the AAP in at least five seats such as Gandhi Nagar, Badli, Seelampur, Mustafabad and Ballimaran.
The BJP too is banking on a good show by the Congress to register victory in some seats as they are confident that the grand old party would cut into the AAP votes only. In tough contests between the AAP and the Congress, the BJP will be the gainer.