Delhi poll results: Progress trumps regionalism
The BJP also tied-up with regional parties from Bihar — Janata Dal (United) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — and the Congress with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).Updated: Feb 12, 2020 05:07 IST
The three main political parties in Delhi fielded between eight and 12 candidates each from the Purvanchali community — a sign of a demographic shift in the Capital towards people from eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar that also played a part in picking Bhojpuri film and music icon Manoj Tiwari as its state unit chief.
While it was the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which took the lead by fielding 10 and 12 candidates in the last two assembly polls in 2013 and 2015, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress decided to field 11 and eight candidates respectively from the Purvanchali community in the 2020 elections as they attempted to make a dent in what has emerged as one of the AAP’s key support bases.
The BJP also tied-up with regional parties from Bihar — Janata Dal (United) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — and the Congress with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
But the strategy did not pay dividends, as just one Purvanchal candidate from the BJP won in these elections — party vice-president Abhay Verma from Laxmi Nagar.
Verma, who unsuccessfully contested in the 2013 assembly elections, defeated Aam Aadmi Party’s MLA Nitin Tyagi by just 880 votes.
Apart from the four seats where its ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) fielded candidates, the Congress fielded Purvanchali faces in the four remaining seats — Rithala, Dwarka, Sangam Vihar and Karawal Nagar. All eight candidates lost their deposits.
The ruling AAP fielded 12 candidates from the community, of which the party’s Karawal Nagar candidate, Durgesh Pathak, was the only one who lost the election by a margin of 8,223 votes. Pathak, a first-timer, was defeated by veteran BJP leader Mohan Singh Bisht, who has represented the constituency four times.
Political analysts say that Tuesday’s result has proved that is “development” and not “regionalism” on which the Purvanchali community now votes.
The BJP’s development plank to give ownership rights to residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi — where a lot of Purvanchalis live — also did not appear to work as people voted for bread-and-butter issues. Senior BJP leaders admitted that subsidy in electricity and water, and free bus rides for women, were the main factors for the AAP’s sweep in these areas for the second consecutive time.
Biswajit Mohanty, an associate professor at Delhi University’s Deshabndhu College, said that the 2020 Delhi assembly election is a “classic case” of rejecting the politics of identity.
“The Purvanchalis in Delhi, who are majorly comprised of domestic workers or unskilled labours, were benefited by the AAP’s policies in sectors including education or health sectors or initiatives such as free bus ride for women. They received monetary benefits from all these policies and initiatives. Also, there was a division among the middle class within the Purvanchalis who had earlier voted for the BJP. That’s why the AAP could get in so much support in Purvanchali dominated areas,” he said.
While Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP contested on three seats Burari, Sangam Vihar and Seemapuri — JD(U) contested from Burari and Sangam Vihar while LJP contested from Seemapuri — Lalu Prasad’s RJD contested from Burari, Kirari, Palam and Uttam Nagar. The most interesting contest was Burari, where two Bihar heavyweights were contesting the same seat. But both the lost to the AAP’s Sanjeev Jha, a MLA from the constituency.
Jha, also a Purvanchali, polled 138,000 votes (62.8%) while the JD (U)’s Shailendra Kumar and RJD’s Pramod Tyagi got 51,440 and 2,278 votes and respectively.
“Neither did BJP’s communal intentions nor its caste politics worked. This election was on development and people voted for a government which can deliver on real issues ranging from education, health, transport and pollution. So, the factor of Purvanchali or Pahari, nothing applied to this election. All communities have voted for development and an honest government,” said Pankaj Gupta, the AAP’s national secretary.
The AAP’s picks in Seema Puri (Rajendra Pal Gautam) and Sangam Vihar (Dinesh Mohaniya) delivered the most comprehensive victories, with each getting around 65% of the votes.