Delhi poll results: AAP eyes hat-trick, seeks to consolidate base
The AAP fielded 46 of its sitting MLAs from the same constituencies they contested in the 2015 polls, keeping in mind their “good work” in their respective areas and their connect with locals.Updated: Feb 11, 2020 05:26 IST
For the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is seeking a third term in Delhi, the assembly election results are not only going to be a referendum on its work in the last five years, but also on AAP’s stature as a political party at the national level.
Delhi voted to elect a new assembly on Saturday and counting will begin from 8 am on Tuesday. The AAP fielded 46 of its sitting MLAs from the same constituencies they contested in the 2015 polls, keeping in mind their “good work” in their respective areas and their connect with locals.
The party introduced 23 fresh faces this time, including prominent leaders Raghav Chadha, Atishi and Dilip Pandey, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Delhi.
Delhi has 70 assembly constituencies and to have a majority, a party needs to win at least 36 seats. Though all exit polls have predicted a big win for AAP and placed the BJP at a distant second, all AAP workers have been asked to maintain a low-key till the time the results are not clear.
The workers have been told to teach the AAP headquarters in ITO only after 11 am. “AAP is winning this election hands down. But, we want to remain modest. So, celebrations will happen only once the party is certain about having a majority,” said a senior party leader, who didn’t want to be named.
Pankaj Gupta, national secretary of AAP, said, this election is going to be a referendum on the schemes and development work of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government.
“It is the first time in the country that an election has been fought on real issues such as health, education and welfare schemes. In AAP, we are ready to accept whatever the public mandate is. In every circumstance, the party under the leadership of Kejriwal will continue to work for the welfare of people,” he said.
“The BJP tried a lot to change the political discourse to Shaheen Bagh. It tried to polarise people along communal lines, but the people of Delhi have voted for the truth. They have voted for development and an honest government,” Gupta said.
But experts say, for AAP, this election is not only about their schemes resonating with the public. “The results will strongly reflect on the political stature of AAP at the national level. After its 49-day government in Delhi in 2013 and the 2015 assembly elections, which it swept by winning 67 of the 70 seats, AAP has been losing elections after elections. If the party wins these polls, it will have to think nationally and expand its leadership base,” said Sanjay Kumar of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
The BJP won all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital in the 2019 elections and its overall vote share was an overwhelming 57%. The AAP, in fact, finished third in terms of vote share.
In the 2017 Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, AAP suffered a 28 percentage points decline from its 2015 vote share, and the Congress gained the most in terms of votes. While the BJP finished first with a combined vote share of 36% in the three MCDs (North, South and East), the difference between the vote shares of AAP and the Congress came down to just five percentage points.
The party had also lost the bypolls held in Rajouri garden to the BJP the same year (2017). Before all this, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections too, AAP had lost. So, this election is a chance for the party to consolidate itself.