Delhi Assembly Election 2020: BJP internal survey says Shaheen Bagh may help boost tally
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s fortunes in the Delhi assembly elections are on an upswing, according to an internal poll that gives them at least 30-35 of the 70 seats in the Capital, according to people familiar with the matter.
One of the main reasons for the change, according to two key leaders HT spoke to, is building resentment against the sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh, which has blocked a key arterial road in the city, leading to traffic chaos in several parts of south and east Delhi for over 40 days.
The “negative perception” surrounding the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, protests at the site and across the country is also helping turn the tide, they added.
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The leaders contended that, with nearly weeks to go for the polls, the BJP tally may rise further. The party won only three seats in the 2015 elections, which were swept by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“It is true that now we are doing very well. People have reacted to the Shaheen Bagh mentality — Manish Sisodia’s statement that he and his party stand with Shaheen Bagh has helped us,” Delhi BJP chief and MP Manoj Tiwari said.
Echoing him, South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri said it was a combination of two factors— the Shaheen Bagh agitation, which helped mobilise the BJP’s campaign of showing disruptive elements; and “exposing the AAP government on its failures”.
“If you ask me, then [anti-]S haheen Bagh sentiments worked in our favour, but what also worked was us being able to tell people that the AAP government had denied the people of Delhi the Ayushman Bharat (medical insurance scheme) offered by the Modi government,” Bidhuri said.
“Our tally will increase, and we will overtake AAP in the next three or four days,” he said.
Other leaders said the optimism stems from campaign speeches by home minister Amit Shah. A senior leader who asked not to be named, said Shah told partymen that he got good feedback from most segments during his campaign.
To build on the momentum, a note has been sent to all MPs that they should spend the first half of their day in Parliament (the session on January 31) but after 3pm, they should head to areas in the Capital to campaign among their own communities. This especially applies to MPs from Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and other states with a regional representation in Delhi voter base.
P Muralidhar Rao, the in charge of Karnataka; Sunil Deodhar, the in charge of Andhra Pradesh; and Sudip Roy Burman, Tripura MLA, are all camping in the Capital to gather small but significant pockets of votes.
“Three of us from Bengal have been told to go and campaign in areas where there is a sizable number of Bengalis,” MP Locket Chatterjee said. However, not everyone in BJP is certain about the party’s prospects. A party leader told HT it might be difficult to turn away a large chunk of voters who were impressed with CM Arvind Kejriwal. “There are still about 20%-25% undecided voters. This is a huge number and we are working to turn them towards us,” he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party functionaries HT spoke to said they will not comment on the internal survey of another party that they have not seen.