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Cong set to come back to power in Delhi: HT poll

An exclusive election survey carried out for Hindustan Times by CSDS shows Cong as a big winner.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2003 02:58 IST


The Congress is set to come back to power in Delhi. Six weeks from election day, the ruling party appears to have established a runaway lead that the BJP can at best hope to shorten. The margin of the Congress's victory could be as big as last time — or bigger.

An exclusive opinion poll-based election survey carried out for the

Hindustan Times

by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) shows that the Congress is the clear leader in the vote-share race. Forty-eight per cent of Delhi's voters say they will vote for the party. The BJP is a distant second at 31 per cent. The rest of the field — BSP, the Third Front and other parties — will have a marginal impact on the result.


More in Graphics: BJP loses ground, all around

The poll reflects the mood of the voter during the period it was conducted — September and October. But Delhi's disposition is unlikely to change dramatically between now and December 1.

Even accounting for a two per cent error margin either way, the Congress is still placed very comfortably. Last election's result puts the 17 per cent lead in perspective. In 1998, the Congress polled 47.8 per cent of the vote, while the BJP was 14 per cent behind with 34. This translated to 53 seats for the Congress and just 14 for the BJP. That suggests a result along similar lines this time.

The survey reflected a high degree of approval for Sheila Dikshit's government: her popularity rating was much higher than Madan Lal Khurana's. The Congress's support was spread quite evenly across regions and social groups, and the party was doing very well among the young and unattached voters when compared with the BJP.

Although a late swing is improbable, it isn't impossible. Nearly a fifth of the respondents said they weren't sure they'd vote the same way on December 1 as they did in the survey. Poor selection of candidates can ruin anyone's chances. So could out-of-control dengue, a very poor turnout, or severe infighting in the Congress.

Predicting election results is a bit like predicting the weather, but the scale of the HT-CSDS Delhi Survey 2003 significantly improves its chances of being accurate. The survey is still on, and will be the largest social scientific survey of political opinions and attitudes in any Indian city when it is completed next month. The projection so far is based on 9,765 interviews with voters representative of every section and class. They were conducted in over 1,000 localities spread over 55 constituencies.

We may be headed for a repeat of 1998

Survey sample size: 9,765. Conducted over September and October. Table projects vote-shares for December polls

PartiesElection 1998 (actual)Survey 2003 (projected)
Congress4848
BJP3431
BSP33
Others1518

All figures in percentages; Others include Independents.

First Published: Oct 20, 2003 00:40 IST