Lok Sabha Elections 2019 | Triangular or direct: BJP awaits competitor in Delhi
The suspense over the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) alliance has cast a shadow on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate selection for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.
Senior BJP leaders say that the party has decided to wait and watch the developments on the alliance before announcing its candidates.
Senior BJP leaders say that AAP-Congress alliance would have direct ramifications on at least four to five parliamentary constituencies, especially those that have a sizeable Muslim population such as North East, East and Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituencies. In South, West, Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi, there is a high percentage of slums and unauthorised colonies and resettlement colonies, which are considered AAP’s stronghold.
While a senior BJP leader said the party would benefit in a triangular fight with the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party candidates, a direct contest with an alliance candidate could make it tough.
With Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hinting at the possibility of an alliance with AAP, senior BJP leaders say this would further delay the party’s decision to
declare the names of its candidates from Delhi.
Speculation is rife about party contemplating to field new faces, including former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, on a few seats. “The alliance will change the dynamics on all the seats,” said a senior BJP leader.
The leader citied the results of the 2017 municipal polls when the BJP had won 181 out of 272 wards and returned to power in the three municipalities.
The BJP leaders attribute the victory to the improvement in the Congress’s performance as one of the many factors. This was despite a strong anti-incumbency against the BJP, which has been in power in the civic bodies since 2007. The Congress’ vote share increased to 21.09% from 9.8% in 2015, splitting the anti-BJP vote and limiting AAP to 48 seats.
“A direct contest between the BJP and the alliance candidate will make it a close contest for us on a few seats,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
But, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari believes that an opposition alliance will not be an issue. He said that if the two opposition parties came together, it will still only benefit the BJP.
“This will expose their hypocrisy,” he said. “The AAP came to power by accusing Sheila Dikshit and the Congress of corruption. But now they want to ally with them to defeat BJP. Kejriwal has already admitted defeat before the elections, as they have been pushing for alliance. The two parties have not only conceded defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, but have also given up on assembly elections in 2020.”
Earlier, the BJP central leadership was said to be unhappy with the list of probable candidates prepared by the party’s state unit. Senior BJP leaders had then said that the state unit was asked to send a new list of names.