Clean water, affordable housing and healthcare are complemented by caste and star power in Delhi.
- No alliance of AAP and Congress gives fresh breath of oxygen to BJP’s chances in Delhi.
- High profile achievers have been slotted by the parties in Delhi to resonate with the voters in educated areas.
- Unemployment, affordable houses, improved water supply, functional healthcare centres are priority issues for Delhi voters.
- 5.6 million people which is nearly one- third of the capital’s residents live in unauthorised colonies and slums.
The capital of India is going under polls in the 6th phase of the 2019 elections. Delhi comprises of 7 parliamentary constituencies. It has more migrants than the locals, which will play a decisive role.
Delhi is currently witnessing a triangular fight between AAP, BJP and INC. However, in order to defeat BJP, INC and AAP were touted to set up an alliance but later Congress backtracked. Riding high on the Modi wave in 2014, BJP wiped out all the 7 seats.
But the AAP made a comeback in February 2015 by winning 67 of the 70 Assembly seats. However, the mood of the voters has changed due to the anti-incumbency over the years.
Voter Mood in the Capital
An alliance with Congress would have helped in consolidating the anti-BJP votes but logic failed to persist for the opposition. Also, ex- colleague and political activist, Yogendra Yadav is urging the Delhi voters to opt for NOTA, which may be negative for AAP’s hopes.
A dip in the AAP support base has given much-needed oxygen to BJP. An estimated 5.6 million people, nearly one- third of the capital’s residents, live in unauthorised colonies and slums. So, issues like unemployment, affordable houses, improved water supply, functional healthcare centres and hospitals might be imperative this election.
Candidates and their chances
North East Delhi
The constituency is a fight between Congress veteran and ex-Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, BJP’s Manoj Tiwari and AAP’s Dilip Pandey. The incumbent MP might face anti-incumbency due to issues like lack of development in unauthorised colonies, bad shape of roads and contaminated water, which resonate with Delhi residents.
Tiwari being an artist and hailing from Bihar, he is quite popular among the working class Bhojpuri community. Working class migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar make up the highest concentration of expatriates in Delhi.
Poorvanchalis and Muslims are the other two communities that will play adominant and decisive role in these election. Muslims make up around 23%, and are largely concentrated in Mustafabad, Seelampur and Ghonda assembly segments.
With the core vote base of AAP and Congress being the same i.e. Muslims, Dalits and low- income groups, likely division of votes gives an upper hand to BJP. The anti- incumbency factor will work against AAP being is in power in the state.
Dilip Pandey being a first- time candidate is not expected to garner a major vote share. Shelia Dixit, being 3 -time Chief Minister, will be able to attract voters but has an uphill task winning the constituency.
DKODING verdict: BJP’s Manoj Tiwari should have a comfortable win.
The constituency sees a fight between BJP’s Harsh Vardhan, Congress’ Jai Prakash Aggarwal and AAP’s Pankaj Gupta. The battle is mainly between BJP and Congress candidates as AAP’s debutant will struggle to create much impact.
Also, due to internal party differences, Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba has not campaigned for Gupta. The constituency sees an anti- BJP wave due to impact of GST, Demonetization and sealing drive against commercial establishments.
The trading community with around 18% Vaishya community traders usually supports BJP. The Congress and AAP bank on Muslim and SC voters, who are 14% and 16% in the constituency. The vote will be divided among the parties, ultimately an advantage to BJP.
As a result, there would be a battleground situation as there is anti-incumbency against BJP and Congress faces loss due to the division of votes with AAP.
DKODING verdict: BJP’ Harsh Vardhan might prevail but Congress’ Jai Prakash Aggarwal will give a tough fight.
East Delhi is the most publicised battleground in Delhi. The fight here is between AAP candidate Atishi, BJP’s Gautam Gambhir and Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely. However, the major battle is between Atishi and Gambhir, both popular personalities in their fields.
Atishi, as the advisor to Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia improved government schools and brought education reforms in Delhi. Her list of campaigners include film star Swara Bhasker, and Gujarat MLA and youth icon Jignesh Mevani.
Gambhir being a local boy and sports star will attract votes of almost every age-group. Historically, the PC is a stronghold forBJP. Congress candidate Lovely will struggle because of his ‘Dal badlu’ image before Delhi residents.
DKODING verdict: Anybody’s guess between AAP’s Atishi and BJP’s Gautam Gambhir.
The PC sees a fight between INC’s Ajay Maken, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi and AAP’s Brijesh Goyal. The battle is between INC and BJP candidates as Brijesh Goyal is lightweight before the other two.
Ajay Maken being the former MP has the edge this time due his positive image and dominance over the PC. Furthermore, Meenakshi Lekhi is currently facing high anti-incumbency due to the sealing drive issue and the Modi wave which led the PC won in 2014 has also been reduced.
DKODING verdict: Congress’ Ajay Maken has the edge.
North West Delhi
The PC sees a fight between BJP’s Hans Raj Hans, INC’s Rajesh Lilothia and AAP’s Gugan Singh. Consequently, the edge is seen towards the BJP as their candidate is a popular Sufi singer hailing from the Dalit community is able to attract the caste votes on his image.
This PC is a swing since 2009 and due to division of votes between the Congress and AAP and the unpopular image of the candidate will actually give an upper hand to BJP.
DKODING verdict: BJP’s Hans Raj Hans is expected to prevail.
The PC is mainly dominated by Jats, Gujjars and Poorvanchalis. The candidates are focusing on these caste groups to win the seat. Congress fielded Olympian boxer Vijender Singh from Jat community. On the other hand, BJP candidate Ramesh Bidhuri is a Gurjar.
Gurjar is riding high on the Modi card propagating the air and surgical strikes in his political campaigning. Likewise, Vijender Singh is trying to attract Jat and youth votes by personally meeting people.
South Delhi is a battleground situation as both the parties have fielded the caste candidates and being a swing seat since 2004, voter sentiment could tilt either way,
DKODING verdict: Tough to predict battle between BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri and Congress’ Vijender Singh.
Purvanchali, Jat, Sikh and Punjabi voters dominate West Delhi. The Jat votes will be divided because both AAP’s Balbir Singh Jakhar and BJP’s Parvesh Verma hail from the same community. But Verma is touted to take home the major chunk of votes based on his father’s goodwill and his developmental works in the area.
The Purvanchali community votes inclines towards BJP due to Modi. On the other hand Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra is likely to gain support of Sikh and Punjabi voters. However, Sajjan Kumar’s arrest in anti-Sikh riots might tarnish the party’s image. Hence, BJP is likely to have an upper hand in the constituency.
The core vote base of AAP and the Congress is same which leads to division of votes and ultimately giving an edge to BJP.
DKODING verdict: BJP’s Parvesh Verma should have a clear win.
- Sealing drive has emerged as the common issue of almost every parliamentary constituency in the capital.
- Caste votes are crucial with parties carefully combining star power and caste affinity in Delhi constituencies.
- Recent controversies plaguing AAP leaders has diminished its support base and overshadowed its performance as State Govt.
- Failure to form an alliance will prove a regretful decision for AAP and Congress, as BJP looks set for a near identical recap of the 2014 victory.