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In 2013, AAP won just one of the 14 seats in rural Delhi — the Deoli reserved constituency, where it had the lead in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as well. In 2013, the BJP won 12 seats in rural Delhi (barring Deoli and Mundka), and in 2014, 13 (barring Deoli).
This time, the AAP has won all 14 rural seats — 13 of them by huge, five-digit margins. In Najafgarh, where it has won by a narrow 1,555-vote margin, the runner-up is not the BJP, but Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD.
What remains to be seen if these results are indicative of a larger trend of farming communities — Jats, Gujjars and Yadavs — moving away from the BJP after having backed it in the Lok Sabha and Haryana assembly elections.
There could be several influencing factors — among them, the Narendra Modi government’s ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act, moderate increases in minimum support prices for wheat and paddy, shortages and black marketing of urea, mounting sugarcane price arrears, and appointment of a non-farming community chief minister in Haryana.
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“The 2013 Act had a section that required acquired land not used within five years for the stated purpose to be returned to the original owner. By removing this provision and also granting exemptions on seeking consent from landowners prior to acquisition, the BJP government sent wrong signals to farmers. It had an impact in the Delhi polls,” Yaduveer Singh, general secretary of the All India Jat Mahasabha, said.
While agriculture issues may not matter much for Delhi per se, they have a resonance because “many of us have relatives in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh”. Modi’s promise of ensuring at least 50 per cent profit while fixing MSPs had led farming communities to back BJP. “But this time, they decided to ensure the party’s defeat and voted for AAP,” Singh said.