The Bharatiya Janata Party Thursday won massively in all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi again, leaving the Congress party in the second spot in five constituencies. AAP, surprisingly finished third as most of the exit polls predicted.
Despite Congress fielding some big names, the party seemed to be in a tough spot in Delhi. From North East Delhi, a contest between political heavyweights, BJP chief Manoj Tiwari won defeating Congress’s Delhi chief and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit. In East Delhi, which saw a controversial campaign between AAP’s Atishi and BJP’s Debutant Gautam Gambhir, the latter won a massive vote.
Meanwhile, in South, BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri won against AAP’s Raghav Chadha and boxer and Congress candidate Vijender Singh.
The BJP’s incumbent MP from West Delhi Parvesh Verma won with a maximum margin of over 3.49 lakh votes followed by Congress’s Mahabal Mishra was at the second spot. In Chandani Chowk, BJP’s Harsh Vardhan won against Congress’s former MP J P Agarwal.
Meenakshi Lekhi continued to win from the prestigious New Delhi parliamentary constituency against former union minister Ajay Maken of the Congress and Brijesh Goel of AAP.
The national capital of Delhi, which accounts for seven Lok Sabha seats, was a high stake battle for AAP. They are in power in the state assembly and had won by a brute majority in 2015.
Party poll planks
This time the election in Delhi saw a three-cornered contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), AAP and Congress. While Congress candidates in Delhi largely pitched their campaign on development work carried during Sheila Dikshit’s 15-years as Chief Minister and the NYAY scheme, the AAP focused on the promise of statehood and have credited themselves with improvements in government schools and subsidised health dispensaries called Mohalla clinics.
Watch | Worry for AAP as exit polls give Congress second post
Attacking the BJP, the Congress also reached out to traders citing steps taken by the then Congress government in 2006 to protect them from sealing.
The BJP, meanwhile, planned elaborate campaigns in Delhi’s slums and unauthorised colonies, which are considered an Aam Aadmi Party votebank, to “expose” the ruling party in Delhi. It also pledged to build roads and end parking woes in the city.
The national capital with seven constituencies — Chandni Chowk, East Delhi, New Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi, South Delhi, and West Delhi, holds an interesting electoral dynamics. In 1999, the BJP won all seven seats of the city; in 2004 and 2009, the INC won six and seven of the seven seats, respectively. In 2014, the BJP bagged all seven seats.
2014 VS 2019 elections
A deep dive into the data provided by the exit poll throws some interesting facts and figures.
The AAP’s vote share rose on the back of the Congress losing its vote share over the past few years. AAP had come in second on all seven Lok Sabha seats in 2014, with a vote share of around 33 per cent, while Congress got around 15 per cent of the total votes polled. The Congress’s vote share dipped to a little over 9% in the 2015 Assembly polls but they regained support in the 2017 municipal polls, where the party got 21 per cent of the votes.
This time, the political dynamics changed in the national capital. The BJP, like previous year, kept its vote share intact in Delhi and polled 47 per cent, according to the exit poll. Boosted by positive exit poll forecasts for the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP already lay foundation for the assembly elections in the city in 2020.
However, as the exit poll predicted, the AAP and Congress swapped their positions. AAP got 17 per cent vote share in the capital while Congress revived its fortunes with 30 per cent of total votes. Even as Delhi has experienced a ceaseless change in the past, the city revels in surprises.
Failed Congress- AAP alliance
Despite their bitter past, the AAP this time was keen to forge an alliance with the Congress so that, the combined support of the Dalit and Muslim voters in Delhi, spread across four of the seven seats, would ensure a certain BJP loss. But talks didn’t pan out and a section of Congress leaders admitted that this would not aid them in the long run.
Because of the alliance talks, Congress announced its list of candidates much later than AAP and BJP.
Kejriwal seemed to hint that the Aam Aadmi Party will fall short of its expectations. The chief minister claimed on May 18 that the city’s Muslim vote, which his party had been banking on, shifted to the Congress at the last moment. “Until 48 hours before polling, it seemed like all seven seats will come to AAP,” he said. “But at the last moment, the complete Muslim vote got shifted to the Congress. We are trying to figure out what happened.”
Many within the Congress party felt that had the AAP party stuck to Delhi and not been in an urgency to expand, it could have avoided the splitting of vote share with the Congress that is now likely to benefit the BJP.