Delhi election results 2020: With the Delhi election results set to be declared on Tuesday, it will be a litmus test of two narratives — the polarisation quotient of the new Citizenship law and Hindutva strategy put forward by the BJP and the AAP’s campaign around the five years of work done by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government.
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While Kejriwal will look to return for a third stint in power in the national capital, the stakes are higher for the BJP, which last formed a government in 1993 and is coming on the back of electoral setbacks in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The Congress is largely being seen as playing third fiddle in the capital contest.
However, if exit polls are to be believed, the AAP is set to retain Delhi, with most pollsters giving them more than 50 seats. BJP will improve on the tally of three seats it got the last time but still finish a distant second. Congress, which drew a blank last time, seems to be routed again, with most exit polls giving it 0-2 seats.
In the 2015 elections, AAP had come to power with a majority of 67 in the Delhi Assembly of 70 seats, garnering 54 per cent of the vote share. BJP polled 32 per cent votes in 2015 even though it surged to 56 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Congress got just 10 per cent of votes in 2015.
The high octane and, sometimes, vitriolic campaigning in the Delhi elections saw AAP assiduously taking its policy and governance-related schemes to the Delhi citizens while BJP deployed its whole rank-and-file on the ground, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself holding 52 roadshows.
Besides showcasing its free water and electricity subsidy schemes, AAP released its “report card” in which it claimed to have fulfilled all the 70 promises it made in the 2015 manifesto. Later, Kejriwal also issued a 10-point “guarantee card”, assuring round-the-clock clean drinking water and continuation of power and water subsidies. Its manifesto promised a “deshbhakti” curriculum in schools, highlighting that education would be its priority for the next five years if it returned to power.
On the other hand, BJP focused its campaign around Shaheen Bagh, where protests against the new Citizenship law have been on for almost two months now. Even in his first election rally in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Shaheen Bagh protests a “design” to destroy amity in the country.
The elections also saw the Election Commission stepping in on several occasions amid provocative remarks by several BJP leaders. It barred Minister of State (Finance) Anurag Thakur from campaigning for 96 hours after he encouraged the crowd at a BJP election rally to chant “desh ke gaddaron ko goli maaro saalon ko”.
Similarly, West Delhi MP Verma was also barred from campaigning for saying that Shaheen Bagh protesters could “enter homes and rape sisters and daughters”. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also criticised for repeatedly referring to Pakistan, Shaheen Bagh and biryani during his campaign.
The Congress, which ruled Delhi for three terms from 1998 to 2013, lacked the spark in its campaigns and was a late starter, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi holding rallies only in the last week before polling. The party mainly campaigned around the development work that happened during the tenure of former chief minister Shiela Dikshit.
A victory for AAP would be a shot in the arm for the eight-year-old party and prompt Kejriwal to expand its national footprint while for the BJP it would arrest the slide of the saffron party in state elections and give it a boost ahead of the Bihar polls.
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