Monday, November 24, 2008

Delhi Assembly elections: Will BJP pip Congress?

Less than a week remains before Delhi goes to vote. Veteran BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra is leading the BJP campaign against Sheila Dixit who has been Chief Minister twice.

But the question is whether the anti-incumbency factor will work in favour of BJP or Dixit's image is strong enough to brave this sentiment? Malhotra is expected to get overwhelming support of the पंजाबी community.

But Dixit has managed to strike a chord with the citizens. She scores over other leader as far as image is concerned. Though there are all sorts of speculations, predicting an outcome is risky. Opinion polls have failed in the past because of the unique Indian voter who often doesn't confide his choice to anybody and can even lie if somebody asks him to which party he voted for.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting on all the 70 seats and the influence of the party on the voters with roots in UP can't be ignored. The BJP will gain, if the Dalit-Backward vote splits and goes to BSP while section of minorities vote for SP or the other third alternative. In constituencies with large Muslim populace, there was anger against UPA government until recently.

In constituencies that have large Muslim concentration like Babarpur, Matia Mahal and Balli Maran, the community has a strength from 40-50%. In Seelampur it is more than 60%. Though Okhlay that witnessed the Batla House encounter, may vote for the Samajwadi Party candidate, the situation may not be the same elsewhere.

In constituencies like Chandni Chowk, Simapuri, Vikaspuri, Babapur, Mustafabad and Sangampuri the Muslims form a chunk of electorate (20-30%). But the anger appears subsiding now. Except one or two constituencies, the Muslims appear all set to vote for better candidate on the basis of his work rather than getting misled over emotive issues.

If one goes by conventional political wisdom it has to be Sheila Dixit who faces a daunting task after two consecutive terms. But if the party manages to return to power, it will be to her credit and she will make history in the National Capital.

States like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Madhya Pradesh are also voting almost the same time. On November 29, people of Delhi will vote. Next month we will see whether lotus blooms in Delhi or the Congress hand tighets its fist on the metro. dekhiye oont kis karvat baithtaa hai....