Today is indeed going to be a very significant day as far as the fate of Delhi is concerned. After a prolonged period of cut-throat campaigning, political sloganeering and popular rhetoric, hefty promises and a melodramatic tussle of words- the results of the Delhi elections are to be out soon.
The Delhi election results will in a sense be no less than a litmus test of two counter narratives- the polarisation factor unleashed by India’s recently passed and contentious Citizenship Act and the mobilisation of the Hindutva sentiment as a strategy put forward by the BJP and the AAP’s campaign primarily based on the work done in the last five years by the Arvind Kejriwal led government.
If the results turn out to be in favour of the two time Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, he will become Delhi’s CM for the third time.
On the other hand, if the BJP comes to power then it will surely enhance its electoral confidence as it last came to power in Delhi in 1993. The BJP is also eyeing Delhi because in the last three assembly elections of Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Maharashtra it was voted out of power after an aggressive battle in a moment of national embarrassment. If one were to take the exit polls seriously, it indicates that the AAP is all set for a victory in the Capital and will come with an overwhelming strength of 50 seats.
It also indicates that the BJP is likely to improve from the three seats it got the last time but will still finish far behind the AAP. Most exit polls are giving the once most important political force in Delhi, the Congress 0-2 seats.
It was in 2015 that the AAP had come to power in Delhi with a majority of 67 seats out of a total of 70 seats, it garnered 54% of the total vote share.
BJP polled 32% votes in 2015 although it surged to 56% in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress got only 10% votes in 2015.
In this season of election campaigning the BJP built on the Hinduta narrative, the importance of CAA and enticing communal sentiments while the AAP relied on subsidised electricity and water to better public infrastructure in terms of schools and hospitals.
While Union Home Minister Amit Shah held 52 roadshows on his own, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal launched his own report card which said that it had fulfilled 70 out of 7o promises it had made in its 2015 manifesto.
He also issued a ten point guarantee card assuring round the clock drinking water, electricity etc. To also ensure that the Hindu ‘nationalist’ vote bank is not turned off, it promised a ‘deshbhakti curriculum’ to be introduced in schools to instil patriotism and pride if the residents of Delhi where to vote it back to power.
While PM Modi in his election rallies called out the importance of the CAA and the Shaheen Bagh protestors as part of a “design” to destroy amity in the country, many provocative remarks were also made by BJP leaders like Minister of Finance(State)Anurag Thakur and West Delhi MP Pravesh Verma leading them from being banned from campaigning for several hours by the Election Commission.
While Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath capitalised on the communal sentiment and accused the state’s present CM Arvind Kejriwal of feeding biryani to protestors at Shaheen Bagh and therefore nurturing the alleged traitors of the land, the Congress lacked the spark in it campaigns.
The Congress rallies starring party chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi only took place a week before the polls.
The party mainly campaigned around the development work that happened during the tenure of former chief minister Shiela Dixit. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that if Arvind Kejriwal were to come to power once again in Delhi, it would be a remarkable hat-trick given its eight long years and would signal a thumbs-up to Arvind Kejriwal to expand his national footprint. On the other hand, for the party ruling at the Centre it would capture the slide and downfall of the party in the state elections but if it wins, it would give it a boost ahead of the Bihar polls.
With much expectation, excitement and hope, the citizens of Delhi wait to see the unveiling of Delhi’s next chief minister. Who will it be?