ByÂ Suhas AR:
December 4th is D-Day for the people of Delhi and the parties contesting the elections. At the hustings, the fate of 3 time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, BJP’s Dr. Clean Harsh Vardhan and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Aravind Kejriwal shall be decided. Through all the allegations and counter allegations, sting operations and rebuttals, through the ballot box, people of Delhi will decide who gets to rule for the next 5 years.
Though Delhi maybe a small state, the elections’ importance cannot be stated enough! For it has national implications, there is no doubt. If the Congress party springs a surprise and comes back to power, it will give it a fresh boost of energy, one that it badly needs and will stop the Modi juggernaut. If BJP comes up, it could very well be a clean sweep (depending on them winning Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh where the last opinion polls showed them ahead), and might well be a taster of what the general election might be like. If the Aam Aadmi Party succeeds in becoming a kingmaker, leading to a hung assembly, it will be the victory of David over Goliath. In just over an year, a man who wasn’t in politics would have tasted massive electoral success, for a party to win the first time out, it is unprecedented.
There are a number of issues at play in the elections from rising electricity prices, women’s safety, corruption etc. but what is most likely to be on the voter’s mind on polling date are rising prices. After 3 terms in office, there will no doubt be anti-incumbency in the state, coupled with the unpopularity of the UPA, at the centre it will indeed be quite an achievement if the Congress comes back to power. Yet that could be distinctly possible, depending on how well the Aam Aadmi party does. If AAP ends up splitting the anti-incumbency vote, it could end up helping the Congress party.
A few weeks ago, things were looking rosy for the AAP, opinion polls gave it a thumbs up, but right now after Media Sarkar’s expose that has been conducted it does leave it in bit of a soup. The very basis of the AAP was that of being a different party, yet even if there is doubt in the minds of the voters, on D Day the voter may choose to give it a thumbs down.
Opinion polls are showing contrasting pictures, with the C Voter —Times Now poll predicting a hung assembly on one hand; while the India Today Group predicted a convincing win for BJP with it set to grab 36 seats. Another dichotomy needs to be noted; none of the polls predicted the Congress returning to power; yet all of them showed Sheila Dikshit to be the most popular choice for CM! Food for thought for the political parties!
The bookies however have made their choice clear; they are backing the BJP and Dr. Harsh Vardhan to come to power. The bookies have priced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the lowest at 2.25 paise and the Congress, despite the anti-incumbency factor, at 2.40 paise as a close second. The AAP at 3.40 paise is the least likely to win in Delhi and therefore the “most risky” to bet on according to a report in India Today.
The reasons for the bookies behind the same are many. There is massive anti-incumbency against the government coupled with Food Price Inflation hitting the roof, the BJP as the principal opposition party stands to gain. The AAP has been stung by the alleged expose by Media Sarkar. Whether the tapes or genuine or not, it sure has planted doubts in the minds of the voter, and has also led to key members of the AAP quitting in protest. Dr Harsh Vardhan is also seen as a clean candidate and Narendra Modi is the most popular candidate for Prime Minister, which could all benefit the BJP!
So if you had to ask me, who would I bet on? My reply would be that I would keep the money in my pocket. It certainly has the makings of a close election. However don’t be surprised if on Dec 8, Delhi has turned saffron!