AAP at the cusp of historic victory in Delhi assembly elections

Will Kejriwal mend his ways and get to work earnestly?

By Rajiv Theodore

NEW DELHI: In about 24-hours Delhi would know who will form the new government: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by India’s flamboyant Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the fledgling, rookie, just three-years-into-the-game Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)—the new kid on the block led by Arvind Kejriwal, a product of an anti-corruption movement. Nobody expects the Congress Party to make a comeback.

Most exits polls favor the AAP. Some of the verdicts out there:

C-Voter: AAP is expected to get 31 to 39 seats, BJP 27 to 35, Congress 2 to 4.

ABP-Nielsen: AAP is expected to get 39, BJP 28 and Congress 3.

Cicero: AAP is expected to get 39 seats, BJP 26 and Congress 3.

News Nation: AAP is expected to get 39 to 43 seats, BJP 25 to 29 and Congress 1 to 3

India News: AAP is expected to get 53 seats, BJP 17, Congress 0.

News 24-Today’s Chanakya: AAP is expected to get 44 seats, BJP 22 and Congress 0.

These predictions point to just one direction—an AAP landslide victory, despite Modi rubbishing such outlook from exit polls.

Today’s Chanakya came out also with a percentage of voters divided through caste and community lines—the Baniyas (traders); Brahmins (traditionally on top  of the social ladder by virtue of their birth); Punjabi (constituting of the erstwhile migrant community, displaced during the 1947 partition of the sub-continent, and now engaged in trading and business activities mainly), the Muslims (living on the fringes of the capital, mostly in ghettos); the OBCs (Other Backward Classes, like the dominant farming/pastoral communities like Jats, Yadavas, Gujjars etc.) and the SCs (Scheduled Castes who are supposed to be at the bottom of the social pyramid).

All the six groups examined by the exit poll agency comes out with just one pointer—these groups have also voted for AAP in an unprecedented show of solidarity. Notable among them are the Muslims; 71% of them have gone for AAP.

The writing on the wall says AAP is all set to form the government in all probability and the opposition, BJP and the Congress, at best could hope for a hung assembly.

Today, the denizens of the city are an exhausted lot, tired of the scheming, plotting and rampant politicking of its current rulers, the politicians. Many feel there is not much to look forward to, especially after a series of corruption scandals rocked the nation, mainly from the ranks of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

If the exit polls are anything to go by, the voters of Delhi are ready to give a second chance to political novices who are promising to cleanse the system.

Women’s safety, infrastructure, housing, improving the police force are on top of the agenda of people’s concerns, all part of the AAP agenda. The party’s symbol, a broom, symbolic of cleansing the system, has connected with the electorate. Many identify themselves with it, and that’s made inroads into heavy vote banks of the poor, the middle class and the Muslims.

Thus, it’s no rocket science that AAP has gained from strength to strength, despite predictions that the party splintered and were demoralized after Kejriwal squandered away a bright chance after it won the mandate to govern Delhi last year.

It remains, however, to be seen if the party takes this second chance, if they do cross the finish line tomorrow, and get to work earnestly, or squander it away again. It the latter happens, it would surely be the end of the party.

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