Insight Delhi


With the #Aam Aadmi Party and the #Congress dithering over entering into a seat sharing deal, the BJP looks set to have the upper hand in Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats in the general elections due in a couple of months’ time. It is advantage BJP in the National Capital Territory.

            Till a year back, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party were not even on talking terms and avoided attending opposition meetings where both the parties would be represented. But this changed in the last few months with the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party leaders attending opposition conclaves or other gatherings such as the farmers’ rally in Delhi.

            Leaders across the political spectrum, who are trying to build an anti-BJP combine,  have also been emphasizing the need for putting up only one opposition candidate against the BJP in most if not all Lok Sabha constituencies. #Trinmool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister #Mamata Banerjee has often highlighted this issue.

            In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won all seven seats from Delhi. But just about a year later the party could win only three of the Delhi Assembly seats, with the remaining 67 going to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. The Congress drew a blank in the elections to the 70 member Assembly.

            A lot of water has flown down the Yamuna since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. Both the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party had won the Lok Sabha and the Delhi Assembly elections on the plank of the alleged widespread corruption during the Congress led UPA rule at the Centre from 2004 to 2014. This issue is no longer relevant, even though the BJP is trying hard to flog the #dead horse by bringing up the alleged corruption during the UPA days.

            The Narendra Modi dispensation is battling against the perception of mishandling of the economy manifested by rising unemployment and acute rural distress, evidenced by increasing farmer suicides. The Aam Aadmi Party also does not have the cushion of the Anna movement which had catapulted it to power in Delhi.

            The Congress has been down in the dumps in Delhi as well as the country as a whole. But there has been a glimmer of hope in the recent past with victories in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. Under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, the Congress has also been quick on its feet, reacting to various developments rapidly in a more effective manner. One sign of this came when the party entered into a deal with the Janata Dal (Secular) to form a coalition government in Karnataka after failing to win a majority on its own in the Assembly elections.

            Recent developments have given a new thrust to the Congress campaign. Earlier, other political parties either wanted to shun the Congress or to ignore it, holding the party to be too insignificant a player at the national level. This is no longer so.

            What is clear is that the Aam Aadmi Party would find it difficult to defeat the BJP on its own in the elections for the seven Lok Sabha seats in the National Capital Territory. The Congress may also find it difficult to win even one or two seats without allying with the Aam Aadmi Party.

            Most local leaders of the Congress in Delhi are not in favour of an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party. The stand of the national leadership on the issue is not yet clear. But time is running out fast. The Aam Aadmi Party has already come out with the names of its candidates for six of the seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi.

            It is apparent that if the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party do not ultimately enter into an alliance or seat sharing deal in the National Capital Territory, the BJP would be the net beneficiary. It would not be surprising if the party comes very close to retaining all seven seats in the elections to be held by May this year.