The much-touted ‘triangular contest’ in the Delhi assembly poll is bound to be interesting, but would it be adequately issue-based? While the Aam Aadmi Party is trying to break it down to individual problems and poll planks, with Arvind Kejriwal’s onslaught of sloganeering and declaration of intentions of shouldering responsibility reaching a crescendo of sort, what are the agendas of the Shiela Dikshit-led ruling Congress party and the Vijay Goel-steered BJP? Evidently, Dikshit is eyeing an unprecedented fourth term in the national capital, while the BJP is salivating at the prospect of return to power after 15 years of being in the sidelines of Delhi durbar. With the chief ministerial candidates having been announced, the contest is likely to weigh equally in favour of all three, while the 1.15 crore voters in the city would be additionally armed with the negative voting option. Naturally, the electoral strategies and poll-bound punditry have been upped in all three camps, but amongst the troika of the union territory, maximum political buccaneering is coming from the cohorts of Kejriwal and gang.
It is true that the AAP has been eating into the opposition space that had been previously occupied by the BJP, with Kejriwal’s insistence on the Jan Lokpal Bill, rising utility bills and other bones of contention trying to egg on the voters in his party’s direction. The BJP too, having won the municipal elections in 2012, is hoping to capture the assembly after a long haul. It is being estimated that AAP could command almost 27 per cent of the vote share, thereby chewing off a substantial chunk of BJP’s poll claim, though the jury is not yet out on Sheila Dikshit’s dipping popularity amongst the denizens of Delhi. Nevertheless, corruption and price rise remain the chief discontents of the residents of the national capital, with the recent hike in onion prices likely to become a crucial poll plank. Clearly, anti-incumbency would prove to be the decisive factor, but Dikshit, a formidable strategist, could furnish poll-centric sops this month to garner the lion’s share in the November assembly elections.