However, the state which would continue to hog the limelight and whose electoral outcome would be eagerly awaited is that of Delhi. Given the stalemate that continues in Delhi with none being in a position to form the government or inclined to do, after the drama of resignation of Kejriwal, it seems fresh election is the only possible way forward, which is expected to be clubbed along with the elections in other major states later this year.
For both Congress and AAP, Delhi elections would be an extremely crucial litmus test. While Congress would be desperate to regain at least some of the grounds it lost in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections , for AAP the Delhi elections would be a 'do or die' situation for the party which tried to bite more than it can chew and is now mired in tremendous infighting as well.
However, it is not to say that the stakes are not high for BJP. In fact for BJP, the forthcoming assembly elections especially in Delhi along with Maharashtra and Haryana would be an equally critical litmus test as for others.
Even though the Modi wave and the momentum are with the party vis-a-vis a beleaguered opposition, victory in the forthcoming assembly elections would help the party to consolidate further. However if BJP does not do well in states like Delhi, opposition parties would be quick to portray it as a vote against NDA Government.
Therefore for BJP to keep the momentum in its favour, it has to make sure that it does not repeat the same mistakes that it did before the Delhi Assembly elections last year when it was late in declaring the party's Chief Ministerial candidate.
Who is BJP's Dark Horse for Delhi Assembly Elections?
The issue of infighting between different factions in Delhi BJP is not a secret. Last time before all of it spilt over and ruined chances of the party, the decision to project Dr Harsh Vardhan as the CM candidate barely a month before polls did stem the tide and the party emerged as the single largest party in spite of not having enough numbers to form the government on its own.
Speculation about Lekhi will get stronger if she isn't given a ministerial birth
This time, even though the BJP managed a stellar performance in the Lok Sabha elections and won all the seven seats in Delhi, it cannot take the voter preference for granted and would need to put forward a strong CM candidate which people at large would accept. With Dr Harsh Vardhan having joined the Central Government and has been made the Union Health Minister, BJP would need to hunt for a new candidate for the Delhi job. The key question then that arises is whether BJP has kept a dark horse for the top job in Delhi.
Is Meenakshi Lekhi emerging as BJP's Secret Weapon for Delhi Assembly Elections?
Among those who have been strong contenders for ministerial berths and who have not yet been inducted includes Meenakshi Lekhi from Delhi. Her stellar performance in terms of defeating Congress heavyweight Ajay Maken in the most prestigious New Delhi constituency cannot be counted as just another victory but one which is impressive. In spite of the expected defeat of Congress, there were no doubts about some regional satraps who did not need the party and could win on their own. Ajay Maken was one such candidate and defeating him means quite a lot.
What may indeed work in her favour....
For a cosmopolitan and upwardly mobile place like Delhi where issues of caste and creed matter much less than her bigger counterparts like UP or Haryana and under the situation of non-availability of Dr Harsh Vardhan, Meenakshi lekhi, given her considerable popularity as a result of her appearances in television talk shows as BJP representative known for her strong arguments and conviction and her activist image does suit the party's requirement of a strong candidate for Delhi.
If Lekhi is not given a ministerial berth in the ensuing expansion, then the whispers of she being kept as the dark horse for the forthcoming Delhi elections might get stronger. While other names like that of Kiran Bedi had also popped up but she being a rank outsider in the party might not be chosen for the top job in Delhi. Given the level of factionalism that does exist in Delhi BJP, what might work in Meenakshi Lekhi's favour is the fact she does not belong to any faction either.
Given her oratory skills and being a strong advocate for female rights, pitching her as BJP's CM candidate against Kejriwal can checkmate both Congress and AAP in Delhi.