Would BJP have preferred solo or allied fights by AAP and Congress in Delhi
New Delhi, May 07: The electoral battle in all the seven Lok Sabha seats of Delhi would be three cornered and this makes the contest interesting as the voters of the national capital are known to surprise even the most experienced political analysts.
The way Delhiites voted barely eight months after sending seven Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2014 is a testimony that a typical Delhi voter is aware, politically astute and in a way very demanding. In 2015 Delhi assembly elections, residents of Delhi overwhelmingly voted for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Arvind Kejriwal-led party won a whopping 67 of 70 seats.
Delhiites clearly know whom they want at the Centre and who may govern the city state well. One may say that AAP is in a strong position because they won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi assembly polls, but then the way Kejriwal-led party pressed the Congress for alliance in the last two months, did not show that AAP is all that confident.
A political observer who follows Delhi politics closely told OneIndia that Kejriwal is aware that AAP's support base in Delhi is eroding. The party is not as popular as it was in 2015 when they were seen as a political party with 'a difference' made up of anti-corruption crusaders. They stormed to power in 2015 because people could relate to Kejriwal and co. who seemed like one of them, the true 'Aam Aadmis'.
That perception has now however changed and Kejriwal, by openly showing desperation to ally with the Congress, further antagonised those voters who switched their loyalties from the Congress to AAP in 2015. And such voters (preferring AAP over Congress) are in large numbers, and these numbers make it crystal clear.
Looking at the vote shares between 2013 to 2015, the AAP's vote share grew sharply, the BJP's fluctuated within a limit, but the Congress' plummetted sharply. In Delhi assembly elections 2013 and 2015, the AAP's vote share rose from 29 per cent to 54 per cent, BJP's was down from 33 per cent to 32 cent, but Congress' vote share fell from 25 per cent to 10 per cent. AAP's thumping performance in 2015 was due to loyal Congress voters switching over to AAP, and not BJPs. BJP's core voters remain intact. Given this, if Kejriwal reaches out to Congress, then it is bound to leave those who chose AAP over Congress irked.
What will the BJP prefer?
For the BJP, both AAP and Congress fighting seperately is a favourable situation. The above mentioned numbers show that despite AAP's landslide win in the 2015 Delhi elections, the BJP's core voter base has more or less remained intact. The section of voters divided between Congress and AAP will remain divided now that both are contesting seperately. When the Congress and AAP leaders sent mixed signals over the alliance in April, the BJP kept silent and watched with bated breath because the outcome would have had a bearing on their performance.
"The BJP would prefer a three way fight. See, Congress voters will not go to the BJP, but they may not be averse to vote for the AAP. It the case of alliance also, an AAP loyalist, for example, may even skip voting in places where Congress would have fielded theirs or vice versa. A three way fight is beneficial to the BJP. By AAP and Congress not joining hands, they (BJP) got what they wanted," a veteran journalist from Delhi said.
When asked how many could the BJP win in Delhi in 2019 polls, he said, "It is going to be 6-1. Sheila Dikshit will definetely win one seat for Congress and in rest of the constituencies, Congress may end up in third place."
All not well in Delhi's BJP unit:
Manoj Tiwari is the Delhi BJP president currently. A veteran journalist who has been following activities of the Delhi BJP closely, says that a rebellion of sorts is brewing againt Tiwari who was instated as Delhi BJP chief from the top leadership. After Tiwari was made the head, Satish Upadhyay, a former BJP Delhi president, was sidelined. Upadhyay's supporters, who are in fairly good numbers, do not entirely back Tiwari. Upadhyay used to pe popular among BJP's top leadership, but the relationship turned sour when he opposed the move to project Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate in 2015.