NEW DELHI(dna print edition): Delhi voters showed, perhaps, the best performance in recent years by turning out in large numbers on Saturday for the Assembly election. If exit polls are any indication, voters have given a decisive vote in favour of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The high turn-out localities proved to be areas mostly housing lower middle-class and slum-dwellers, suggesting that the one-and-half-year-old AAP is sailing through comfortably.
It was a direct BJP vs AAP fight, with the oldest political party, the Congress, failing to make either an impact or presence in the polling booths. It was apparent that AAP has pounced on the Congress vote-bank quite heavily across Delhi.
A class divide, the BJP’s failure to make inroads into the poor sections of society and lower middle class and the choice of Kiran Bedi as chief ministerial candidate apparently are taking a toll on the party. Almost all exit polls predicted that voters will give another chance to 46-year old AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal to be the chief minister of Delhi.
The BJP is projected to end up with 26 seats, while AAP’s clear gain is from pushing the Congress from last time’s eight seats to just three now.
Bedi almost conceded defeat as she went on TV to thank the BJP for placing trust in her to lead the party to victory. She was, however, careful to wish that the exit polls may not prove to be the final truth. “My soul still says BJP will win,” Bedi tweeted.
Kejriwal, however, declared that Delhi has rejected the politics of caste and religion. The heavy turnout in the past has been a happy news for the BJP. But latest calculations show it may favour AAP this time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was huddled with the BJP core group of party chief Amit Shah and union ministers Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to make an assessment. The core group, however, opted to wait for the results on Tuesday.
A class divide was also visible. English-speaking, higher middle-class voters were praising Modi for getting US president Barack Obama to the country. In lower income areas, the dice was in favour of AAP. Even families were divided on the choice of parties. The elders, whom dna spoke to favoured the BJP, while the younger generation backed AAP.
Kejriwal was chief minister last time for 49 days and he resigned when his minority government failed to push the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly. AAP went to polls this time, seeking a five-year term from voters, with an express promise that he would not desert them like last time.
He had formed the government despite not having a majority, only after the Congress supported him. The BJP, the single-largest party, refused to assume power without majority.