Delhi awaits a wind of change : Bipin Sharma , Associate News Editor (Hon.),

Delhi awaits a wind of change :
Bipin Sharma

As I write this piece, only a few hours are left for the final results of the 2015 Delhi Assembly Polls to be declared officially. Though the exit polls have already declared the winners and the losers, the actual coronation of the winning CM nominee would happen only after the declaration of actual election results on 10th February.
These are unprecedented times, when history is going to be re-written on Feb 10, 2015 when the results to these elections are going to be announced. The two main parties in the fray namely the AamAadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP till few days ago seemed to be headed for a photo finish. However a sense of complacency on the part of BJP compared to the exhaustive and relentless campaign by the AAP cadre across the length and breadth of the capital city seemed to have titled the balance in favour of the latter.
Even in the 2013 Assembly Polls, the BJP may have finished at the top of the table, it was actually the performance of the AAP which set the cat among the pigeons when they managed to stun everyone with 28 seats.
Since no party had a majority, the AAP eventually formed the government with the support of the Congress. However the alliance was short lived as CM Kejriwal resigned after a brief 49 day stint.
Coming back to the 2015 Delhi Assembly Polls, while the fight is actually between the AAP and the BJP, the Congress party has its own relevance in these elections as is the case with the other independent candidates. The seats bagged by Congress and the independent candidateswill be crucial as they could possibly play the Kingmakers by lending their much needed support to the party with the maximum number of seats.
As regards the fate of the three main parties namely the BJP, AAP and the Congress, it would be erroneous to say that is just a prestige battle for the KiranBedi led BJP.
Starting with the BJP, it undoubtedly has a lot at stake since the party mobilized as many as 120 of its MPs into the Delhi Polls, and of course the many PM Modi rallies. Thus it will be the PM Modi’s popularity too which is going to be put to test.
For the AAP, the Delhi Elections 2015 have a great significance as a victory might inspire them to other states, while a defeat would demoralize the over enthusiastic cadre rallying behind Kejriwal.
Congress party that were once the behemoths in the Delhi Legislative Assembly, today stands on the verge of being decimated in the Delhi polls if it fails to manage even 2-4 seats. Going by the media reports, there are several stories doing the rounds that the Congress is taking the election lightly in order to make it a comfortable victory for the AAP. The reason for this is quite simple as the Congress would not be comfortable with the idea of the BJP being at the centre as well as at the state level. A victory for AAP and a decimation for Congress will still spell good news for Congress as it would take relief from the fact that finally some party has been successful in thwarting the Modi Juggernaut.
Since every elections sees a lot of mudslinging, allegations and counter allegations, these elections too have been no exception.
As far as the main issues that bother the Delhi citizens this time, they vary from class to class. For the economically weaker sections, price rise is definitely the top most issue, while for the middle class, it is the Bijli, Paani, Sadak and of course the inflation. The upper middle class besides the issue mentioned above, is keen for new developmental works such as the construction of new flyovers, subways, underpasses, FOBs, swanky markets, state of the art hospitals, banks, public toilets, cycle tracks, transportation, community centres and clubs, disabled friendly infrastructure etc.
The main issues that the different political parties have brought to the fore in these polls are namely the regularization of illegal colonies, providing houses to the slum dwellers, women empowerment, FDI, construction of playing grounds for children, making Delhi a smart city, single window clearance, better facilities for senior citizens, widow pension scheme, labour reforms, smooth power and water supply, subsidies, scrapping of BRT, beggar free city, rehabilitation of underprivileged people, compulsory health insurance, reservation for city based students in Delhi colleges, low cost housing for middle income and lower income group persons, waiving off pending water bills, slum redevelopment board, skill based training for beggars and so on.
The one big difference between the Bedi led BJP and Kejriwal led AAP apparently is that the country’s first lady IPS officer has PM Modi backing her, while Kejriwal is a one man show enjoying the unstinting support of his admires all over the city.
Another big difference between the two former trusted and key lieutenants of India Against Corruption Movement Architect Anna Hazare is the experience that they have in terms of governance. Against Kejriwal’s five year experience, Bedi is a veteran with a humungous 40 year rock solid experience.
It is equally pertinent to bring to fore the two watershed moments in the history of the capital city in the recent times. The first one was when Anna Hazare caught the nation’s imagination by sitting on a long hunger strike for compelling the government to introduce a strong Lokpal Bill. The second one followed when the entire nation as a whole was anguished when a young girl named Nirbhaya was brutally gangraped and murdered. These two incidents saw people come out on streets in huge numbers and the issue of rampant corruption and rising crime against women became the two most critical issues for the citizens.
If Kejriwalhas emerged as an iconic anti-corruption crusader out of the Anna HazareLokpal Bill agitation in the last 3-4 years, KiranBedi has been a champion of women rights since the last 3-4 decades, during which she has vociferously addressed the grievances of women and inspired one and all with her novel ideas of putting brakes on incidents of crime against women.
Implying in simpler terms that if corruption is regarded a serious issue in the city, crime against women in Delhi too has beena grave issue because of which the city image has taken a beating.
That 21st century voter has truly evolved can be gauged from the fact that the voter does not blindly vote for one party every elections. For example, there is no guarantee that a voter who has voted for BJP in LokSabha Polls may vote for BJP in the Assembly Polls subsequently. Similarly when we talk about the Municipal Corporation Polls, the voter judges a party on different merits. The inference out of this being that the voter is absolutely clear in mind that the three key polls namely the LokSabha, Municipal Corporation, and the Legislative Assembly are fought on different issues and under different parameters. Thus the voting pattern of an intelligent voter too varies from election to election.
This kind of a voting pattern is referred to as a ‘swing’. The swing vote is basically when a voter consciously decides to vote for a different party when they are disillusioned by the inefficiency and callousness of the incumbent party.
A high octane election battle has just concluded, and the fates of many stalwarts are sealed in the EVMs. For the winners, it would be celebration, and choosing the different ministers, while the losers would have to do a lot of introspection for unraveling the key causes of their defeat.
Going by the present state of affairs, AAP seems certain of forming the next government in Delhi. On the other hand, a tally of 30 plus seats in the kitty of BJP would save them from the ignominy of a big shocking defeat at the hands of AAP, the minnows. Though a highly implausible scenario, a photo finish would happen only if the BJP manages to get 30 plus seats, Congress manages between 4-6 seats, thereby leaving AAP with 34-35 seats thus again leading to a hung assembly in case the AAP fails to reach the majority mark.
Irrespective of who finally gets to form the next government in Delhi, the citizens of the capital city will keep a close watch on the pace and the progress of the various impending developmental works.
The elected legislators will not have it smooth like the previous years since they would be constantly under the scanner of the Delhi citizens who would accept nothing short of development and fast deliverance on their election promises.

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