As Delhi registered a record turnout in the Assembly elections, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the new entrant in the fray, claimed that the increase in voting was a result of its campaign for a change in the system.

Compared with the last elections, there was an increase of about 10 per cent in the turnout.

Express confidence

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also expressed confidence that a higher turnout would help them form the next Government.

Long queues were seen in front of many polling booths even after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The Congress, the BJP and the AAP claimed they had ensured that most voters exercised their right to vote.

“I can tell you very categorically that we are far ahead of the Congress and the new entrant in Delhi politics. I am 100 per cent confident about our victory. I think nobody can make any dent in our vote bank,” the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, Harsh Vardhan, said. AAP supremo Kejriwal said: “People of Delhi will win and corruption will be defeated in the election.”

The Congress claimed that the AAP would not be a factor in this election. “Can you call it a party? The fight is between the Congress and the BJP,” Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.

Dikshit told reporters she was seeking a fourth term based on the development work she had initiated in the past 15 years. “I am fighting the polls with confidence. We have ensured consistent development. We followed an agenda of inclusive development. We made Delhi the best city.” She added the Opposition tried to defame her Government, but people of Delhi would vote for her considering her Government’s performance.

Though there is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the Dikshit Government, the Congress is hopeful of holding ground because of the AAP factor. The party believes anti-Congress votes will split between the BJP and the AAP, and the Congress can sail through to a fourth term.

However, rampant factional feud may harm the Congress’ chances. There are reports that the AAP has managed a good number of votes from slums and clusters – the traditional Congress strongholds. The BJP is riding on the Narendra Modi wave and the party believes the decision to project Harsh Vardhan as the chief ministerial candidate has helped on the ground.

(This article was published on December 4, 2013)
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