On eve of civic poll results, Kejriwal warns of ‘movement’ against EVMs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 25, 2017

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM and AAP National Convenor

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has warned of a “movement” against Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s fears of “unabated tampering” of the machines are matched by an overwhelming majority for the BJP.

Eent se eent baja doonga (I will show them my worth). If such results come, then it proves that manipulation has happened — like in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Pune, Mumbai, Bhind and Dholpur. We are the product of a movement...We will return to the movement,” said Kejriwal.

Exit polls say the BJP will retain power in all three of Delhi’s civic bodies – South, North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, for which elections were held on Sunday.

What the exit polls say

Two exit polls have predicted a landslide for the BJP, giving them over 200 of the 270 wards.

The India Today-Axis-My India poll predicted 202-220 wards for the BJP, an increase of over 60 seats from its tally of 142 in the 2012 elections. The poll showed a marked decline for the Congress – from 77 wards in the previous election, its share was predicted to drop to between 19 and 31.

The AAP was projected to win only between 23-35 wards.

The ABP News-C Voter poll showed the BJP winning 220 wards, the AAP 24, and the Congress, 22 seats.

Why these polls matter

For the AAP, whose only second electoral outing in the 2015 Assembly elections saw it secure a whopping 67 of Delhi’s 70 seats, and 54.34 per cent of the popular vote, these elections are crucial. The BJP got 32.19 per cent vote but managed only three seats. The Congress’ vote share plummeted to 9.65 per cent, failing to win a single seat in the Capital, where it had been in power for three successive terms under Sheila Dikshit.

But since then, the AAP government has been losing its hold and popularity in Delhi with its multiple conflicts with the BJP at the Centre. Besides the Chief Minister’s rows with the Lieutenant Governor and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, 21 AAP MLAs have been disqualified for holding Offices of Profit.

Following the losses in the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections, a win in Delhi — the only State where the AAP holds power — is critical to its political relevance.

The BJP, after its extraordinary victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, has mounted a high-profile campaign to wean away the Capital from the AAP. BJP President Amit Shah had deputed Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahastrabudhe along with three Central ministers – Nirmala Sitharaman, Jitendra Singh and Sanjiv Balyan – to monitor and strategise for the Delhi elections. The party, which has ruled the Delhi corporations for a decade, has denied tickets to all its sitting councillors to battle anti-incumbency while depending on its victory momentum from the recent Assembly elections to sail through the civic polls.

The AAP is banking on the CM’s popularity and policy measures such as reduced electricity and water tariffs, as well as the government’s focus on the social sector, especially health and education where its Mohalla clinics and support for government schools has earned acclaim.

Published on April 25, 2017
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