| The national capital will go to the polls on February 7 with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hoping to beat its stunning debut performance a year ago, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faces another big test of its popularity after back-to-back election wins at the Centre and in state assemblies.
Results will be announced on February 10 and candidates have just 23 days for campaigning as the model code of conduct kicked in as soon as the Election Commission announced the schedule on Monday.
Delhi has been under President’s Rule for almost a year since the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP quit after just 49 days in office, most of them dominated by public sit-ins, conflicts with electricity, water and law enforcement agencies as well as a power struggle with the Centre.
Most analysts see the election as a two-way contest between the BJP and AAP with price rise and women’s safety emerging as key electoral issues, though the Congress is also looking to revive its fortunes in the 70-member assembly following a string of defeats last year.
Here, HT brings to its readers a complete list of major stakeholders, what s at stake for them and who stands where.
Unable to get the magic number in 2013 assembly elections despite a strong anti-incumbency wave against the ruling Congress, the BJP was forced to sit in the opposition as AAP formed the government with outside support from the Congress.
But with consecutive wins in the Lok Sabha polls and then assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and a good showing in J-K, the BJP has the momentum going. Also, the party won all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi. However, like the last time, the party is finding it difficult to project a chief ministerial candidate. With too many in the race for the top post, the party has decided to bank entirely on brand Modi to keep infighting at bay.
The party’s campaign has been designed solely around Modi and the Prime Minister will address a rally each in all parliamentary constituencies. Unlike AAP and Congress, the BJP is yet to announce its candidates.
With successive electoral reverses leaving the Congress weak, the party is in a direct contest with AAP. The Arvind Kejriwal party has taken the lead by announcing names for all 70 seats and going door-to-door seeking votes. Though pre-poll surveys are giving a clear majority to the BJP, it remains to be seen whether it lives up to the hype.
Looking to better 2013 tally
When the AAP came second in 2013 on its electoral debut, winning 28 seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly, volunteers looked ecstatic. Even many of their leaders shared, in private, that the result caught them by surprise as the party went on to rule Delhi for a brief period.