On February 8, the people of Delhi cast their votes to elect representatives from 70 assembly constituencies.
Which party will win the 2020 Delhi Assembly election? Will AAP retain its power, or will BJP upstage AAP? On February 11, we will know for sure when the results are announced.
The BJP is widely expected to improve its 2015 tally but may not be sufficient to challenge AAP’s hold over Delhi.
2020 Exit Poll – Delhi Assembly Election
Here is what the prevailing exit polls are saying.
- AAP: 53 seats (down 14 seats from 2015)
- BJP+: 16 seats (up 13 seats from 2015)
- Congress+: 1 seat (up 1 seat from 2015)
In 2015, AAP routed the BJP and the Congress party. The total seats of Delhi are 70, a party needs to win 36 seats to be in majority. The results were:
- AAP: 67
- BJP: 3
- Congress: Nil
Voting Day Turnout
One thing is clear; the voters of Delhi have given a thumbs-down to the prevailing level of politics and have displayed their disappointment by not turning up to vote.
In 2015, the voter turnout recorded was 67.12%. Participation in 2020 stands at 55%.
Till 4:00 pm, the lowest turnout witnessed was in Shakur Basti – 4%, followed by Vikaspuri – 7.87%. Shakur Basti has a high migrant population, while Vikaspuri has a high Punjabi and Haryanvi population.
As always, pollsters are out with their crystal ball making predictions based on Exit Poll reports, and the general prediction seems to point to a victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The contest is between AAP and the BJP with the Congress party as an insignificant bystander.
The 2020 Delhi Assembly elections have become a fight between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal versus Prime Minister Narendra Modi, although their respective parties would vehemently deny it.
The stakes are high for the BJP and the PM personally, having had to bite the dust in several states after making a robust run winning several states from 2014 onwards.
Delhi is viewed as the Centre’s backyard, and not having power in Delhi has left BJP smarting. Amit Shah deployed his entire party arsenal in winning the voter’s heart, but the overall sentiment in the Delhi seems to be against the BJP and in favour of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.
On his part, Arvind Kejriwal campaigned on his party’s achievements from 2015 onwards and stayed away from making the campaign either personal or dirty.
The BJP has hit out in every way possible, many of it being personal against the CM. Going by the Exit Poll, the strategy might have backfired.
The low voter turnout is worrying for both parties. If the people were upset with the BJP, they could have come out in more significant numbers to vote against the BJP. Others who are upset with AAP could have come out to vote against it and in favour of the BJP. Not turning up certainly needs to be analyzed and addressed objectively by all political parties.
David vs. Goliath: David wins, again
It’s been a reversal of roles between the AAP and the BJP. In 2015, BJP held the ‘Vikas’ card as its main selling point, while AAP got itself tagged as an ‘Anarchist’ party.
In 2020, AAP is holding the ‘Vikas’ card while BJP gained a ‘social disruptor’ card, with the ongoing anti-CAA protests. The advantage lies with Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, whose freebies like electricity and free bus rides for women, along with good work done on Mohalla Clinics and up-gradation of government schools, has won several hearts.
Arvind Kejriwal deserves credit for coming back from an ‘anarchist’ tag to a champion of development. If he indeed wins a second term, he will get another shot at consolidating AAP as a pro-development and corruption-free party, two attributes that will help AAP go beyond the borders of Delhi, despite Arvind Kejriwal denying any plans to extend AAP beyond Delhi.
An AAP win will enthuse other regional parties to begin believing they too, can turn the tables against the mighty BJP.
Should BJP Change Its Strategy Now?
The BJP needs to take a leaf out of AAP’s playbook. It has been a champion of the ‘development’ agenda, holding it as its biggest calling card, nationally. So, how did the mighty party lose its way in Delhi? It’s not Delhi alone, BJP has been losing ground in several states where it seemed well-entrenched.
Post the 2020 results, expect the BJP to go into town trumpeting its gains vis-à-vis 2015, but it still won’t change the party’s fortunes, unless they review their party policies and poll strategy, going forward.
The most significant loss is for the Congress party. Once a national party, it has worked hard to shoot itself in the foot, refusing to take up the challenge of fighting the elections without the Gandhi family shield.
The party seems to realize their helplessness and has shielded the family siblings, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, from campaigning in these elections until two days before polls. They couldn’t keep them away, and they couldn’t expose them, as the blame would lie at the Gandhi family doorstep.
Unless the party takes the bold decision to keep the family away from party politics, at least for some time, and resurrect the party from the ashes like the proverbial ‘Phoenix,’ the doors to people’s hearts will remain closed for the iconic party which led India to freedom.
The 11th of February will reveal the extent of the impact of each party’s performance, and poll strategy and lessons learned.