New Delhi: After a month of rancorous campaign in the national capital, the voters have given their verdict. All pollsters are unanimous that Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is all set to romp home with a second consecutive victory, at the very least by a two-thirds majority.
The predictions differ only in terms of the margin of victory. From 44 to 68 in the assembly of 70. All pollsters unanimously called the polls in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party with a vote-share that is likely to cross 50% mark.
The India Today-Axis poll forecast 59-68 seats for the AAP and 2-11 for the BJP, while the ABP-CVoter put Delhi's ruling party's tally at anywhere between 49 and 63 and that of its main rival between five to 19. Almost all exit polls predicted little change in the fortunes of the Congress, which had ruled the city between 1998 and 2013 but drew a blank in the 2015 polls.
The Times Now-Ipsos exit poll predicted that Kejriwal will retain power with the AAP winning 47 seats against 23 for the BJP. The Republic-Jan ki Baat survey gave the AAP 48-61 seats and the BJP 9-21 seats. The TV9 Bharatvarsh-Cicero predicted 52-64 seats for the AAP and 6-16 for the BJP. An exit poll put out by Neta-NewsX said the AAP may win 53-57 seats and the BJP 11-17.
The ABP's survey said the AAP's vote share may be a whopping 50.4 per cent against the BJP's 36 per cent. The corresponding share for the two parties was 56 per cent and 35 per cent, according to the India Today-Axis poll.
If these figures are to hold good on February 8, the counting day, it would tantamount to a jump of more than 30% in AAP’s vote share from May 2019 Lok Sabha polls when AAP at 18% stood a poor third behind BJP and Congress.
Saturday’s voting in Delhi also brought down curtains on a highly vitriolic and polarised campaign which saw political parties often crossing the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ to violate the Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission had to step in on more than one occasion to reprimand CM Kejriwal, ban an incumbent union minister -- Anurag Thakur -- and Delhi MP Parvesh Verma from campaigning.
The elections were held in the backdrop of the Narendra Modi government’s decision to amend Citizenship Amendment Act and the ensuing protests. Resistance by a motely group of women in East Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh spread to other cities.
There were shots fired at protestors. The EC stepped in to shift police officials. The BJP and AAP exchanged allegations. The BJP further ramped up its artillery by calling into service more firepower. More than 250 MPs, the party claimed, were out on the streets of the national capital in the last few days campaigning and canvassing. The RSS, it was said, had also lent a helping hand.
As predicted by pollsters, if the BJP’s vote share is to plummet down from 50% plus to mid-30%, it would be a redux of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana. In all these states, the BJP’s has had to face a drastic fall in votes polled as compared to the massive mandate it received in the Lok Sabha elections last year.
It would also underscore the party’s dependence on Modi to win votes; and a vacuum in leadership at the state level.
For the Congress, pollsters have predicted a vote share of less than 10%. That would be a drop of more than 10% from May, 2019. And this would be the second consecutive occasion when the Congress would secure votes in single digit in Delhi assembly polls.
And finally, if these estimates are to hold on the counting day, it would show the changing character of the Indian electorate. The voter has evolved. And it voting differently in national and provincial elections.