Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A 66 per cent voter turnout in an urban centre like Delhi is phenomenal by any standards. No one had expected such brisk polling from an ‘apathetic’ city notorious for a voter turnout in the 50s. A generalisation is to treat a large turnout as a sign of anti-incumbency, but in case of a three-pronged contest the victor for such a phenomenon can be anyone from —the BJP`s NaMo wave, AAP`s promises of change, or the Congress that has been trusted by Delhi voters for last three terms.
The CNN-IBN-The Week-CSDS survey forecasted BJP bagging 32-42 seats, 13-21 for Aam Aadmi Party and 9-17 seats for the ruling Congress. Other similar surveys too have predicted BJP as the frontrunner, but none of the parties can confidently stake claim to victory just yet.
Reasons being —
BJP’s bitter memories of 2008
Akin to these elections, 2008 exit polls too had predicted a landslide victory for the BJP. In anticipation of a win, large hoardings of the party’s chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra had been placed around the city in the run up to counting. Some reports had claimed that preparations had even begun for a large victory feast and hopefuls had started lobbying for plum portfolios. And then the results happened.
Congress ended up winning 43 seats and the BJP faced its proverbial ‘egg in the face’ moment. With the memories still fresh, all parties have kept their cards close their chests this time around.
The Aam Aadmi Party factor
AAP, the new party on the block has bedazzled the grand old party and its arch-nemesis. None had expected the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit to have such an effect on the polls. One can even attribute their effect to BJP’s decision to change Vijay Goel as their CM candidate, and name Dr Harsh Vardhan, a candidate with a cleaner image, instead.
“Yes, there is no doubt about the presence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and they have made this contest triangular. But whose chances have been dented by them, only time will tell," conceded BJP state unit chief Vijay Goel.
AAP’s novel efforts to draw voters, especially the youths in large numbers, have been largely attributed as one of the reasons for the large voter turnout in the Delhi Assembly Elections.
Now how much will this have an effect on the outcome is anybody’s guess.
Will the large turnout of women haunt Congress?
Security, safety and inflation have been the major issues for all Delhi voters, especially for women. Numerous cases of crime against women have led to the city earning the dubious tag of ‘rape capital.’
This time around 65.17 per cent women (34.6 lakh) cast their ballots, marking an increase of nine per cent from last Delhi Assembly elections.
If they turned up to register their angst against the recent turn of events, then it could be a warning sign for the incumbent Congress and their three-time-CM, Sheila Dikshit.
Who will the first-time voter side with?
Reports quoted poll officials as saying that the percentage of young voters in Delhi has increased from 0.7% to 3.4%. Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer, Vijay Dev said that the enrolment of college students in the voters` list was phenomenal in the run up to polls. The number that barely touched one lakh, was over four lakhs this time, he said. Who have the youngsters put their trust in? Or was the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option exercised excessively?
It’s only a few more hours until counting begins on Sunday, and we will have the answers to all these questions.