New Delhi: With just a day to go for the Assembly Elections in Delhi, there's optimism in the camps of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). For the Congress, there's pessimism abound as surveys after surveys have said the party that had ruled Delhi for 15 consecutive years will see a repeat, or even worse, of the 2013 poll performance.
The aggressive campaigning by all political parties came to an end at 6:00 pm on Thursday.
Polling begins at 8:00 am on Saturday, and wraps up at 6:00 pm. Results will be out on February 10 (Tuesday).
Leaders of all the parties, including Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Ajay Maken, took out road shows, held rallies and met voters door-to-door in the run-up to D-day.
Campaigning picked up in the last phase as opinion polls across the spectrum gave advantage to the Kejriwal-led AAP, which ran a 49-day government post 2013 polls.
In the initial phase, the BJP was pegged to win the maximum seats – even majority – but as the campaigning progressed and polls neared, the AAP appeared to have leapfrogged in the race. However, opinion poll numbers have a habit of being different from the actual results.
For the AAP, it is not just the pre-poll surveys that are on its side. Several opposition parties too have called on the electorate in Delhi to vote for the Aam Aadmi Party, in a bid to keep the BJP and the Congress out.
Among the parties that have made such a call include the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M).
The campaigning witnessed both positive messages and mudslinging. While the AAP focussed on the “good, corruption-free governance” that it provided in the 49-day rule last year, the BJP played the Modi card by selling the achievements of the central government.
Inducting former top cop Kiran Bedi into the party and naming her CM candidate by the BJP was considered a masterstroke by many but as the polls neared and direction of the wind supposedly changed, as per opinion polls, doubts began to appear whether the party had alienated its state leaders.
The Congress, on the other hand, had nothing to lose from its last performance – just eight seats in the 70-member Assembly, its worst-ever in the capital. The party focussed its campaign on the achievements of the Sheila Dikshit government and sops that it would offer upon coming to power, including cheap electricity, discounted Metro fares etc.
Also, as the surveys started predicting a change in voters' minds, BJP president Amit Shah and other senior leaders sought to clarify that the Delhi Assembly polls were not a "referendum" on the performance of the Narendra Modi government.
During campaigning, Shah stressed that the Delhi election was a fight between two ideologies -- one that makes and keeps its promises, referring to the BJP, and the other of lying and making false promises, hinting towards the AAP.
"The Delhi polls are a fight between two ideologies -- those who do what they say and the others who make promises but never fulfil them," Shah said, adding that the AAP has a habit of lying and deceiving people.
Kejriwal, on the other hand, appeared confident of winning.
"The BJP has all the administrative apparatus but we have truth and god on our side," he stressed.
A total of 1,33,09,078 registered voters -- including 73,89,089 males, 59,19,127 women and 862 from "other gender" – are eligible to cast their ballots tomorrow.
For the final result, we will have to wait till Tuesday.