New Delhi: Even as the BJP, Congress and AAP exude confidence of winning the battle for prestigious Malviya Nagar seat, the infamous midnight raid at Khirki Extension may prove to be the deciding factor when people cast their votes on Saturday.
While AAP leader and former Minister Somnath Bharti said he is "pretty sure" of his victory, Congress and BJP candidates feel last year's raid episode involving him may prove to be his Achilles' Heel.
Congress has fielded veteran leader and former two-time MLA from the area Yoganand Shastri while BJP has nominated new face Nandani Sharma.
Shastri, who had won from Malviya Nagar in 1998 and 2003 believes the repercussions of the "Khirki raid" will work in favour of him as people were "upset" with the incident.
"Bharti was a popular leader of AAP. But, after that incident, the popularity graph of Bharti has gone down. I am fighting the polls on a specific development agenda," Shastri said.
Countering that, AAP says the incident may have on the surface damaged the party's reputation, but it has helped it "win support" of large number people of the area.
"AAP's support base has increased after that incident, especially among the youth. Since, Bharti is an IIT-Delhi alumnus, he also enjoys support among students," an AAP official said.
Bharti had courted controversy last year after he was accused of involvement in a raid against an alleged prostitution racket in Khirki Extension area.
The AAP leader won the seat in 2013 polls defeating then Congress Minister Kiran Walia. He claimed that he was given the constituency in a "state of ICU" and now he has brought it to the "ward stage".
"If we win again, we will take it further to 'normal state' from the 'ward state' and the development of the area can then begin from there. Also, for water issues we have planned setting up of water-harvesting system in the area," Bharti said.