Muslims/Dalits keeping the Congress in fight in Delhi?

If the latest AC Nielsen/ABP survey on Delhi Assembly elections is to be believed, it is evident that the Congress is slowly slipping from its position of strength to around 20 odd seats. The BJP too has come down as per the poll projections if one compares the numbers to the earlier opinion poll done by the same TV Channel sometime ago. The Aam Aadmi Party making its debut in the capital is the obvious gainer with its leader Arvind Kejriwal emerging as the most favoured choice for the position of the chief minister. From all available indications, it seems that the contest in Delhi is turning out to be Aam Aadmi Party vs the rest though things would become clear once it is known as to who is contesting against whom in different segments.

The Congress, which is seeking a fourth term in the city, has reasons to worry on account of a strong anti incumbency factor against it. However, if it is being seen to be still in fight as a major contender, it is because the Muslims and Dalits are sticking to it so far. Even when the Congress had lost out to the BJP in 1993, the Dalit seats by and large were won by the party candidates and even in Muslim seats, the BJP was unable to make any dent.

The AAP is making inroads into the Congress and the BJP strongholds but the reason it is still trailing the Congress in the projected number of seats is because the AAP has to establish its credentials in the Muslim and Dalit dominated seats. This is where Kejriwal and his team will have to work overtime in case they want to improve their chances further.

The BJP, which has no business of losing the Assembly polls, is facing inner conflicts. While there are many who are not willing to accept Vijay Goel as the party’s chief ministerial face, there are others who feel that the Saffron party does not have enough support from its traditional Punjabi voters any longer. All the existing BJP top leaders in the city are from the Vaish community and Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the lone veteran Punjabi leader is being ignored since he is considered too old to be projected as the chief minister nominee.

The battle is going to become even more interesting once the campaign gains momentum. In the end, the tilt of the minority votes and those of Dalits may determine as to who will rule Delhi for the next five years. If the three parties fail to garner these votes adequately, the election will result in a hung house.

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