Throughout its campaign, the ruling Congress had discounted the impact of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the Delhi Assembly polls.

However, post-elections several Congress candidates, it seems, are banking on the new party to eat into the anti-incumbency vote, which otherwise they think would have gone to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The party has been anxious over the high turnout, especially the number of young voters.

However, sources in the party said that several candidates, in their feedback to the party leadership, have said it might work in their favour. Congress leaders claimed that while the anti-incumbency vote has been divided between the AAP and the BJP, the party has been able to hold on to their traditional vote-bank.

Ground report

“The party has sought a ground report from all the candidates over the past two days. Several of them have highlighted the fact that the AAP has divided the anti-incumbency vote in a major way that can work in their favour. Had AAP not been in the field, it would have helped the BJP. With a very close contest in some seats, it might prove to be decisive in the end,” said a member of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC).

Congress leaders asserted that there had been a perceived strong anti-incumbency against the Sheila Dikshit Government in 2008, but the party came back to power with a clear majority.

“The last elections were held only three days after the Mumbai terror attack. Even then people felt it would add up to the anti-incumbency, which was not the case,” said a Congress leader, adding that inflation is a worrying factor for the ruling party this time round, unlike in 2008.

The party, however, refused to make any comments on the number of seats it is expecting to win. “Everything would be clear on Sunday,” said DPCC president J.P. Agarwal.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel has gone on record stating they had “underestimated the new party which has been successful in garnering a fair share of the anti-incumbency vote”.

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