Congress, BJP have fielded successive winners
The Aam Aadmi Party has its work cut out as it comes up against political heavyweights who have won successive elections since the Delhi Assembly was constituted in 1993. Around 50 per cent of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi have been won either by the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party.
While the Congress boasts seven four-time MLAs and 14 three-time legislators, the BJP has five four-time MLAs and six three-time legislators.
While both parties have failed to make any headway in each others’ strongholds, they have once again fielded almost all sitting MLAs.
Leaders of both parties claim they will win seats held by the other, but they play down the possibility of anti-incumbency against their MLAs.
“There is no anti-incumbency against our MLAs as they have performed well in their constituencies over the past five years. In fact, we would increase our tally. We are set to wrest Hari Nagar from the BJP as their four-time MLA, H.S. Balli, is contesting on a Congress ticket. Similarly, we have also fielded some young and dynamic candidates on some of the traditional BJP seats like Janakpuri, Tilak Nagar and Krishna Nagar,” said Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Agrawal.
BJP leaders also make similar claims of wresting some seats currently held by the Congress.
“We will pull off surprises in seats like Kasturba Nagar, Deoli, Malviya Nagar, Chattrapur and Mehrauli among others,” said senior BJP leader Vijay Jolly, who contested against Sheila Dikshit in the last Assembly polls.
He said the individual performance of elected representatives weighs heavily in favour of the political heavyweights, as does the nature of the electorate (caste equations) and the general political atmosphere during the elections. However, a section of leaders within the BJP say the selection of candidates is one of the primary reasons why around two dozen MLAs of the Congress have been winning.
“Against most of the political heavyweights of the Congress, the BJP has been fielding different candidates during different polls. For example, during the 2003 polls, Poonam Azad contested against Sheila Dikshit, while Vijay Jolly was fielded against the Chief Minister in the 2008 polls. This time Vijender Gupta has been fielded against her. A similar exercise has been done against other Congress leaders as well,” said a senior BJP leader.
BJP leaders say delimitation of the Assembly segments ahead of the 2008 polls was one of the important factors that helped the ruling party.