NEW DELHI: The national capital of Delhi sends only seven members to the Lok Sabha but the outcome of elections in the capital is often a good indicator of the national stakes. Congress’s refusal to forge an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ensured a triangular fight in Delhi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won all the seven seats last time. Winning four of 13 seats in Punjab in the 2014 general election was the sole consolation for AAP.
This election comes after AAP formed government in the state assembly after winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats in 2015.
The seven seats went to poll on 12 May. The AAP, led by national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, had focused their campaign on the issue of statehood for Delhi along with the work done by the state government in four years.
AAP has pitched candidates like Atishi Marlena from east Delhi, who has worked with the government on education, and Raghav Chadha who is a chartered accountant and is contesting from south Delhi.
Kejriwal had ridden to power in Delhi, having piggybacked on Anna Hazare’s 2012-13 agitation that demanded establishment of a Lokpal that would probe charges of corruption against government officials including the Prime Minister.
Shifting from their 2014 strategy when Kejriwal, riding high on his anti-corruption crusade and agitation demanding statehood for Delhi, fought against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi, AAP contested on less than 40 seats across the country this time.
Besides contesting in Delhi’s seven seats, it fielded candidates from thirteen in Punjab and two in Goa, independently. In Haryana, AAP contested elections in three seats in alliance with Jannayak Janata Party.
Observers point out at a realization within AAP about the benefits of ‘go-slow’, acknowledging that the anti-graft plank may not resonate with people in every state and there are strong regional leaders in some states, different from the two large national parties.