the Congress is working to revive its strength in the city state where it was once in power for three consecutive terms until 2013.. Photo: Mint
the Congress is working to revive its strength in the city state where it was once in power for three consecutive terms until 2013.. Photo: Mint

AAP, BJP gear up for prestige fight as Delhi goes to polls on 8 February

  • Delhi will witness a three-cornered contest between the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress
  • The election comes amidst ongoing protests for the Citizenship Amendment Bill across the national capital

NEW DELHI : Battle lines were drawn for the Delhi assembly elections on Monday with the Election Commission (EC) announcing that polling will take place on 8 February and counting will be on 11 February.

At stake is the prestige fight for three key political stakeholders. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, the first non-Congress Delhi chief minister to complete a full term, aims to make history by being voted back to power on the back of his governance record.

GRaphic by Paras Jain/Mint
GRaphic by Paras Jain/Mint

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been out of power in the state for 20 years, will face another test of converting its stellar performance of winning all seven Lok Sabha seats last year into a similar performance in the state polls, while for the Congress it is a battle for survival and to regain its lost political glory.

Chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said at a press conference on Monday that the model code of conduct comes into effect immediately.

“We have had detailed meetings with top officials of Delhi Police and the home ministry. We are hopeful that they will be able to ensure that the situation is conducive for polls," Arora said when asked about the law and order situation in Delhi.

The 2017 ruling of the Election Commission says that no state-specific schemes shall be announced in the national budget and no specific achievements with respect to a state where the model code is in effect shall be mentioned in the budget speech, Arora said when asked if the Union budget, set to be announced on 1 February, will have an impact on the elections.

“The people of Delhi and the AAP are ready for the polls. This time the assembly elections will be fought on work. In 70 years, for the first time, votes will be placed on the positive work done in schools and hospitals. If you think we worked, then vote for us. If you think we have done no work, then don’t vote for us," Kejriwal said at a press conference after the announcement of elections. The party worked in the state without keeping political affiliations in mind, he added.

AAP is banking on returning to power on the basis of the work done in Delhi with a focus on education and health. In 2015, AAP had won the assembly election, getting 67 of the 70 seats. The remaining three were won by the BJP.

“Today, the Election Commission announced schedule for Delhi polls and we welcome it. This election will lay the foundation for developing Delhi. I am hopeful that people of Delhi will come out in large numbers to vote," BJP chief Amit Shah wrote on Twitter.

“I want to tell those who question the role of Congress in Delhi that in the last five year our graph has increased and other’s have decreased...the only road to Delhi’s development is through Congress," Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference on Monday.

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