The international bookie market that was closely following the Delhi Assembly elections is clear that -- as soon as the polling ended in the evening -- the "broom" of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will sweep clean the "lotus" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the "hand" of the Congress.
According to sources, the bookies — from Delhi to Dubai to London — kept a close eye on the election-related developments right from the time the booths opened for polling at 8 a.m.
The bookies became active and began making predictions as soon as the polling ended in the national capital around 6 p.m., saying Delhi’s ruling party would win 50 plus seats in the 70- member Assembly.
Delhi did not record even a 60 per cent voter turnout this year compared to over 60 per cent turnout in the 2015 Assembly polls.
According to the bookies, the AAP has benefited from this ‘low’ turnout.
‘Shaheen Bagh’ was also one of the most discussed subjects among the bookies.
“The AAP got votes mainly from those who were once Congress supporters. The AAP got a substantial share of votes from the slum dwellers, non-regularised colonies and ‘Bangladeshi immigrants living secretly’ in Delhi,” a bookie said.
“The poor people need convenience. For example, free electricity, water, cheap transportation facilities etc. The AAP has provided all of them. Hence, even the Congress’ vote share went to the AAP,” the bookie added.
Another bookie said “unless something dramatic happens”, Kejriwal should come back to power in Delhi.
According to the bookies, the BJP was looking to latch on to the Shaheen Bagh issue to keep the ‘Lotus’ afloat but now “Shaheen Bagh has dipped the Lotus”.
The BJP has also suffered a massive blow due to the low turnout of voters.
Bookies predicted that the saffron party might bag around 15 seats and the Congress could get 2-4.
The votes will be counted on February 11.
The low voter turnout during the Delhi Assembly polls sent shockwaves at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is looking for the third term in the national capital and from where the team of the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) kept a close watch on the trends.
The I-PAC, a political strategy group, has also cautioned the AAP on 15 seats where it may face setback, including high-profile Ballimaran where Delhi minister Imran Hussain is pitted against former minister Haroon Yusuf of the Congress, and Greater Kailash from where party MLA and spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj is contesting against BJP’s Shikha Roy and Congress’ Sukhbir Singh Pawar.
A source at Kejriwal’s residence said that the AAP was doing fairly good on over 55 out of 70 seats, but, on 15 seats, there are chances of setbacks and which have been put in the “negative outlook” category.
“Narela, Rithala, Shalimar Bagh, Chattarpur, Greater Kailash, Bijwasan, Wazirpur, Janakpuri, Delhi Cantt, Ballimaran, Laxminagar, Gandhi Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, Rohtas Nagar and Gonda,” are the seats which is under the negative outlook category.
According to the source, who looks after the works of the I-PAC, said: “Earlier in the day, lower voter turnout was an issue. But as soon as the voting gained momentum, we became confident.”
According to the Election Commission’s Voter turnout app, the voting percentage by 12 noon on Saturday amid bright sunshine was estimated 15.69 per cent of the 1.47 crore eligible voters.
The overall voting percentage was 57.06 percent till 7 p.m., 10 percentage points lower than 2015′s voting percentage of 67.12 per cent.
Citing the reasons for the low voter turnout in the assembly polls, the source said that Hindu voters, especially the neutral ones, did not come out to vote. Meanwhile, the Muslim and Sikh voters’ percentage was highest in overall assembly constituencies.
He further said that the overall negative outlook in 15 seats due to decline in Hindu voters percentage.
The polling began at 8 a.m. amid tight security with long queues of people reported at several polling stations. There are 672 candidates in the fray to elect a new government.
The reports of the I-PAC indicate that despite the anti-CAA protests, the party is facing a huge backlash from the Muslim-dominated Ballimaran Assembly constituency.
Hussain, who had won the seat for the party in 2015, is pitted against Yusuf, who had dominated the assembly constituency from 1993-2013, and BJP’s Lata Sodhi. Dalits and Muslims consist of three-fifths of all electors in the Assembly constituency.
In yet another setback, Greater Kailash represented by Bharadwaj is also feeling the heat in this election.
Alarm bells have also rung for the ruling AAP from the Gandhi Nagar assembly seat, which it wrested from the Congress’ Aravinder Singh Lovely in 2015 assembly polls.
Sitting AAP MLA Anil Vajpayee joined the BJP in 2019 and has been fielded from the seat by the saffron party. Lovely, a former minister is vying to win back his seat he lost five years ago. The AAP has fielded Naveen Choudhary (Deepu) from Gandhi Nagar.
Even the bad news is coming for the AAP from the Delhi Cantt seat, which it won in 2015 assembly polls. AAP’s Surender Singh beat Karan Singh Tanwar of BJP in 2015.
This year, AAP has fielded Virender Singh Kadian who is a retired Indian Air Force officer while BJP fielded Purvanchali candidate Manish Singh, a known close aide of state BJP President Manoj Tiwari while Congress has gone with long-time loyalist Sandeep Tanwar.
In December last year, with an aim to keep up AAP’s Assembly strength, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had teamed up with Kishor’s consultancy I-PAC to manage its campaign ahead of the Assembly polls.
The AAP had secured 67 out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi in the 2015 Assembly elections. (IANS)