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Why Pre-election Surveys might be right this time


By Rakesh Bisaria

The recent surveys done by different Indian media indicate that Aam Aadmi Party is getting closer to the possibility of majority of seats day by day. The author brings forth a timely take on the aspects that might prove the winning factors for Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi Assembly polls.

Delhi Assembly election is fast turning into a two party contest. Congress party has failed to keep up with the intensity of the campaign and has been somewhat sidelined by the voters looking for a “Contest of Equals”. Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi are the new faces of this contest with impeccable personal records but represent parties that could not be more divergent on major campaign issues. Notwithstanding her distinguished police service, Ms. Bedi looks uncomfortable and out of patience rationalizing her party’s position on election funding, women’s safety, jobs and wages, primary education, healthcare, water supply and electricity tariff. What compounds Ms. Bedi’s problems is the absence of a manifesto from BJP and almost one year lost to fighting AAP. While AAP was engaging the public in its massive Delhi Dialog on campaign issues, BJP MLA’s were celebrating Modi’s victory. At a recent Krishna Nagar roadshow, Ms. Bedi talked at length about her 6Ps approach but had precious little to offer in terms of concrete measures to address Women’s safety. Upon being questioned by NDTV’s Ravish Kumar about the poor state of Geeta Colony’s (under Krishna Nagar constituency) roads and sanitation under BJP municipal Corporation and BJP MLA, party volunteers could not remember anything that had been done to fix things in this safe BJP seat. By contrast AAP volunteers and voters know every project and every initiative undertaken in each constituency. The pulse of this election has changed perceptibly. Out of Delhi’s 17 million population, 10 million people live on monthly wages of Rs13,500 or less working in unorganized labor sectors without contract and with no wage protection . It is this formidable number of Delhi’s dispossessed who are putting their faith behind AAP and rejecting the Congress and BJP. In India’s elections, the last week of the polls always has a Lahar (wave) and it appears that in this election it is the Tsunami of Delhi’s dispossessed who are rallying behind AAP. India’s pollsters rely less on statistical methods and keep their nose to the ground to look for shifts in public opinion. If you are looking for trends, here are some trends that may carry AAP to a thumping victory.

10. BJP runs away from debate – Ms. Bedi has failed to convince her party that a public debate on election issues is not optional. Dodging the debate has hurt BJP. People want to know BJP’s plans to tackle the huge problems of unorganized labor struggling with sub-living wages and living in unauthorized colonies without water, sanitation, and primary healthcare.

9. Ms. Kiran Bedi succumbs to political opportunism – Though Ms. Bedi is irritated by the charge of opportunism levelled by AAP, the fact remains Ms. Bedi had to make a huge leap of self-denial to be BJP’s CM candidate. People are not ready to accept her in her new avatar given that she was the most visible face of India Against Corruption just a couple of years ago which considered BJP and Congress equal partners in crimes of corruption. Both parties have refused to disclose their party funding and it is undeniable that the root of political corruption lies in the source of party funding.

8. Election reduced to a two party contest Congress has failed to field a credible CM candidate. In this “clash of the titans” (TV Media’s chosen description) on governance, integrity and vision for Delhi, Maken seems to be completely marginalized. The triangular contest has shrunk to a two party contest with a section of Congress votes crossing over to AAP.

7. BJP shies from releasing Delhi manifesto – BJP has abandoned all efforts to release a party manifesto for Delhi. For BJP , Modi is the party’s manifesto. The strategy has not worked for the party as the voters want more details on party priorities and plans. Ms. Bedi has been seen floundering in TV interviews and offering anecdotal wisdom to voters in lieu of plans and policies.

6. BJP struggles with a poor report card at the Center – Despite Modi’s positive steps in international diplomacy and Defense, there is no movement in the direction of creating 8 million jobs that were promised by him. BJP’s “Health Assurance to all Indians” is yet to see the light of day. After eye-catching photo-ops of “Swachh Bharat”, the program is completely stalled. The Rs. 1,000 crore announcement for the Nirbhaya Fund is languishing in some bureaucratic vault. What hurts the people of Delhi every day is the rising price of food essentials.

5. Delhi voters wary of Majoritarian State-Center Arrangement The argument has been made by BJP leadership that a single party rule at the Center and Delhi State will benefit the people of Delhi. Nothing could be farther from truth as during 10 years of Congress rule in Delhi State that overlapped with control at the Center, people of Delhi got very little in terms of higher wages, increased employment, and essential public services. There were mega scams that were partially made possible by the absence of scrutiny and checks in a single party majoritarian arrangement.

4. AAP’s Delhi Dialog promotes public partnership – AAP built its manifesto in partnerships with the people of Delhi over a period of several months. Concrete, time-bound plans were worked out to address core areas including Women’s Safety, Water Supply, Primary Health, Electricity Tariff, and Education. The people of Delhi were included as equal partners in the process of planning and that clearly gave a huge head-start to the AAP campaign.

3. Polls project rising AAP vote share – Recent Polls are giving a larger vote share to AAP. The latest polls give AAP a 42% vote share which is going up on a daily basis in the run up to the polling day. The vote share is likely to follow a rising trend as BJP makes more appeals to caste and community, further fragmenting its voter base.

2. Kejriwal tops the list of CM Candidates In the so called clash of the titans, Kejriwal has definitely come out on top with 43% preferring him over Ms. Bedi (39%). Clearly, AAP has succeeded in connecting with the people and the people have resonated strongly with AAP’s Development based agenda.

1. Poll wave favors AAP This is the last week of campaigning and if there is a wave it is here now. Media is favoring AAP to have a thumping victory in this election. But the real wave is on the street corners, the Metro platforms, the flyovers, the slums of Sangam Vihar, Metro Vihar, the unauthorized colonies of TrilokPuri where millions wait for their first chance to live with dignity and have a say in their own future. If you count the numbers, Delhi has 10 million who are desperate for a better life and who have waited patiently for decades for a fair deal. Therefore, by all accounts it is this wave of humanity that will decide the elections on February 7th.

The author is a telecom engineer and political commentator. This article is one of his opinions and views that he shares here.

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons


“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)