It's going to be Kejriwal V/s Modi in Delhi polls
Delhi Assembly elections will witness a mega fight between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the BJP which has a huge stake in Delhi as it has not been able to come back to power since 1998 and the Congress which does not have much ground strength here, though it had been in power thrice in the past.
This election is going to be more interesting since factors like the performance of Arvind Kejriwal who claims that people will opt for his party since he has been able to deliver his promise of free water, cheaper electricity, no hike in school fees and better managed government hospitals.
The BJP hopes that it will be able to turn the tables on AAP in the name of Modi, Mandir and CAA which would help the persecuted Hindu minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
There is uniqueness in Delhi elections. About 1.46 crore voters are known for giving a clear verdict. Delhi is also the only State where election campaign takes place in 15 major Indian languages including English.
Delhi has been a city of migrants who came from West Punjab, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra and West Bengal and north eastern States.
In the past we have seen several local community leaders and South Indian political leaders land in Delhi to canvas for the parties they support.
Last time the Congress used the then Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, its Tamil Nadu leader and film actress Kushboo to woo Malayalee and Tamilian voters respectively. The BJP used Bandaru Dattatreya and the then Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu to woo the Telugu voters.
Similarly, Union Minister Ananth Kumar and MP Shobha Karandlaje tried to woo Kannadiga voters. Not to be left behind, the AAP too is also using local Tamil, Telugu, Malayalee and Kannada community leaders to woo the voters.
The campaigning is taking place in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam in addition to Hindi and English in South Indian dominated areas. According to an estimate, there are nearly 30 lakh South Indians living in Delhi.
Both the Keralites and Tamilians have almost 10 lakh population each. The Telugu speakers are also close to 8-9 lakh.
The areas where the South Indian population is more are areas like Mayur Vihar, Dilshad Garden, R K Puram, Mehrauli, Rohini, Kalkaji and pockets of Vikaspuri, Dwarka and Uttam Nagar.
Though there are about 30 lakh South Indians in Delhi and can upset the apple cart of any party, they on their own never contested the elections. Most of them are working class or into business.
In terms of Financial health, Delhi ranks second to Goa in generating per capita product and income. Hence development cannot be a poll plank here. If the claim of good governance by Kejriwal works, then AAP has a chance of coming back to power. The BJP would be harping more on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
To what extent will it help in catapulting the saffron party to power here will be known exactly a month later. At this point of time, various surveys indicate that Kejriwal is likely to form the government but with reduced majority. Unlike in the past, Kejriwal this time is keeping away from making personal attacks against Modi.
The Congress party is fragmented. Though it had done well in the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi by finishing second in majority of the seats, it may be difficult for it to repeat the performance as people seem to be having clear preferences.
The party is banking more on the voters in areas where the anti CAA agitations were intense. It remains to be seen if they can make inroads in the five constituencies where Muslim domination is high.
The preferences of Punjabis, upper caste Baniyas, Purvanchalis etc will play a major role. In 2015, Baniyas and Purvanchalis went with AAP. Can AAP retain their faith will emerge only around last week of January.
But one thing is certain: it is once again going to be Kejriwal v/s Modi.