Four Delhi police constables ensure that the traffic is not blocked as a street play takes place in Darya Ganj, one of the upmarket neighbourhoods in central Delhi. Next to a row of juice bars, as pert of the play, ten volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tell a crowd of around 25 people why their party offers the city’s only hope for change.
“Isse vote mil jaayega kya? (Will this get them votes?)”, says an observers before whizzing past in an SUV.
AAP member and psephologist, Yogendra Yadav says he is not fazed by such comments.
“The upper class is still critical of us,” shrugs Yadav, who has supervised two surveys to gauge AAP’s electoral prospects in the national capital.
According to their internal numbers, AAP will get 27 per cent of the vote share and 41 per cent voters prefer Arvind Kejriwal as the next chief minister. The new and biggest survey commissioned by the party is expected to offer a clearer picture of how it will fare in each assembly seat.
So, who are these AAP voters?
Yadav says the AAP base resembles the classic pyramid.
"Around 20 per cent of upper class has extended support to us. As we move down the economic strata, the support for the party becomes broader," he said.
The AAP is banking heavily on the lower income strata in Delhi which has traditionally voted for the Congress. The lower middle class and low income classes in Delhi reside in unauthorised colonies, resettlement colonies and juggi jhopri clusters.
The Congress is now fiercely courting their votes with programs such as the food security scheme, ownership rights for inhabitants of resettlement colonies and regularisation of unauthorised colonies.
In the 2008 assembly election, BSP made a dent in Congress' vote share amongst the lower income classes which influence the outcome in eleven reserved seats. The BSP’s tally increased significantly in these seats.
While the Congress retained eight of the eleven seats, one seat went to the BSP. Mayawati’s party performed third best in nine reserved seats and came second in one seat. The party’s total vote share in Delhi went up from 9 percent in the 2003 assembly election to 14 percent in 2008.
This demographic is now being targeted by the AAP in the run-up to 2013 poll. From the very beginning, the party strategy has focused on wooing the lower middle class and low income voter in Delhi, says Anand Kumar, sociologist with Jawaharlal Nehru University and AAP spokesperson.
“The protests over inflated water and power tariffs were done to address the grievances of these two classes. The idea was to hit the lowest common denominator,” says Kumar.
AAP is also counting on one other factor: age.
"People below 35 years of age have been very receptive of our messages," Yadav said.
The Jan Lokpal movement, from which the party was carved out, enjoyed significant support among the Delhi youth. Many of the party’s campaign strategies such as the use of social media are striking a chord amongst these voters.
The AAP has also been running voter registration campaign in institutes of higher education in Delhi to tap into first time voters. More than 80 per cent of 25,000 young people polled by AAP said they will vote for the party.
But AAP is struggling with older voters. Although the AAP appeals to people across age groups, it is yet to turn the 50 plus age group in its favour.
“We don’t have an age-wise division of people who support us, but the trend is that with people above 50 years of age, we still need lot of persuasion," Yadav said.
Published Date: Sep 28, 2013 03:09 pm | Updated Date: Sep 28, 2013 03:09 pm