8.40 pm: Arvind Congress' only hope?
The panelists agree that if there is anyway the Congress salvages this year's Assembly elections, it is because AAP is eating away as many votes of the BJP as of the Congress'. "Sheila Dikshit's only hope is Arvind Kejriwal. If Congress at all wins it is because people who would've voted for BJP, might now vote for AAP," says Dasgupta. Sandeep Shastri echoes his feelings.
8.03 pm: Aam Aadmi Party's enthusiasm is infectious, says right wing columnist Swapan Dasgupta
Dasgupta admits that the AAP has upstaged the BJP in Delhi. "It is a spectacular debut. Almost like NTR's debut in politics. He is the proverbial outsider in the national politics - but the sheer enthusiasm of the party and the way they presented a radical cure for Delhi's issues is why they have struck a chord," said Dasgupta.
"Kejriwal covers a multitude of forces that are at times in contracdiction with each other. It is basically a very strong protest movement. BJP's structure is still based on the belief that Delhi still belongs to Baniyas and Punjabis. They are old-fashioned. Kejriwal is an embodiment of anger of the Delhites," he added.
However, CNN IBN managing editor Vinay Tewari puts the Kejriwal wave in perspective. He says, "In other states you are faced with mafia, muscle and financial power and large territories. In Delhi, you face none of these. Kejriwal's real test will come when it moves out of Delhi."
CNN IBN Editor Rajdeep Sardesai notes that like Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer, Arvind Kejriwal is a ebullient gatecrasher in a politics dominated by nepotism and old vote-bank tricks. The fact that Kejriwal has convinced a large section of Delhi's migrant population that they shouldn't be left out of its elite-friendly discourse of development, is why he is a big challenge to the older parties.
8.02 pm: BJP, Congress' biggest adversary - the AAP
The only other state in which the Congress is feeling the same kind of heat that it might in the upcoming general elections is easily Delhi. Mired in issues like price hike, crumbling law and order and Sheila Dikshit's Manmohan Singh-complex when it comes to functioning independently, the Delhi elections this year might be an acid test for the Congress. And a survey conducted in Delhi prior to the polls by Lokniti and CSDS for CNN IBN and The Week, reveals that along with troubles of its own making the Congress has found a new and albeit strong adversary in Arvind Kejriwal's 10-month-old party AAP.
Twenty-eight percent of the 2507 voters that the survey covered in Delhi, said that they are willing to vote for AAP. Compare this to Congress' 27 percent and BJP's 29 percent, it's evident that Kejriwal's party has made more than just a dent on the big sharks' vote-share. In fact, the survey revealed that people who choose to vote for BJP, think that Arvind Kejriwal is a fitting chief minister for Delhi.
On the other hand, BJP's CM candidate Harsh Vardhan got just two percent of the votes as a possible CM - way below his party's former contender for the post Vijay Goel.
The AAP, also seemed to have a fairly tangible sway irrespective of caste and classes. While the upper classes favour Kejriwal in Delhi, chunks of Congress' traditional voters - the lower classes and minorities - are turning towards AAP as a credible alternative to the Sheila Dikshit government.
According to the survey, Delhi is voting keeping a sharp rise in inflation and general decline in the quality of governance in mind. Only two percent of the respondents will be voting keeping in mind the sharp decline in women's safety in the city - this despite the huge uproar following incidents of rape.
Updated Date: Oct 30, 2013 20:48 PM