Twenty-two years on, the office of the Delhi chief minister continues to elude the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the Election Commission (EC) trends till 3 PM gave the party a lead on just seven of the 70 assembly constituencies. While the election hasn’t been called yet and BJP’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari has appealed to the party cadre and backers to wait for the final results to be announced, it is all but certain that the BJP is headed to warm the opposition benches for another term. In what could be a further dampaner for the party, the BJP is in the vicinity of its 2015 tally, when it managed to win just three seats.
In fact, AAP may well be headed for a clean sweep in the Delhi assembly, if the current trends persist.
The last time a BJP CM ruled Delhi was back in 1998, when the late union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj headed the national capital’s government for 51 days. Before Swaraj, between 1993 and 1998, the late Sahib Singh Varma and Madan Lal Khurana were in power in the National Capital.
In fact, after the post of chief minister was established in 1993 following the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, three BJP CMs had ruled Delhi before the three-term chief minister Sheila Dikshit assumed office in 1998.
Congress was dethroned from the post in 2013, after a then fledgling Aam Aadmi Party came to power with backing of Congress. In 2015, a landslide victory of AAP gave it 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly.
In the latest election, AAP is leading on 58 seats, a figure consistent with prediction of exit polls.
In BJP’s defeat, the party’s consistent vote share in national capital is a fact that can’t be overlooked, a senior journalist who has been covering politics for over a decade points out.
So far in the current counting round, BJP has managed to secure a vote share of 39 per cent, more or less stable with the party’s share in the previous three assembly elections, the scribe says.
When it lost power to Congress in 1998, the party’s vote share was 34 per cent. Ten years later in 2008 when it failed to dislodge Dikshit from power, the party’s vote share stood at 36 per cent.
Even in 2015, when the party won just three seats, BJP’s vote share was a decent 32 per cent.
Significantly, a 32 per cent vote share on the national level gave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) a clean majority in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.