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Is AAP conceding to Congress’ Ajay Maken in the ‘New Delhi’ constituency? That’s what some BJP karyakartas think

In the 2014 general elections, Meenakshi Lekhi had won from the New Delhi constituency with a 46.73% vote share. While AAP came in second, Congress' Ajay Maken came in third.

The alliance between Congress and Aam Admi Party has been one of the most interesting stories this election. Their on-again-off-again relationship has been a source of amusement for many and a source of frustration for the others, depending on where your political loyalties lie. The ones who support BJP have been amused by the indecisiveness and the Twitter shenanigans of Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal, the others have been frustrated because the poll prospects Congress or AAP independently don’t look very bright.

Recently, news came in that the alliance between AAP and Congress was officially off the cards as both parties fielded their candidates for all constituencies. Ajay Maken, in an interview today also mentioned that without an alliance between the two parties, BJP might just sweep all 7 seats in Delhi.

With all of this, one would imagine that there would be a fierce competition between AAP and Congress to wrest control of the constituencies away from BJP, a party that is poised to sweep Delhi is the alliance is off.

However, is that the case?

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Reports are now trickling in that at least in the New Delhi constituency that might not be entirely true. The New Delhi constituency is a high profile fight between Congress’ Ajay Maken, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi and AAP’s Brijesh Goyal and according to ground workers of the BJP, AAP is conceding space to Congress’ Ajay Maken almost giving him a walkover.

Rohit Virmani, a ground karyakarta of BJP has alleged that the campaign team of AAP is hardly on the ground and it seems like a tacit understanding between AAP and Congress to let Ajay Maken win by transferring all of AAP’s votes to Congress.

“Brijesh Goyal’s team is hardly campaigning. They have done a lot of drama about the alliance being off, but it seems like on the ground they have some sort of understanding. AAP is just not campaigning in the New Delhi constituency like it generally does. They are there a little bit, here and there, but hardly campaigning as they should”.

Another campaigner for BJP, Rohit Singh had a different take on the situation. He said the AAP has conceded defeat and is hoping that if they go easy on Congress, there could be a post-poll alliance that would keep AAP relevant at least for a couple of years more.

“Arvind Kejriwal has lost ground support. His naatak of calling voters up and saying that their names have been deleted from the voter list has backfired. People can see through his lies and that’s why he is going easy on Ajay Maken. He seems to be hoping that if they let Maken save face, Congress will be helpful to them and do a post-poll alliance just so he can stay relevant”.

Rajesh, another BJP worker said that just like in Uttar Pradesh, AAP and Congress seem to be doing this alliance tango for show. So Kejriwal and Maken both can retain their core voters. Ultimately they are transferring votes to each other where they think either of the candidates is strong, especially in New Delhi.

When we reached out to a volunteer from Meenakshi Lekhi’s campaign team, the volunteer was upbeat and said that the people recognise the work of Meenakshi Lekhi and especially, the work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and no matter how Congress and AAP try to tango, victory shall be BJP’s.

In the 2014 general elections, Meenakshi Lekhi had won from the New Delhi constituency with a 46.73% vote share. While AAP came in second, Congress’ Ajay Maken came in third. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it remains to be seen whether AAP’s strategy of tacitly supporting Maken would save face for Congress or would Lekhi still sweep the elections like 2014.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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