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BJP no threat in Delhi polls sans manufactured Modi wave: AAP

New Delhi : In what seems to be a belated attempt to right a horrible political miscalculation that proved extremely costly in Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party has publicly apologised to Delhi’s voters even as they changed their mind on seeking a referendum on what their next move in Delhi should be. A grim Arvind Kejriwal emerged from the meeting of his MLAs this morning to announce that his party "will start preparing for fresh elections". This comes a day after the former Delhi chief minister did a U-turn on their demand for early assembly elections when he met the Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung asking him not to dissolve the assembly just yet.Asked why the party had dropped the referendum plan, former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti told Firstpost, "Today was the legislature party meeting of MLAs. There we decided that the best course available to us was going for elections because there is no possibility of forming a government. Even if we go for referendum what will we tell people? 

There has to be possibility, if people are to be approached." With 27 MLAs (excluding Vinod Kumar Binny who was expelled from the party), AAP is nine short of a majority in a house of 70 seats. And with the Congress on Tuesday categorically ruling out the possibility of extending support to AAP (like they had done in December), AAP simply does not have the numbers to form a government. But what was the rationale for going for a referendum in the first place? What was the reason some MLAs wanted Kejriwal to try and form the government again? "Their argument was that AAP had been labelled as a party that ran away from government. And that the only way to dispel that tag was to form the government again and prove that perception wrong," said Bharti. Delhi has been under President’s Rule (and the Assembly under suspended animation) since February when the minority government led by AAP resigned accusing the Congress and the BJP of colluding to prevent the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Unhappy with L-G’s decision not to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections, AAP had then moved the Supreme Court challenging the President’s Rule. 

The apex court in April in response to AAP’s petition had clarified that the L-G was empowered to revoke the one-year proclamation of President’s Rule and call for fresh polls. And now the seismic shift in the political scenario in India with the declaration of the Lok Sabha polls, where AAP failed to win any of the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi, has come a jolt to the party, forcing it to re-assess its political strategy going forward. That explains AAP’s initial flip-flop over forming government in Delhi and finally Kejriwal’s apology to voters for quitting as CM before announcing that his party was ready for polls. BJP’s sweep of Delhi, winning all 7 Lok Sabha seats, and the lead it has taken in terms of vote-share (46.4 percent to AAP’s 32.9 percent) is bound to have an impact on AAP’s electoral fortunes in Delhi. It is unlikely, say psephologists, going by voting patterns in the Lok Sabha election that AAP will be able to win anywhere near the number of seats it had won in December. 

But AAP MLAs believe that without the "manufactured Modi-wave" driving the BJP campaign this time, it will not be able to repeat its Lok Sabha performance in the Delhi assembly election. "We are not worried at all. How will BJP answer for the huge corruption in Delhi’s municipal corporation (MCD) that it has been controlling for the last eight years? MCD is the mother of all corrupt departments. A manufactured wave brought by Modi in the Centre will not work in Delhi elections… Delhi is ready, it has not accepted BJP in the state," said Bharti. Asked about the significant lead BJP has over them in terms of vote-share, the AAP MLA said, "The vote-share of the BJP has gone up not because of the candidates, it is because Modi’s manufactured wave. Modi is the not answer for Delhi government. Modi is not the answer for MCD corruption. Modi is carrying the likes of Yeddyurappa with him and creating a wave by spending thousands of crores." AAP’s priority now, said the former Delhi law minister, was to communicate and reach out to voters. "We will approach voters. We’ll be holding public meeting to discuss developmental work. The MLA fund has been released now. We will hold our mohalla sabhas and chalk out the needs of the constituency and spend the fund accordingly," Bharti said. 

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