NEW DELHI: The battle for the nation’s capital will commence on February 8 and its results will be announced three days later, on February 11, the Election Commission said on Monday. A total of 1.46 crore voters can exercise their franchise in the elections, which is set to witness a triangular contest between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
The much-anticipated Delhi Assembly elections, to be held in a single phase, is a prestige war for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party which is seeking re-election after an electrifying victory in 2015 when AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the Assembly.
The Congress drew a blank, while the BJP had won three seats.
According to a CVoter survey, the BJP may suffer its third consecutive setback after the Maharash-tra and Jharkhand rout. “The Aam Aadmi Party looks set to clinch 59 seats in the 70-seat Assembly, while the BJP is likely to slump at 8 seats. The Congress is likely to save some face this time with three seats, as against its previous zero,” the survey said.
Announcing the poll dates on Monday, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect in Delhi immediately. He said the notification for the polls will be issued on January 14 while the last date of withdrawal of candidature is January 24. The nomination process will commence with the issuance of the notification.
Major campaign planks for Delhi elections are likely to be the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Citizenship (Amendment) Act, air pollution and women’s safety. The demand for full statehood for Delhi will also be part of the AAP’s election narrative.
The announcement of the poll schedule comes days after the city witnessed incidents of violence and protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed countrywide NRC. Responding to a question on the law and order situation in the national capital, the CEC said, “I won’t say we (the commission) are very sanguine, but we are hopeful that they (police) will be able to control the situation (and make it) conducive for polls.”