Every opinion poll on the Delhi Assembly elections 2020 has hinted at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) returning to power with a comfortable majority and the shrill and communally polarising campaign of the BJP failing to cut much ice with the voters. The mood in the national capital suggests the same but people on the streets of Delhi are apprehensive of possible tampering or replacement of electronic voting machines (EVMs) that may see the BJP steal an unfair victory.
A Times Now-IPSOS survey has shown AAP winning around 54-60 of the total 70 Assembly constituencies. The BJP, on the other hand, is expected to pocket 10-14 seats, and the Indian National Congress, 0-2 seats, the survey predicts. As per the findings of the ABP News-CVoter survey, AAP is projected to return to power by bagging seats ranging between 42 and 56.
But with BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah claiming a few days back that the Delhi election results will shock everyone, people are suspicious of the role of EVMs. The Quint reported on February 7 that in an RTI reply to the news outlet, the Public Information Officer of Delhi Election Commission said that “the VVPAT slips (of Lok Sabha 2019) have been disposed off” just four months after the polls were held. The rule is to hold them for at least a year. This tearing hurry on part of the EC to destroy VVPAT slips surely can’t instil people’s confidence either in the impartiality of the Commission or the infallibility of EVMs.
This Delhi election is not just another Assembly election. After Lok Sabha polls 2019, the BJP has lost power in Maharashtra and Jharkhand and had to go for a post-poll tie-up with JJP to somehow hold on to power in Haryana. Amit Shah has staked so much on the Delhi election campaign that a loss will be a fall from grace for the “Chanakya” of the saffron party.
A senior political analyst remarked, “This is a matter of personal pride and credibility for Amit Shah. He has upped the ante here and brought 375 MPs and so many chief ministers. The entire campaign has hinged on CAA-NRC and demonisation of the anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh. The BJP can’t afford to lose this. Do not rule out the seemingly impossible.”
Jitendra Kumar is a roadside vendor in a South Delhi locality. He hails from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh but votes in Delhi. He says, “After the Lok Sabha results came out, people back home were surprised at the huge margin of victory of Sakhshi Maharaj. Everyone on the street was wondering who all voted for him. The word ‘masin (machine) ka khel’ was on everyone’s lips.”
“Here too, you can’t rule out such a thing. These people can do anything to hold on to power. They have been hoodwinking people for the last six years,” quipped Ramlochan Sharma who was checking out the wares on Kumar’s table.