Voters were greeted with Jai Shri Ram and Vande Matram by “commoners” standing near a road leading to a polling booth in Nirman Vihar area of East Delhi.
Passersby were offered homemade sandwiches and tea with an appeal to vote for OP Sharma, the BJP candidate contesting from Vishwas Nagar Assembly seat.
Donning his saffron turban, a BJP worker, sitting under a banner picturing Bharat Mata and a few slogans in support of CAA-NRC hanging on the gate of the polling booth, was confident of BJP “storming to power this time” when he was presented queries about the turnout and general mood of the public.
However, in a surprise volte-face, as the conversation progressed, the BJP worker accepted in an “off-record conversation” that though AAP has fielded a “wrong candidate,” they were going to win the polls by a thumping majority.
Referring to Deepak Singla, the AAP candidate from the same constituency, the BJP worker said, “Though the ED has just raided his house in connection with corruption cases, he will defeat our candidate as people are casting their votes in favour of Kejriwal, not candidates.”
Lack of a credible CM face, he believed, has proven to be be detrimental. Also, the BJP made a Himalayan blunder by appointing Manoj Tiwari, a “nachaiya-gawaiya” as the head of the Delhi BJP, he added.
People who were silent till sometime back nodded in agreement. Another BJP supporter complained that a lot of negative campaigning to defeat the BJP was undertaken by rival parties.
Cut to Laxminagar, a-trader-dominated constituency which has traditionally been a stronghold of Congress candidate AK Walia. Here BJP workers had the same anecdotes to share with.
They conceded in “off-record” conversations that the BJP, despite all efforts to polarise the election, was going to lose the battle.
A senior RSS activist who is a resident of the J-K Block of the Laxminagar constituency told this reporter that the AAP’s positive campaigning had a huge impact on people’s mind.
“They out mastered us in narrative building,” he said, adding “Entry of the Congress candidate AK Walia made contest triangular in Krishna Nagar but eventually AAP will succeed in this constituency also.”
In Pandav Nagar, people have the same impression about the result. Though AAP’s cadre were more visible on the ground in this area, a BJP worker quipped, “AAP to logo ke dimag me hai (AAP is in people’s mind).” Such a statement from a BJP cadre not only summarises the poll battle but gives a concrete indication of the forthcoming results.
It is worth mentioning here that in the last assembly election, AAP had won all seats in East Delhi except Vishwas Nagar. Results for Delhi polls will be announced on February 11.