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Broom jitters for Big Two

Sheila Dikshit arrives for a news conference in Delhi on Thursday. The chief minister exuded confidence about a fourth consecutive victory for the Congress in the Assembly polls. “The Congress would form the government on its own without any alliance (with any other party),” she said in the evening.
Earlier in the day, she had dodged a question about
the possibility of a post-poll alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party if the Congress falls short of majority. “I will be able to answer the question when such a situation arises,” she had said.
The chief minister said she was confident “as people of Delhi will support the Congress which has ensured inclusive growth in the last 15 years”.
PTI

Sheila Dikshit arrives for a news conference in Delhi on Thursday. The chief minister exuded confidence about a fourth consecutive victory for the Congress in the Assembly polls.

“The Congress would form the government on its own without any alliance (with any other party),” she said in the evening.

Earlier in the day, she had dodged a question about the possibility of a post-poll alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party if the Congress falls short of majority.

“I will be able to answer the question when such a situation arises,” she had said.

The chief minister said she was confident “as people of Delhi will support the Congress which has ensured inclusive growth in the last 15 years”.

New Delhi, Nov. 28: The “broom” is threatening to sweep away the “hand” that rules Delhi and the “lotus” yearning to bloom again.

The buzz around Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is giving jitters to the Congress and the BJP with less than a week to go for the Delhi polls.

What has fuelled the worries are opinion polls suggesting that the AAP has struck a chord among both the poor and middle class, despite being barely a year old.

The AAP’s debut is riding on its anti-graft theme and appeal to “give an honest party” a chance. The elections will be held on December 4.

Congress aur BJP ko dekh liya. Is baar yahan jhaadu ka bol-bala hai” (We have seen the Congress and the BJP. This time around the broom (the AAP’s election symbol) is going strong),” said vegetable vendor Janardan Das in Siddharth Basti, a slum in the city’s Nizamuddin area.

The worries of the two main rivals have persisted despite a jolt to the AAP’s initial surge from a sting operation purportedly showing some prominent faces of the party ready to accept unaccounted cash, creating an impression among some that it wasn’t any different from other parties.

In October, a survey by ABP News and AC Nielsen predicted 18 seats for the AAP in the 70-member Assembly. The number came down to 10 in a study earlier this month after the sting that party leaders have dismissed as spurious.

“The CD was doctored. The Congress and the BJP have been rattled by the AAP’s popularity, so the conspiracy to defame us,” AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said.

Among the poor, Kejriwal’s appeal seems untrammelled, powered by the working class symbol of jhaadu (broom) and the AAP’s promise of sops, including cheaper power and water.

The BJP, desperate to wrest Delhi ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls, seems more worried. It fears the AAP will split anti-incumbency votes and spoil its chances.

The Congress, with its hand symbol, is rattled too after feedback that the AAP is making a dent in its support base. Publicly, though, ruling party leaders have shrugged off the threat.

“The man who came with a clean image now has a darkened image,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who aspires to a fourth term in power in a row, said about Kejriwal on a channel today. The AAP chief is contesting against her from the New Delhi Assembly constituency.

The BJP is now counting on mascot Narendra Modi’s appeal, hoping it will eventually lead voters to look at the larger picture and press the lotus button.