Lok Sabha Election 2019: The proposed pre-poll alliance between the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party was based on the wrong assumption that their combined might could beat BJP in Delhi.
Delhi Election Results: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who brought down the BJP to dust in 2015 assembly election by winning 67 of total 70 seats in the national capital, was unsure of his party’s chances in this Lok Sabha election from the beginning. He tried to join hands with the Congress to jointly take on the might of the BJP in the national capital. It was simple poll arithmetic that was bringing them closer – their combined vote share in 2014 Lok Sabha election was more than that of the BJP in 6 of total 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.
However, a protracted negotiation between the parties to iron out the differences over the seat sharing eventually failed on April 22, just a day before the last date for filing the nomination in Delhi.
A careful scrutiny of election results shows that the proposed AAP-Congress alliance would have proved completely ineffective in the face of BJP’s victorious march in the national capital.
In this Lok Sabha election, BJP’s vote share in all seven Lok Sabha seats in national capital is comfortably more than the combined vote share of both Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress.
In Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate and sitting union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan bagged 52.94% popular votes, 8.53% more votes than the combined vote share of Congress candidate JP Agarwal (29.67%) and Pankaj Kumar Gupta (14.74%).
Chandni Chowk is the only seat where the difference between the popular votes bagged by the BJP and combined votes polled by the Congress-AAP is less than 10%. In six other seats, the gap is in double digits. And in two seats – West Delhi and North West Delhi, the difference between BJP and the combined votes of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party is more than 20%.
In East Delhi Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir polled 55.35% popular votes, 13.67% more than the combined votes polled by the Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely (24.24%) and AAP candidate Atishi (17.44%).
Similarly, in North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate and its state president Manoj Tiwari polled 53.9% popular votes, 13.06% more than the combined votes polled by the Congress candidate Sheila Dikshi, a three-time former Delhi chief minister (28.85%) and AAP candidate Dilip Pandey (13.06%).
In high profile New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidate Meenakshi Lekhi bagged 54.77% popular votes as against 43.24% votes jointly polled by former union minister Ajay Makan (26.91%), AAP candidate Brijesh Goyal (16.33%), a gain of 11.53% over the combined vote share of both AAP and the Congress.
In South Delhi Lok Sabha seat, where BJP candidate Ramesh Bidhuri and AAP candidate Raghav Chadha fought a bitter electoral battle, the gap between the popular votes bagged by the BJP and combined votes polled by AAP-Congress is 16.67%. While Bidhuri got 56.58% popular votes, Raghav Chadha got 26.35% and Congress candidate, boxer Vijender Singh got just 13.56% popular votes.
There are two Lok Sabha seats – West Delhi and North West Delhi – where the gap between the combined votes polled by the Congress-AAP and the BJP is more than 20%.
In North West Delhi Lok Sabha seat, while BJP candidate and singer Hans Raj Hans polled 60.49% popular votes due to a strong wave in favor of Prime Minister Modi, Aam Aadmi Party candidate Gugan Singh got 21.01% votes and Congress candidate Rajesh Lilothia came at the third spot by bagging just 16.88% votes. BJP’s vote share is 22.6% more than the combined vote share of Congress-AAP (37.89%) in North West Delhi seat.
In 2014, there was only one BJP candidate, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, who had polled more popular votes than the combined votes polled by the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.
Parvesh Verma was able to repeat his spectacular win in this Lok Sabha election too as he bagged 60.05% popular votes, 22.68% more than the combined votes polled by the Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra (19.92%) and Aam Aadmi Party candidate Balbir Jakhar (17.47%).
Arvind Kejriwal’s eagerness to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in Delhi was understandable as he was working on the same formula adopted by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh.
Though, AAP-Congress pre-poll alliance in Delhi did not materialise but it was also based on the false assumption that any two parties having won more popular votes than their common rival in any previous election will be able to beat their rival by joining hands.
This assumption is based on the wrong premise that the alliance partners will not only be able to retain their votes in future elections but they will also be able to transfer their votes to each other against a common foe.
In Uttar Pradesh, the same premise brought Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati together as the combined vote share of SP-BSP in 2014 Lok Sabha poll was more than that of the BJP in 41 seats in the state.
However, SP-BSP-RLD Mahagathbandhan proved ineffective against Prime Minister Modi. And given the margin of BJP’s victory in all seven seats, it is clear that the proposed AAP-Congress alliance in Delhi would have met the same fate.