KEJRIWAL’S DOLE: Delhi CM plans free ride to women in Metro and buses; aims win in assembly polls

NEWS KEJRIWAL DELHI

NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, set to face assembly polls here six months hence, has announced free travel facility for women on the Delhi Metro and on buses in the city. As per estimates, this would entail a direct liability of Rs 2,000crore on the state exchequer.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) faced total rout in the Delhi assembly polls in the recent Lok Sabha polls. The BJP won all the seven LS seats from the capital, sending the AAP and the Congress scurrying for cover. He was willing to have a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, but former chief minister Sheila Dikshit and some others scuttled the plan from the Congress side.

The New Delhi LS seat was won Meenakshi Lekhi, North-East Delhi by Manoj Tiwari, North-West Delhi by Hans Raj Hans, South Delhi by Ramesh Bidhuri, West Delhi by Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, Chandni Chowk by Harsh Vardhan (Union Home Minister), and East Delhi by Goutam Gambhir, all BJP nominees. 

The AAP nominees came runner up (second place) in two seats – North West Delhi and South Delhi. The Congress came second in the other five seats.

The rout for the AAP was so huge that even in the two constituencies it came runner-up, the difference in vote share with the winning BJP nominees was large. In North-West Delhi, where BJP won 61 per cent of the polled votes, the AAP got 21 per cent. In South Delhi, the AAP got 26 per cent votes against BJP’s 56 per cent. BJP’s margin of victory in the other seats too huge, vis-a-vis Congress. The total vote share of the AAP in this polls was just about 18 per cent.

However, the LS election was all about whether PM Modi should get a second chance or not. In the coming assembly polls, a similar question could be asked, whether Kejriwal should get a second term. The voting pattern could be different. It is here that the AAP still has some hope about retaining power in Delhi. 

LAST ASSEMBLY POLLS

In the February 2015 assembly polls, Kejriwal’s AAP had a near-clean sweep, winning 67 of the 70 seats. The BJP got just three seats. The BJP had projected former super cop Kiran Bedi as its CM nominee, set against AAP’s Kejriwal. The Congress projected former CM, Sheila Dikshit, a popular CM for repeated terms but got her image tarnished by what was known as the Common Wealth Games Scam under the UPA II period. 

2013 ASSEMBLY POLLS

In the 2013 assembly polls, which resulted in a hung assembly, the BJP and its ally the SAD had won 32 of the 70 seats. AAP got 28 seats, and the Congress 8 seats. Kejriwal formed the ministry in December that year with outside support of the Congress, which was keen on keeping the BJP-SAD out of power. In February 2014, after being in power for 49 days, Kejriwal quit as the Congress was not keen on giving him a long term.

Kejriwal then said he was quitting as he was not in a position to pass the Jan Lok Pal Bill against corruption, due to lack of support from other parties in the assembly. Kejriwal returned to power in the 2015 February polls. IHN-NN
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