Facing political exile for more than two decades in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is desperate to do well in this assembly election. The party is trying hard to stop the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from coming back to government again. The history of assembly elections in Delhi suggests the way of BJP’s access to power will pass through the 12 reserved seats which have their own distinct significance in the 70 assembly seats of Delhi.
The BJP had been out of power since the 1998 assembly elections in Delhi till date. Analysing the data, the party has found that, since 1998, the voters of these reserved seats played a very important role in helping the first Indian National Congress (INC) and then the AAP grab power.
In the 1993 assembly election, the BJP had won 49 of the 70 seats in Delhi. At the time, the total number of reserved seats for Scheduled Caste candidates in Delhi was nine and BJP had won 5 of these seats. BJP’s performance in reserved seats has not been good during the last 15-20 years.
However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won larger constituencies that contained all these reserved seats. According to experts, during the last six months, most of the announcements of the Delhi government have benefited the people living in these reserved seats. If the BJP is to take over power in Delhi, it will have to try to win as many of these 12 reserved seats while the INC is eyeing these seats too.
The AAP won nine out of 12 reserved seats in the 2013 Delhi Assembly election and then won all the seats in the 2015 election. In the next month’s election, the challenge before the party is to maintain 100% of the winning record.
The AAP has made education reforms a big issue in this Delhi election. The party believes that the education policy of its government has benefited the poor, children and youth of Dalit society. Party leaders say that a scheme for skill development will be started for the youth of Dalit society so that youngsters who were unable to complete their studies could get employment easily after this training.
AAP has not yet released the list of candidates, but it is believed that the party can give MLAs the chance to win these seats once again.
Since the formation of the Delhi Legislative Assembly in 1993, the INC has been dominating the reserved seats of Delhi, but in the 2015 elections, the party was swept away in all these seats as in the whole of Delhi. However, in this election, the INC is once again preparing a strategy to capture these seats.
The state unit of the INC says that they have better, qualified and experienced leaders than the other two parties. Party sources say that they have Krishna Tirath from the Jatav Samaj, Udit Raj from the Khatik Samaj and Jaikishan from the Balmiki Samaj to woo the reserved constituencies. The INC says that the party will also give priority to the leaders of the Regar Samaj.
Recalling a prophecy about a post-Lok Sabha election scenario that everybody knew wasn’t serious: