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The biggest democratic exercise in the world has concluded and come May 23 India would know who will form the 17th Lok Sabha. Over 2,000 parties and 8,000 candidates are contesting for 543 seats across the country, but all eyes will remain on the outcome of the results in the capital.
There is a three-way contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, which voted in the sixth phase on May 12. A total of 164 candidates contested from seven seats -- Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, East Delhi, New Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi and South Delhi -- in the national capital.
Some prominent names from these seats include BJP’s Manoj Tiwari (North East Delhi), former Delhi CM and Congress veteran Sheila Dikshit (North East Delhi), Congress leader Ajay Maken (New Delhi), cricketer-turned-politician who joined BJP Gautam Gambhir (East Delhi), boxer Vijender Singh from Congress (South Delhi), popular AAP leaders Atishi (East Delhi) and Raghav Chadha (South Delhi).
While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has claimed that both BJP and Congress have lied to the people of Delhi about complete statehood, the Congress has been harping about 15 years of good governance that Sheila Dixit gave the capital. Not far behind is BJP, which is riding on brand Modi.
Political analysts feel the 37-year-old Aam Aadmi Party candidate Atishi Marlena, who has been pitted in East Delhi against Gautam Gambhir, as one of the most winnable candidates thanks to the work she has done to improve the quality of education in Delhi.
Atishi’s work in education has shaped her election campaign, but it remains to be seen whether it can be translated to votes.
Ten years after he won the first major medal in boxing for India at the Olympics, Vijender Singh is up for another fight, from South Delhi. He hit out at the AAP government and claimed that the party failed to deliver on their promises.
He raised questions over the condition of mohalla clinics and schools under the state government and said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi would be the right choice to lead the nation.
Although there was a large turnout of voters this time around, the people have time and again raised issued such as women’s safety, economic development, job opportunities and a stable government in the national capital as their most prominent concerns. Delhi was ranked the most unsafe city in India, with nearly 40 percent of rapes, 33 percent of crimes against women and the highest crime rate in 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data.
There as many as 6,442,762 registered women voters in Delhi and most of them would have voted keep their safety in mind. Many women feel unsafe at night as roads are not well lit, they have also claimed that there is less accountability and more blame game.
Rising air pollution has also been a serious concern, so much so that Kejriwal had gone on to call it a gas chamber. Water crisis is another challenge that people in Delhi have been grappling with for decades.Now, what remains to be seen is who the people have chosen to solve their issues. Will it be brand Modi that would swing voters in BJP’s favour, or will Kejriwal upend opponents with his minimalistic governance, or will the Congress return to power with veteran leaders, we would get to know on May 23.