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The national capital will set the political mood for 2020

Editorial | New Delhi

After days of the feverish, high-pitch and mentally exhausting electoral process, the partial verdicts are out. Pollsters have predicted a resounding, yet cautious, victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2020 assembly polls. As the noise around one of the shrillest campaign settles, the verdict will be relevant for reasons more than one.

The results will set the tone for the elections in other states going forward in 2020. As the first elections of the new decade and the year, the results will hold significance in the assessment of changing voter patterns across the country. The dual voter mindset has been a new phenomenon in Indian polity where people vote differently in the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha. Reportage during the Parliamentary and Assembly polls conducted shows that people have different approaches to the two polls. With the Bihar elections set to be held later this year the data from Delhi will hold key to future campaign strategies and preparations.

Fought on the plank of development versus nationalism rhetoric, Delhi has set a new pedestal for electioneering. If the AAP wins the elections, as is predicted, the message will be loud and clear, basic needs triumph the larger than life nationalism pitch in assembly polls, forcing the Bharatiya Janata Party to rethink its strategies going forward. The party has already lost in Jharkhand, underperformed in Haryana and was unable to form government in Maharashtra since Modi 2.0 came to power. A loss in Delhi will be a major blow to the Modi-Shah juggernaut while a massive boost for regional parties taking a stance against the Centre. Both in Bengal and Bihar, the TMC and RJD have shown a determination against the Centre.

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For the Election Commission of India (ECI), a major takeaway from the capital polls will be the poor voter turnout. Despite massive advertising and awareness campaigns just over 53 per cent voting was recorded in the national capital. The poll watchdog needs to assess where it lacked in getting people to the booths, if not, a fractured mandate will not help the cause. With the quality of poll campaigns falling by the day, the commission needs to up the ante and take harsh actions to control politicians who cross the line, as a constitutional body the EC needs to take a stand and maintain it.

Whosoever wins on February 11, there will be deliberations, agreements, and debates, but one thing remains constant, the capital will pave the way.

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