When elections are being conducted for 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the outcome of a mere seven is unlikely to heavily influence the overall balance of power. Yet when those are the prestigious seats from the Capital they carry decidedly more weight than the numbers might suggest.
For while the route to Raisina Hill is generally perceived as running through UP, Delhi is often deemed an accurate barometer of national preferences. Hence the virtual failure (technically a deal is still possible) of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party to present a common front against the BJP (both claim it is their principal adversary) is symptomatic of the larger failure of the Opposition to pressure the NDA into a series of one-on-one contests.
The Congress finds itself without a genuine ally in UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra etc., so speculation runs riot that even if the 2014 verdict is dramatically altered, who will lead an alternative formulation. Rahul Gandhi and his cronies would be living in fantasyland if they think they can take “leadership” for granted.
A certain arrogance could shatter their dreams. It was probably a mistake to recall Sheila Dikshit to lead the Congress in Delhi. Having been ejected by the AAP from the office she had held for three terms there was no way in which she could come to terms with Kejriwal’s bid to call the shots.
Not that asking another veteran in PC Chacko to lead the “negotiations” was a good choice. He had been around when the Congress wielded so much clout that he was unable to adjust to changed new realities ~ and none of three parties in the fray, not even the BJP, could be certain of stepping up from MLA to MP. It cannot be forgotten that the AAP has not grained control of even one of three municipalities, where politicians cut their teeth: something which Kejriwal and his team also need to recognise.
The AAPs insistence on extending the Congress tie-up to Haryana was as arrogant as anything Rahul Gandhi has said in recent weeks. He has yet to attain any high office but already finds himself surrounded by fawning sycophants. It is true that the BJP cannot claim monopoly rights over any one of the seven seats under focus, but “sitting MPs” do have a head-start, more so when pitted against proven failures.
Does Rahul really think he has it him to breathe fresh life into spent bullets? In so many ways, Delhi’s seven seats “punch above their weight”, even inside parties there is “needle” to the contests. For example, will a first-timer like Gautam Gambhir “wrest” the New Delhi seat from Meenakshi Lekhi? Or can JP Aggarwal retain his place as a leading Dilliwallah? There is scope for excitement even lower down the pecking order.