New Delhi: As the campaign for the Assembly polls came to an end on Monday and elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh over, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders looked confident of winning at least two of the four key states. They appeared unsure of the other two.
Party sources said they were sure Vasundhara Raje Scindia would romp home in Rajasthan, while Shivraj Singh Chouhan would retain Madhya Pradesh. The party, however, remained circumspect on the outcome in Chhattisgarh, where Raman Singh is fighting for a third term.
The results of these elections will have an impact on the party's strategy in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament. Party leaders said if it won all the four states, it would treat the results as a no-confidence vote against the Centre. In such a scenario, smooth running of the House will be the last thing to expect.
Though it was initially confident of retaining power in Chhattisgarh, the party is now calling it a close encounter, as usually high voter turnout could go against the incumbent government. In Delhi, though the party had put up a brave front all along, it accepted that Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could make some inroads. However, they hoped AAP would cut into the Congress vote base.
At a press conference addressed by senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, the party — perhaps for the first time — attacked AAP more than it did the Congress. Sources said AAP might upset its plans.
In fact, former party chief Nitin Gadkari said the Congress and the nascent political party had entered into an understanding ahead of the assembly elections to divide opposition votes. But he said their plan would not work.
Gadkari said,"The politics of Delhi is polarised between the Congress and BJP. The reason for the Congress to support the AAP is that it wants the anti-Congress votes to be divided between the BJP and the AAP."
"The BJP is united. We will get a comfortable majority and are sure to form the next government in Delhi," he added.
Rubbishing AAP's claim that it would win at least 50 seats in Delhi, Gadkari said, "I think the truth will come out on December 8. AAP might get one or two seats but not enough to form a government."
Talking about the high-profile contest between Sheila Dikshit, Arvind Kejriwal and Vijender Gupta from the New Delhi constituency, he said, "Sheila Dikshit will lose this election as the seat is a BJP stronghold. I think we will definitely win these elections."
In addition to the threat posed by AAP, factional feuds within the party might take a toll on its prospects. The differences between Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel and chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan are yet to die down. Vardhan was cold-shouldered by Goel during the press conference and was made to speak the last.