Atishi, the Aam Aadmi Party's East Delhi candidate, today expressed confidence that her party would be able to repeat the success it saw in the Delhi assembly polls in the national election as well.
"In 2015 (assembly election), there were so many candidates that people said cannot be defeated. There were three-time, four-time, five-time MLAs (legislators), but it was Aam Aadmi Party with its fresh faces, with candidates who had no assets, who not just defeated the BJP and the Congress but really got Congress down to zero seats and BJP down to three," said Atishi, 37, after she cast her vote today.
Atishi's main rival in East Delhi seat is former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who is fighting on a BJP ticket. She has accused him of circulating severely derogatory pamphlets that attacked her personally. The BJP candidate denied the allegations and responded with a defamation notice, to which Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia also shot a similar counter-threat.
"One of the biggest issues in East Delhi is women's security, cutting across classes, be it women living in poorer localities like Trilokpuri and Kalyanpuri, who struggle with illegal alcohol and drugs being sold on the streets to women who live in Vivek Vihar and Mayur Vihar who feel they cannot step out of their homes at night. I think that is one of the issues on which women will vote," said Atishi.
On whether she sees silent voters as a risk factor who may vote for the Congress, Atishi said, "Absolutely not. You can go and see across classes and communities, and maybe one person out of 20 says they have voted for Congress. It's very clear the fight is a direct battle between AAP and BJP."
"The silent voter, interestingly, has always been the voter for AAP. In 2013 and 2015, silent voters came out and voted decisively for a party that works for their interest," she said.
The BJP is looking at a stellar win like it did in the 2014 national election when the party took all the seven seats, while the Congress is counting on its campaign of equality across all sections and the Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to reap the support of people with the programmes it ran, especially education reforms.
In the weeks before voting day in Delhi, Atishi and Gautam Gambhir's battle intensified as the AAP sought his candidature's disqualification on allegations that the former cricketer was registered as a voter at two different places in the national capital. Gautam Gambhir had hit back, saying he only has a single voter identity card from Rajendra Nagar.
The Congress has fielded Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi.