- Election Commission to announce Delhi election dates at 3:30 pm
- Aravind Kejriwal's AAP seeking re-election after massive win in 2015
- Term of the 70-member Delhi assembly ends on February 22
The Election Commission will reveal the schedule for Delhi polls at 3.30 pm today. The term of the 70-member Assembly ends on February 22, meaning a new House has to be constituted before that date. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is seeking re-election after recording a massive win in 2015; the AAP won 67 of 70 seats, with the remaining three going to the BJP and the Congress drawing a blank.
This will be the first election since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP slipped to a surprise defeat in Jharkhand - its second state of 2019 - last month; the BJP lost to an opposition alliance led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and including the Congress. This will also be the first polls in the national capital since the BJP swept to a massive win in Lok Sabha polls early last year; the party swept all 7 parliamentary seats in Delhi.
Last week Mr Kejriwal appeared in a townhall meeting with NDTV, where he said "cleaning up Delhi is our (the AAP's) priority". The Chief Minister also listed clean water, ensuring safety of women and improving public transport as some of his government's key priorities.
He said his government worked "with complete honesty to make the lives of Delhi's citizens better".
In the run-up to the polls the AAP has also taken regular potshots at the BJP, most recently last week when the party wished "7 Chief Minister candidates of Delhi BJP" in a pointed reference to ongoing uncertainty over who will be the BJP's chief ministerial candidate.
In response Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is the BJP's in-charge for the Delhi election, said nothing had been decided yet and that the party would take decisions as per strategy.
Some key issues the three main parties in this election - AAP, BJP and Congress - are likely to focus on are the pollution crisis that engulfed the city state in the final few months of last year and controversy over the centre's move to regularise 1,731 unauthorised residential colonies.
The controversial citizenship law is also likely to feature prominently, particularly since Mr Kejriwal has joined a long list of non-BJP state leaders and politicians who have voiced opposition to it and programmes like the NRC and NPR.
The AAP launched its campaign last month, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia saying he was confident of success. The party also revealed its slogan - 'Ache beete 5 saal, lage raho Kejriwal (Past 5 years have been good, keep going with Kejriwal').
The party has signed poll strategist Prashant Kishor and his Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) in its re-election bid. Mr Kishor was widely credited for the "chai per charcha" campaign that helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to power in 2014.
The BJP also launched its campaign last month, with PM Modi leading a rally at the city's Ram Laila Maidan. He used the occasion to target opposition parties, and especially the Congress, over nationwide protests against the citizenship law.