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Majority for BJP in Delhi, but Kejriwal top pick for CM: Survey

New Delhi: Riding high on the ‘Modi wave’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to gain full majority if the Delhi assembly elections are held now, predicts an opinion poll conducted by ABP News-Nielsen. The survey says the BJP will win 46 seats in the 70-seat Delhi assembly in the polls, giving the party a clear majority. The party’s vote share is likely to be about 38%, it says.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which won 28 seats in the 2013 assembly elections, is now likely to bag 18 seats this time around. Its vote share may dip slightly to 26%, compared to 27% in 2013. The opinion poll predicts that the Congress will perform even more poorly than the 2013 elections, giving the party five seats against eight last year.

While the survey gives a clear lead to the BJP, the opinion of the respondents is mixed when it comes to the most suitable candidate for the chief minister’s post. According to the opinion poll, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal is the most-preferred chief minister candidate, with 39% respondents rooting for him. The BJP’s Harsh Vardhan is a close second with 38%.

About two-third respondents said they were satisfied with the work done by Arvind Kejriwal in his 49-day tenure, which may be the reason why he is still favoured for the CM’s post. As per the opinion poll, Narendra Modi remains the most popular leader among the respondents surveyed, leading by a huge margin of 63%. Kejriwal is the second-most popular leader with 25%. Rahul Gandhi trails with 12%. More than half (56%) of the respondents felt that with Narendra Modi being the Prime Minister of the nation, “achche din” (good days) are here.

The opinion poll was conducted by ABP News-Nielsen among 6,528 respondents in 35 assembly constituencies during November 5, 2014 to November 7, 2014. Fresh polls in Delhi is likely to be held in February after the Union cabinet okayed the dissolution of the assembly, acting on a report on the political situation in the national capital. Delhi is under President's rule since February when the AAP government resigned after 49 days in power.

At present, in the 70-member Delhi House, the BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has 29 MLAs - down from 32 after its legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pravesh Verma were elected to the Lok Sabha. The AAP has 27 members, while the Congress has eight.

A lot is at stake for the AAP in Delhi. After its dismal showing in the April-May general elections - the party contested more than 400 seats and won just four -  it is desperate to retain its foothold in Delhi. Positive response to party chief Kejriwal's recent rallies is believed to have given the AAP a shot in the arm. The Delhi BJP, which won all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the 2014 elections, seems upbeat following the party's pan-India success story - the most recent chapters of which were scripted in Maharashtra and Haryana. Both the AAP and the BJP have expressed confidence about good results. The Congress, however, does not seem to be in a position to dictate terms following its drubbing in the general elections and the subsequent defeats in assembly elections.

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