Middle class roots for Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: Middle class apathy towards Arvind Kejriwal’s theatrics was one of the running themes in the build-up to the showdown between BJP and AAP.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal is likely to be appointed Chief Minister of Delhi.Photo : AAP
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal is likely to be appointed Chief Minister of Delhi.
Photo : AAP
Public perception has been that while the poor and the downtrodden classes of Delhi were strong supporters of the ‘jhadoo’, the middle class people and the rich were still enchanted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of stability and good governance.

The India Today-Cicero Exit Poll data shatters the notion that the middle class of Delhi was antipathetic towards Kejriwal.

The Cicero Exit Poll conducted on February 7 at 210 locations among 7,668 voters shows that the AAP was more popular not just among the working class and the lower middle class, but also among the relatively more affluent middle-class voters.

It is interesting to note that the gap between the popularity of AAP and BJP narrows as one moves up the income pyramid.

If the colonies of Delhi were to be divided as per the Delhi government’s property circle rates, a very revealing trend emerges.

In the lower middle class colonies of Delhi such as Dilshad Colony, B R Ambedkar Colony and Govindpuri, the gap between AAP and BJP reduces only to nine per cent. AAP is expected to receive 43 per cent of the vote share in these F class colonies in comparison with the 34 per cent garnered by the BJP.

In middle class colonies like Darya Ganj, Janakpuri, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Paharganj and Moti Nagar, the gap between AAP and BJP narrows down to five per cent. These colonies are classified as D and E as per the circle rate classification.

These were localities where the BJP had done very well in the Lok Sabha elections in May. It is here that the BJP strategists hoped that voters would back the Modi-Bedi duo in large numbers.

These areas were central to the BJP strategy of besting AAP. But here too, Kejriwal’s party received 42 per cent of the voteshare, while the BJP lagged at 37 per cent.

The only areas of Delhi where the BJP is ahead of AAP are the colonies classified as “elite”. These include areas like Friends Colony, Vasant Vihar, Golf Links, Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, Haus Khas, Vasnt Kunj, Lajpath Nagar and Punjabi Bagh.

These colonies come under the A, B and C categories as per the circle tax rates. Here the BJP netted 41 per cent of the vote-share in comparison with AAP, which bagged 36 per cent vote-share.

The caste wise break-up of the Delhi exit poll also throws up interesting results. Among numerically significant lower castes like Dalits, AAP enjoys a massive 13 per cent gap over the BJP. AAP’s vote-share is projected at 42 per cent in comparison with 29 per cent that the BJP is expected to bag.

The biggest blow to the BJP seems to be the fact that among traders community, the party is shown as lagging behind AAP. The BJP is traditionally seen as a party of traders, and losing Bania votes to AAP would be disconcerting for BJP chief Amit Shah and PM Modi.

These, of course, are only the exit poll projections and in a few hours from now we will have the final results before us.

But it would be embarrassing for the BJP that the party of the “chaiwallah” is today perceived by the voters as the party of the rich, while the party of the IRS officer is seen as the one with closer ties with the poor.

Inputs with Mail Today