Bereft of concrete issues, the BJP has little choice but to resort to mudslinging. It appears to have decided to fight the elections on a Vajpayee vs Sonia plank. Flagging off the BJP's local campaign with loaded words in Chandni Chowk earlier this week, party president M. Venkaiah Naidu referred to the polls as the "semi-final" before the 2004 general elections.
The way the poll campaign has unfolded in Delhi establishes one thing for certain: the traditional power lobbies of the city-state and the issues of its sizeable semi-rural population have, perhaps for the first time, been somewhat marginalised by hardcore planks more beloved to the urban populace. It's to Dikshit's credit (or not) that the 2003 Delhi polls will be remembered for its explicit urban imagery.
Meanwhile, Mizoram, the state forgotten in the din of elections in the Hindi belt, seems on the fasttrack to a hung assembly. The state, which went to polls on November 20, 10 days ahead of the other four states, witnessed a 75 per cent voter turnout. It also saw a keen contest between three political forces—the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Congress, and a coalition of Mizo People's Conference (MPC) and Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP). The BJP, which is contesting eight seats, is waiting to meddle in case of a hung verdict.
Though the mnf is fighting anti-incumbency, intra-party squabbles and corruption charges against PCC chief and former CM Lalthanhawla have ensured the Congress doesn't sail smoothly. The MPC-ZNP alliance was seen to be gaining ground among the common voters who might seek an alternative to both the mnf and the Congress. The buzz is that the BJP aims to prop it up since its only interest is to instal a non-Congress government in Mizoram.