Indian media focus on new party in Delhi assembly elections

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party is getting prominent coverage in the Indian media.
Image caption Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is getting prominent coverage in the Indian media.

Media in India feel the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party) has made the Delhi state elections one of the most fiercely fought in recent history.

Analysts say the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has the potential of disturbing poll calculations of the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Led by a former civil servant Arvind Kejriwal, the party was born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago.

The Times of India's front-page headline - Threeler: India waits as Delhi votes in historic poll - suggests the contest has gone beyond the realm of two traditional rivals - the BJP and the Congress.

"This is no ordinary three-way battle. In the mix is a new player whose strength is untested and who seems to play the game with a completely different set of rules from the others. That only adds to the uncertainty and the sense of anticipation," it adds.

The Indian Express says Delhi is only one of the five states electing a government, but it stands apart for the significant departures from the usual politics.

The paper goes on to say that this election will "test the substance" of the AAP which has "expertly created a buzz about its presence".

The Hindustan Times says the BJP is trying to stop the Congress from securing a fourth consecutive win, but it's "Arvind Kejriwal's debuting AAP that seems to have stirred the pot".

"The AAP's extensive and focussed grassroots campaign has helped the party to make its presence felt and turn it into a real triangular contest," the paper adds.

The BJP and Congress, however, do not see the AAP as a significant political force, reports say.

"We are 100% sure of victory, we'll win with a very high margin. The third party (AAP) doesn't exist," BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan told the CNN-IBN.

The Congress candidate for the top state job, Shiela Dikshit, says her party is set to win the polls and the AAP's corruption charges against her are "false".

The 'no vote' people

Staying with political news, the capital's estimated 150,000 homeless people are "one category that even politicians don't approach because they don't have a vote", reports the DNA newspaper.

Dubbed the "forgotten people - seen everywhere and yet not seen", the homeless feel "politicians don't care for them, because they are neither united nor have their voter I-cards to be of any use to political leaders as they count their support", the report says.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post has expressed regret over the "confusion" caused by the inclusion of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi's name in its list of the world's richest leaders.

The website removed Mrs Gandhi's name four days after it listed her as the 12th richest leader in the world, The Economic Times reports.

Elsewhere, the Supreme Court has set a deadline of 31 March 2014 for the federal and state governments to regulate the sale of acid, The Indian Express reports.

The court had recently banned the sale of acid in open shops after a series of attacks on women.

Moving on to other stories, India has been ranked 94th in Transparency International's global list of most corrupt nations, the NDTV website reports.

Denmark and New Zealand were declared the least corrupt nations and shared the first place on the list.

And finally, the coach of India's junior men's hockey team, Gregg Clark, says his team's win in the World Cup "could be the start of recapturing Indian hockey's golden history", the CNN-IBN website reports.

Delhi is hosting the Junior World Cup from 6 to 15 December.

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