Delhi Chief Minister may lose her seat

Delhi Chief Minister may lose her seat
Supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party holding brooms, the party's symbol, during a public meeting in September.

In the last hours of campaigning in India's capital city, half a dozen men and women stand on one side of a busy Delhi roundabout and wave brooms to capture the attention of motorists.

They are from the newly formed Aam Aadmi, or Common Man Party (AAP), which hopes to sweep out of power the Congress Party's Ms Sheila Dikshit, who has ruled Delhi for 15 years.

The Chief Minister - known as "aunty ji" with her crinkled eyes, ruffled grey hair and kindly smile - had cruised through three consecutive elections.

But a fourth shot at power for the 75-year-old, who hides steely determination under a benign image, is looking tough, with all surveys predicting an end to her dream run in power.

This week's polls are keenly watched for indications of the mood of India's 725 million electorate, which must vote before May to elect a fresh Parliament.

Delhi votes today, as does the small north-eastern state of Mizoram, while three other states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - have already voted.

The results for Delhi, a union territory, and the four states, three of which are ruled by the Congress, will be announced on Sunday.

In Delhi, most surveys predict a hung assembly with neither the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nor AAP getting a clear majority in the 70-seat Delhi assembly.

India's capital city, which has its own government, has seen many improvements in the last 15 years. It has a metro, multiple flyovers and improved electricity supply.

But over the last couple of months, public anger has focused on the rising prices of food. Onion prices, always a politically sensitive issue, doubled to 100 rupees (S$2) a kg during the height of the election campaign last month.

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