BJP has closed its account in Delhi by garnering only 8 seats.This figure when compared to what Amit Shah had said that the party would clock 45 seats. Had BJP won even 25 seats, Shah would have been congratulated non-stop by all his ‘admirers’. But, having bagged votes in a single digit, would his ‘admirers’ make him understand that his strategy of deploying 200 MPs, a host of union ministers and a few CMS of BJP-ruled states failed miserably? Where is the accountability in BJP?
It is a rejection of Modi as well by the Delhi voters. He addressed 2 rallies. Amit Shah held 47 election meetings that included 35 rallies and 9 road shows. Besides, JP Nadda took part in around 40 meetings and road shows. All these massive campaigning efforts were unleashed to demolish the political stakes of one single person- Arvind Kejriwal. Those who jumped into BJP activism, courtesy their attraction towards Modi, are mostly the ones today to denigrate Kejriwal’s immaculate accomplishment that shines big and colourful today.
It is not just the defeat of Delhi alone that should worry the BJP today. The defeat in Delhi is only part of the continuing loosening of the hold of BJP in the states of the country. The Modi-Shah combine worked wonders till recently. It worked well in the National elections 2019 also. In 2014, Modi became the single tallest leader in the entire Indian political landscape. People were disgusted with the Congress, and came Modi to push the Congress out and take its place. People eagerly welcomed it.
In the 2019 national elections, there was no clear alternative to Modi in any of the opposition parties. So, Modi came back again buoyed by the There is No Alternative (TINA) factor. But people clearly knew that Modi won’t run the state governments and it would be better to settle down with a regional party. This trend made the BJP either lose elections in quite a few states or pass the muster with a thin margin of seats. OK, it is almost done and dusted. AAP is going to rule Delhi again and BJP has lost one more election, and that too Delhi, which is prestigious on many counts.
All those accusations of Arvind Kejriwal having bribed the voters with freebies are nonsense. It is only the tax collected that are spent on freebies. The accusers are selective in their criticism going by the fact that the big money allocation made and spent on the Education sector by the AAP Govt is not even looked at positively. Time it is, the BJP went in for a makeover before it becomes stale and the top leaders start losing respect among the activists and eager supporters. The Modi-Shah combine is cracking. Reasons can be many.
Foremost is the job of bringing in some big person as the party president someone, who can command respect by his or her own stature and not another Modi-tagged one. The party and the govt. should have a line of control between each other. Today, the govt. is the party and the party is the govt. This has resulted in serious myopia. BJP needs to be saved from further disaster.
Rampant infighting and bad selection of candidates cost the BJP dear. For example, Kapil Mishra’s area of influence is Karawal Nagar but he was fielded from Model Town. Tajinder Bagga was fielded from Hari Nagar instead of Tilak Nagar. Both lost. Also, known faces of the BJP such as Vijay Goel, Parvesh Verma and Manoj Tiwari appear to be fighting for one upmanship within the organisation. On the contrary, the AAP put up a united fight.
Delhi voted for the BJP in all three municipal corporations in 2017. Three years later, they have hardly anything to show for themselves. Non-payment of salaries, illegal constructions, garbage and sewer blocks dented the image of BJP-run municipalities. Allegations of corruption and non-accessibility against councillors and officials didn’t do any good either. Overall, there was disenchantment against the MCDs to which the AAP cashed in. Kejriwal & company warned voters that Delhi will face the same fate if the BJP comes to power.
Further, the BJP relied heavily on national leaders to drive home its campaign. At a time when Arvind Kejriwal has firmly etched himself as the vikas purush of Delhi, the BJP was unable to find a worthy challenger. The saffron party could neither project a CM face, nor dent Kejriwal’s clean image. The BJP roped in Union ministers and political heavyweights which sent a wrong message to voters who perceived it as “imported leadership”. Kejriwal stood strong as the undisputed ‘badshah’ of Delhi.
The BJP focused more on Ram Mandir, Article 370, triple talaq, etc. which failed to resonate with voters electing leaders on local issues such as health, education, housing and roads, to name a few. The BJP hardly campaigned on what it intends to provide for residents of Delhi if elected to power. On the other hand, the AAP sought votes on the basis of development and the work it did in the sec tors of health and education, which was there for people to see.
Shaheen Bagh dominated the BJP’s campaign. With provocative slogans ringing out from BJP’s meetings and rallies, its campaign was mostly perceived to be based on communal polarisation. From “goli maaro…” to biryani jibes at Shaheen Bagh protesters and opposition leaders and calling Kejriwal a terrorist, the BJP’s campaign had very little to offer on the development front. On the contrary, AAP focused on local issues and local connect and refrained from using foul language. And there lies the real success.