Belying all expectations, Aam Aadmi Party has swept Delhi assembly elections. Call by whatever name – tsunami, landslide, avalanche, the result is for all to see. Out of seventy seats, AAP has bagged sixty seven seats. Three seats were left for BJP, may be to add insult to the injury. Shell shocked BJP and congress party, which did not even open its account have no real answer to the drubbing. Especially, BJP that had fielded big guns in the form of prime minister and cabinet ministers for campaigning, ending up with three seats!
Success has many fathers, and defeat cuts a sorry figure. A multitude of explanations have been put forward to explain BJP defeat.
· BJP was arrogant and complacent. The party was also confused. So they did not take advantage of the gap between AAP resignation and re-election. There was a sense that BJP will win election if Mr. Modi just shows up.
· BJP was plagues by organisational infighting. This became more severe after Dr. Kiran Bedi was airlifted to lead BJP charge displacing many party hopefuls. Though Mrs. Bedi was given a secure seat to contest and win, old party loyalists did not co-operate with her. The same goes for other candidates that were accommodated at the expense to local cadres.
· Foul mouthing AAP chief ministerial candidate and in general BJP ran a negative campaign. Voters could see civility in AAP and uncouth behavior of BJP candidates and ministers. In this day of televised campaign, any wrong word, any slip is magnified and reach viewers through TV. Deliberate or not BJP ministers were negligent on choice of their words and Ms. Bedi was inexperienced as a politician.
· Ms. Bedi was unwilling to debate Mr. Kejriwal on issues in live TV debate. True, Mr. Kejriwal also refused to debate Mr. Maken of congress party, but many had written congress off anyway.
· A sting operations conducted by AVAM was not successful in painting AAP black. AVAM raised some serious questions about AAP receiving cheques from sheel companies. To voters, AVAM came out as a setup by BJP. AAP spokes people were more aticulate and aggressive in deflecting all charges compared to their BJP counterparts.
· AAP members had worked door to door using an ideologically motivated, committed volunteers. Many or all volunteers of AAP were working for a cause, that is to remove corruption by defeating corrupt parties. AAP volunteers were more convincing in relating and conveying their point of view to voters.
· Mr. Kejriwal had played the role of underdog common man who is being troubled by the rich and powerful political party – BJP, to the hilt. Wrapping a muffler around this head, Mr. Kejriwal identified himself with poor and dispossessed of the city and complained how his family, his caste and he himself was a target of BJP. Compared to Kejriwal, Mr. Modi in his kurta, jacket and surrounded by security guards looked rich, privileged and remote.
There may be many more reasons and explanations for the Delhi debacle. In the end there is no substitute for hard work, and party workers that are dedicated and committed.
BJP defeat may in Delhi election may have several consequences. Firstly, the party may go back to Hindutwa ideology and commit political suicide. Alternatively, Mr. Modi may put the likes of Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvis of all hues under tight least and read them the riot act.
No doubt the going is likely to get tough on coming days for the ruling party. Sensing blood, other regional parties likd TMC, Janata Dal United, left parties have extended support to AAP. Even BJP partner and ally in Maharasthra, Shiv Sena, has expressed glee at BJP drubbing. Many have questioned that Delhi defeat is a referendum of Mr. Modi’s policies. BJP desperatedly needed more members in Rajya Sabha. However, that expectation has evaporated with Delhi defeat. An united opposition may stall proceedings Rajya Sabha of parliament and prevent passage of key bills. Eagerness of Mamata, Nitish and Prakash Karat to jump into AAP bandwagon may indicate their desire to continue with old style left of centre policies. I hope BJP gets its act together and succeeds in bringing investment and jobs into India. Time to tighten belt and move on.
Tags: AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, Assembly Election, BJP, Congress Party, Delhi, Janata Dal United, Kiran Bedi, Left Party, Narendra Modi, Parliament, Rajya Sabha,Shiva Sena, TMC