Modi raises stakes in Delhi election

The bookies are banking on a BJP win, but the AAP campaign is making everyone sweat

It was thought that the election for the Delhi Assembly is only drawing attention within the country, that it has become something like a poll in a tiny country whose outcome was being keenly observed by its neighbours. But Prime Minister Modi has raised the stakes. He informed an election rally on Saturday that the whole world was watching the Delhi election.

Since the Prime Minister has left no doubt that he is himself in the fight, he is finding it necessary to exalt the process of which he has made himself a part. His campaign speeches in the Union Territory since early January were a pointer that Mr Modi was in the ring, personally. But on Saturday, he spelt it out. He said that a vote for BJP was a vote for him. This presidential-style statement makes the February 7 poll a virtual referendum on the PM himself. It was perhaps in this context that he noted that the eyes of the world were on Delhi.
In terms of investment and the like, Delhi has done quite well on the whole, and there was a considerable expansion of public infrastructure, especially during Sheila Dikshit’s long tenure as CM.

So, what the PM is perhaps thinking of is his personal political capital diminishing if his party falls short of its objective to form government in Delhi single-handed. Such anxieties had not assailed Mr Modi when other state elections were held a few months ago. Apart from pitching himself into the fray, Mr Modi has ensured that some two dozen members of his council of ministers and about 125 BJP MPs are doing poll duty in Delhi. Such razzmatazz is unprecedented.

Apart from bolstering the election campaign, it is evident that BJP president Amit Shah is taking no chances, for his reputation is also likely to suffer if Delhi is not won outright atleast this time around after the so-called “Modi magic” has had time to percolate.

There is indeed more in the calculation of the BJP brass to use such a large number of MPs and Union ministers as foot soldiers in the election for a mere Union Territory, even if it is the National Capital Territory. It appears that bringing in a rank outsider, Kiran Bedi, as BJP’s CM candidate has gone down poorly with not just the BJP rank and file but also its state-level leaders, and has created a shortage of personnel on the ground.

The bookies are banking on a BJP win, but the AAP campaign is making all concerned sweat. This is an intriguing situation on which more than Mr Modi’s own reputation may be riding.

( Source : dc )
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