New Delhi: The BJP’s toxic campaign and its unsuccessful attempt to consolidate the ‘Hindu votebank,’ extended its vanvaas (exile) in Delhi, which voted again for the AAP, now hailed as the new socialist force.
After Jharkhand, Delhi is the second example where the BJP failed to gain electorally with its staunch support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), viewed as “anti-Muslim” by the opposition camp.
At a time when economic indicators show a downward spiral, the BJP’s caustic remarks against the Shaheen Bagh protests also failed to give it a desired result. The BJP, which won all seven parliamentary seats in May 2019, had its hopes of coming to power in Delhi dashed by the AAP.
Delhi has seen a major demographic change during the past two decades. The lower and lower-middle classes dominate the city’s class character instead of just the middle class. More than 50 per cent of voters favoured the AAP’s liberal character whose campaign focu-sed on its work and whose leaders refrained from responding to the acerbic language used by some BJP leaders. Subsidised water and electricity and free DTC bus rides for women helped the AAP.
While the BJP’s voteshare increased from the last assembly poll, its tally remained single digit, though some top leaders claimed it would easily cross 40.
After the BJP’s second humiliating poll debacle after Jharkhand, the party office was abuzz with rumours that the leadership was “actually trying to enthuse” its cadre through “feedback” and “internal surveys” but were aware of the “real position.”
The general view within the BJP is that its aggressive campaign led by BJP president JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah galvanised the cadre.
“Kejriwal has emerged as a socialist force when it comes to Delhi politics,” said a senior BJP leader. “He managed to woo the lower class and the lower middle class which dominate Delhi’s demography. Kejriwal and AAP have grown closer to the masses in Delhi than any other political leader or party. Instead of a vision for Delhi, our party focused on polarising issues that got rejected.”
While the BJP top brass was engaged in campaigning, Kejriwal’s connect with the lower and lower middle class, and BJP’s failure to reconnect with the middle class, considered its support base, plus the leadership crisis in the BJP’s Delhi unit, only added to its woes. BJP’s manifesto also failed to impress voters, who went along with AAP.
The BJP’s personal attacks against Kejriwal also went hurt it as his image as well as his party’s socio-economic vision proved more powerful than the BJP’s leadership and its communal and polarising strategy.
Speculation is now rife that the BJP will overhaul its Delhi unit, which failed to make any impact since the party last ruled the national capital. Factionalism and the state leadership’s failure to enthuse cadre also proved devastating.
‘’BJP accepts the people’s mandate and will fulfill the role of a constructive opposition. We will raise all issues related to the development of Delhi. With the belief that the Aam Aadmi Party government will work for Delhi’s development, I congratulate Arvind Kejriwal and his party,” tweeted BJP national president JP Nadda.
BJP’s Delhi unit chief, Manoj Tiwari, who earlier predicted a huge victory for his party, tweeted: “Thanks to all the voters of Delhi. Thank you to all the party workers for their hard work... We respect the mandate of people. @ArvindKejriwal congratulations to you...I hope the Delhi government will live up to the expectations of the people.”...