Tracing The Mistakes/Downfall Of BJP
History has been created. The Aam Aadmi Party has won. The Bhartiya Janata Party has lost. Humility has conquered, arrogance has been silenced.
AAP won 96% of the seats in Delhi, the most ever by any party in any state other than Sikkim. If the 2014 General Elections was a wave, this is nothing sort of a tsunami. The people of Delhi have given their verdict.
The air is charged, the excitement is palpable, smiles are fluttering around, for ‘5 saal Kejriwal’ is here to stay. The exit polls predicted 39-52 seats for AAP but who in their wildest dreams would have thought that AAP would make a landslide sweep of 67 seats!
Just 3 seats short of a whitewash, AAP’s spectacular triumph stumped friends and foes alike. Yes, history indeed has been created. Why you ask? Because its AAPocalypse for BJP, for Dilli gets jhaadu ki jhappi!
One thing is clear although, that where AAP has learnt from its failures, BJP has probably not learnt enough from its success. We bring to you some of the factors responsible for BJP biting the dust in the Delhi assembly election 2015:
The Mufflerman Factor:
Mufflerman strikes again! With more than double the seats in the 2015 Delhi elections than in 2013 Mufflerman has not only conquered with glory but beaten its foes black and blue. With a meager 3 seats for BJP and a blank for Congress, our minds run through history to find if they’ve ever been embarrassed more. Congress, in fact is probably happy, for the last time it was behind BJP by 23 seats but this time only 3. :P
The AAP party managed to win the perception battle by being on ground and striking a chord with ‘aam aadmi‘ as opposed to BJP. Kejriwal began his campaigning with a humble apology to the people of Delhi for having disappointed them and instead focused on his strengths such as the positive public memory of his 49-day government.
The Rs 10 lakh suit woren by the Prime Minister during US President Barack Obama’s visit raised many fingers as people are demanding answers on black money. Kejriwal’s ‘aam aadmi‘ image wearing a muffler and a simple pullover on the other hand, gave more assurance to people that he will work for them. Kejriwal also maintained his cool against BJP’s name-calling- he did not attack Modi or Bedi.
His humility is reflected in his victory statement after the landslide win: “I cannot do anything alone, I am a little man. If two crore people of Delhi work together, we can make Delhi a city of which both rich and poor will be proud of.”
Instead of positive campaigning, BJP chose negative words and hurled several personal allegations against Kejriwal. He was called names like ‘updravi gothra‘, anarchist, naxal, bandar, liar, bhagoda and dharna expert which portrayed BJP in an arrogant light.
BJP also published cartoons in newspapers and one even used his children and Anna Hazare in a photo frame with a garland on it which signaled that Hazare was dead. Such advertisement were turned around by the AAP and used to counter BJP.
The BJP party also asked 35 questions to Kejriwal targeting him for leaving the government in 49 days but when Kejriwal called the BJP CM candidate Kiran Bedi for a debate she chugged away. Instead of pressurizing Kejriwal and AAP, the BJP cornered itself with such childish and petty acts.
Her announcement as Chief Ministerial candidate by BJP just couple of days before the elections was a stroke of genius. Some political commentators saw Bedi’s entry as a masterstroke. Her clean image and roots in the same anti-corruption civil rights movement (spearheaded by Anna Hazare) as Kejriwal was expected to present before public a strong opponent to Kejriwal, the unreliable ex-CM of 49 days.
Bedi was however, unacceptable to Delhi BJP members as their leader and thus they did not campaign for her wholeheartedly. Bedi’s announcement crushed ambitions of quite a few senior leaders in Delhi BJP. Even though Bedi contested from a safe seat, she failed to garner enough support for the party and win over their trust. Having the responsibility to campaign on all the 70 seats, she could not devote much time to her own seat.
Kiran Bedi continued rejection to Kejriwal’s invitation for an open debate ahead of the assembly election, also did not help matters. Had she participated in the debate, Delhiites could have got the chance to compare her with Kejriwal. She might have got a chance to win hearts of many by countering Kejriwal during the debate.
Her overconfidence, desperate comments on Kejriwal, and her swindling ways along with her repeated repudiations to Kejriwal’s offers for a one-on-one combined with the burden of campaigning for all the 70 seats alone led to the disintegration of a slightly flawed but capable leader.
Discord Within BJP:
The coming in of new faces, sidelining of old-timers and declining them of a ticket, resulted in a fierce discord within the party which was already badly divided. The situation turned worse as party workers carried out protest outside Delhi unit office and some of them even contested Independently leading to division of votes.
Party workers and senior leaders were not actively participating in the campaign and it left a wrong impression on the voters’ mind. Instead of going as a united body, BJP looked like a divided front in Delhi polls.
No vision for Delhi:
BJP’s hesitation to come up with an election manifesto reflected the party’s uncertainty over its agenda. An overenthusiastic Bedi’s tweet of her own 25-point project for Delhi without consulting her party made the condition even worse, resulting in her party belatedly coming out with a vision document for the national capital.
Also, controversy surfaced when in a huge blunder the party in its vision document called people from North East as ‘immigrants’. On the other hand, the AAP’s campaign was more mature focusing of local issues like water, electricity, corruption, price rise and women security.
Delay Helped AAP:
Had elections occurred in Delhi soon after the Lok Sabha elections then it would have most certainly led to BJP’s victory. However the polls here were delayed by nine months helping AAP to regroup and rebuild their party and formulate their strategies to finally regain people’s faith in defeating a party that looked unbeatable.
This traces the mature growth of AAP and its leaders from the righteousness of an anti-corruption activist to the more calibrated promise of improving the everyday lives of ordinary citizens in specific ways.
Modi Sarkaar gave the sizeable babu population or government employees a grief, with the new biometric attendance system in place that forces them to report for work at 9:30 or lose salary. Although it had supported Modi’s vision of development, but the so called ‘surprise visits’ by ministers have been found to be almost insulting. Babus were also alarmed by the buzz about retirement age being advanced by two years.
The BJP party completely ignored the size-able vote of the Purvanchalis, or those from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Only 2 of its candidates have roots in that region whereas 14 AAP candidates hail from the region. Similarly, the Dalit outreach was only for show.
BJP Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay and HRD minister Smriti Irani’s efforts at ‘swachha’ campaign were exposed as mere photo opportunities, where streets were deliberately littered before they arrived, broom in hand.
The ‘Ghar Wapsi’ Campaign:
The ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaign by the BJP MPs, of allegedly forcing people to convert into Hinduism across the country, hit the party hard as it created a lot of anger amongst people.
Modi’s inability to curb attacks on churches and his silence on hate speeches by saffron hardliners had an unsettling effect on Christians and middle class voters alike. His MPs also went on to the extent of asking Hindu women to produce four children in order to protect the religion.
Muslims too seem to have switched from Congress to AAP in their belief that it was a better bet to defeat BJP.
Anti-Cong +Anti-BJP = Pro-AAP
Not finding much hope from Congress, the party’s vote-bank shifted to AAP because of the latter’s sustained work among slum dwellers and its promise of cheap water and electricity, leading to a massive mandate.
Not witnessing much work done by Narendra Modi’s government on the development front and the growing corruption in the BJP-ruled Municipal Corporation of Delhi, inflated water and electricity bills, people showed their anger by voting against the BJP in Delhi polls.
Also, Modi’s monogrammed suit was seen as his ‘pro-rich’ bias, especially by the underclass.
We suggest Mr Modi take a leaf from Mr Kejriwal’s book and learn a few lessons of humility, mannerism and positivism rather than flaunting his aura of invincibility(which is punctured now).
(thankfully, no more ab ki baar modi sarkar)
We wish our new CM, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, a good governing!
A change in the meaning of power has been underlined by the stunning win by AAP, a party with new faces, new aspirations and new ways, sprouting fresh blood in the old and frail government body.
A new dawn has appeared wherein the common man can finally hope for direct participation in a real democracy, a government of the people, for the people and by the people. A small step by AAP, but a big leap in politics.
By- Aakanksha Kumari