Delhi Elections:10 reasons why BJP lost Delhi to Aam Aadmi Party


February 10, 2015

New Delhi: A confused and divided Bharatiya Janata Party, which was riding high following the landslide victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and consecutive wins in the Assembly elections in four states, has been steamrolled by the two-year-old Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Assembly elections.

February 10, 2015

New Delhi: A confused and divided Bharatiya Janata Party, which was riding high following the landslide victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and consecutive wins in the Assembly elections in four states, has been steamrolled by the two-year-old Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Assembly elections.

The failure to counter the charismatic and street smart IIT Kharagpur graduate Arvind Kejriwal, who rebuilt the AAP after the party's mauling in the Lok Sabha elections, saw the BJP resorting to negative campaign which failed to sway the voters leading to its decimation and reducing the party to single digits in the 70-member Assembly.

Flush with funds, an array of stars, an election machinery on a roll, a leadership adept at reading the pulse of the electorate made the BJP confident of winning Delhi until they came face to face with Kejriwal and his loyalists.

Here are 10 reasons behind the loss

1) BJP's negative campaign

The BJP roped in 120 MPs, including several Central Ministers and chief ministers to target AAP and Kejriwal but the plan failed and instead back-fired on the party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed five rallies in the national capital, kept on accusing Kejriwal of not doing enough without coming up with his party's blueprint for the national capital.

Modi and BJP leaders called Kejriwal anarchist, Naxals, bhagoda (runaway) and dharna expert which sent out the message that the party was only interested in name calling. BJP published cartoons in newspapers on the U-turns by Kejriwal and it hit the lowest point when the party called him belonging to the 'updravi gothra'. Another advertisement used caricatures of Kejriwal's children and even had Anna Hazare in a photo frame with a garland on it which signaled that he was dead. Such advertisement were turned around by the AAP and used to counter BJP.

The BJP also asked 35 questions to Kejriwal on U-turns made by him on his poll promises and targeting him for leaving the government in 49 days. When Kejriwal called the party for a debate, BJP chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi said that they would debate in the Delhi Assembly.

2) Kejriwal seen as the tallest leader

BJP's plan to target Kejriwal on every issue and from all angles made him the tallest leader and was seen as martyr by some. A brigade of BJP leaders slammed him from morning to evening and it actually benefited him. The result was similar to that of Lok Sabha elections wherein Modi was targeted by all the parties and he single-handedly took them on.

In Delhi polls, Kejriwal took on both the national parties reducing the BJP to 3 seats and Congress failing to open its account. He did not indulge in any negative campaigning and said what people wanted to hear.

3) BJP inducts Kiran Bedi, fails to change party's fortune

Seeing the mood of the people who were moving towards the AAP, BJP President Amit Shah inducted former IPS officer Kiran Bedi to take on Kejriwal but the plan failed and she lost from the party's stronghold constituency Krishna Nagar which was represented by Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan from 1993 to 2013.

Even though Bedi contested from a safe seat, she failed to garner 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 seat. And even her roadshow on the last day of campaign started without her.

4) Infighting within the BJP

The coming in of new faces, sidelining of old-timers and declining them ticket resulted in fierce infighting 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 contested as Independents 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, the BJP looked like a divided front in Delhi polls.

BJP parachuted candidates like Krishna Tirath (Patel Nagar), Vinod Kumar Binny (Pataparganj) ignoring its own cadre and paid the price for it as all of them lost.

5) No vision for Delhi

BJP dethered on an election manifesto for Delhi signalling that party leaders were not sure of the agenda. Making it worse, an over enthusiastic Bedi tweeted her own 25-point project for Delhi without consulting her party and it resulted in her party belatedly coming out with a vision document for the national capital.

In a huge blunder, the party in its vision document called people from North East as 'immigrants'.

6) BJP failed to address local issue

From top to bottom, all BJP leaders only targeted the AAP and Kejriwal, and did not focus on any local issue which concerned the common Delhiite. Even the four rallies addressed by Modi a week before elections saw meagre crowd wherein he did not address any local issue or lay down the development plan for the national capital. On the other hand, the AAP's campaign was more mature focusing of local issues like water, electricity, corruption, price rise and women security.

The BJP, however, failed to read the mood of the people for whom not the allegations but the basic necessities matter the most. The party's inability to fulfil its tall promises made during the Lok Sabha elections campaign on black money, 'ache din aaenge' (good days ahead), price rise cost the party dearly.

Not witnessing much work done by the Narendra Modi government on 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.

7) BJP decision not to hold Delhi polls after Lok Sabha elections

BJP swept all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and led in 60 Assembly segments but surprisingly failed to hold elections in the national capital after it. A divided BJP was still wary of winning Delhi which gave time to AAP to consilodate. Even though Kejriwal fared badly when he made his political debut on the national platform in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he realized his blunder and devoted all his energy and resources to lay the road map for success in Delhi by working on the ground for over six months.

8) Modi's MPs 'ghar wapsi' campaign

Modi's failure to control his own MPs who were allegedly forcing people to convert into Hinduism across the country and calling it 'Ghar Wapsi' created a lot of anger amongst the people. He also failed to curb attacks on Church hurting the sentiment of Christians which resulted in the alienation of voters.

His MPs also went on to the extent of asking Hindu women to produce four children, 10 children in order to protect the religion.

9) AAP won perception battle

The AAP managed to win the perception battle by being on ground and striking a chord with 'aam aadmi' as against BJP. The Rs 10 lakh suit wore 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 gave more assurance to people that he will work for them.

10) Congress wipeout

Not finding much hope from Congress, the party's votebank shifted to AAP leading to a massive mandate. The scam tainted tag still remains with the party and with no major overhaul seen in the party, it is losing one poll after another.

Courtesy: PTI