They say never go by what an exit poll would suggest the outcome of an election and if anyone believes that they are wrong but these days pools are getting it more right than wrong . But it seems very clear that come tomorrow 10th of February BJP will not get the keys to Delhi and the physiological loss will be very difficult to bear. Now BJP will have to spend its energies to defend Prime Minster Narendra Modi because the whole premise of Delhi campaign was “Modi.” Now since the BJP will lose and maybe by a significant margin, Amit Shah’s election experiment will be questioned and a new strategy will have to be put in place for Bihar and in Kashmir the last frontier forming a coalition government is still a bridge too far. The same formula which was used over and over completely blindsided BJP and the staunch refusal to even comprehend in change of strategy was blasphemous to them.
For BJP the Modi factor was like getting their hands on the Elder Wand from Harry Potter and they welded it so many times it they just wore it out. Everyone would agree, they were arrogant and expected a walkover or they thought they could walkover all other political parties and especially AAP since the Congress was and now officially a non entity in the political framework of India. Rahul Gandhi is now the Bahadur Shah Zafar of congress party and just a mare symbol by whom few vested interests will latch on until he is bone dry.
But that was not case with AAP under the leadership of a very diminutive Arvind Kejriwal or at least that is what he made everyone believe. BJP underestimated Kejriwal and in the in the book The Art of War San Tzu said “Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.” The AAP was not inferior but the BJP was certainly arrogant. He was called a lot of names which are now part of the folklore of these elections and one must concede he took all the jabs, punches and the kitchen sink which was thrown at him with grace under fire. Not once he lost his cool which must have infuriated the BJP more than anything. Politics is perception and he managed to change the perception of the people of Delhi rather convincingly. BJP kept talking about Kejriwal and AAP kept talking about Issues.
Why the elections in Delhi was delayed
No one knows for sure why the elections in Delhi was delayed for such a long time and there are many theories, but had it been held back in September or October 2013, BJP would have won. However the only logical explanation I could arrive was BJP was biting for time. The sudden turnaround of our economy and the foreign policy victories just kept adding the allure of Modi which they thought they could package and sell it all over India and it worked. The second hypothesis is let the people of this city get by without a proper government to degrade AAP and in time people will just plead to the BJP to take over and all this would have been a walk in the park. However they forget AAP has perhaps the best network at the local level and the time given to them allowed them to borrow deeper into the marrow of the people’s psyche which was the most important factor of the outcome of this election.
Kiran to the Rescue
Is that a bird or plan, no it was Kiran Bedi and she does not need a cape or any superpower to prove herself as worthy leader and convincing her to run for the post of chief minister was a master stroke by Amit Shah. It created a ripple effect and one could see shoulders of AAP supporters drooping with a very good prospect of losing Delhi election. Kiran Bedi in a matter of less than 24 hours galvanized BJP and hopes ran high. But behind the scene there was dust of dissent and disappointment for many Delhi BJP leaders who felt it was their time to shine after years of hard labor and service to their party. But it was not be and the sudden lateral elevation of Kiran Bedi a rank outsider and critic of BJP and Modi was not taken very well. The smiles which we saw on the dais and all the hand weaving of all the local leaders was forced on them by the party high command.
But soon Kiran Bedi started to fumble and her gaffs became the cause of embarrassment and an opportunity for AAP. Her direct attacks on Kejriwal were not well received and the dignified response of Arvind Kejriwal and always talking about the issues hit a nerve with the people and slowly the opinion started to change. Kiran Bedi is one of the liveliest people one can ever hope to come across and her drive, energy and enthusiasm has no bounds, but there lies her weakness. Her outspoken and authoritative approach towards addressing concerns came across as someone who was too eager to please. Her contribution in such a short time was remarkable. But clearly she was underprepared and fumbled throughout her campaign and this smart, bold women of substance was used by the BJP as means to an end and the people were able to see through that.
The idea which is Modi
After achieving the mythical figure 272 seats and more in the parliament back in may 2014, Narendra Modi was not only regarded as a great leader but he became a rallying point for the people of this country. With His victories the statures of our nation grow outside because of his leadership and in a matter of few months gave the people of this country a renewed hope. From a man rose an Idea which was, which is Modi and Modi could fix everything. Come with Modi they said but he was never going to be the chief minister of New Delhi since he has a job which is far more demanding being the Prime Minister of a very large nation.
To make him as the opponent of Kejriwal during the Delhi election was a political blunder and not having a proper cohesive strategy for Delhi was the first nail on the coffin. To make cabinet ministers leave their responsibilities behind and go on the campaign trail was seen as sign of desperation. Modi held four rallies in Delhi with varying level of success and his grand arrival in a helicopter attracted more attention towards the air craft then him. On the other hand Arvind Kejriwal was holding rallies of his own which rivaled the BJP held rallies under Modi which was seen by everyone. The Modi Idea in a city which is populated by a Varity of communities and religions had a different idea. Delhi unlike other states does not derive its identity from a particular language like most states and have people of all spectrums living within and to show the achievements of BJP at the national and international level did not work.
The welcome mat laid down for Barack Obama and the snubbing given to Kejriwal for not being invited for our Republic Day celebration was seen as a mark of disrespect and arrogance. With all his flaws and the mistakes which he had made earlier the people did not like it and he gained more sympathy. To use the occasion of our Republic day as a political platform to push Kiran Bedi into the limelight was brilliantly used by AAP against the BJP in the social media.
“Politics is Local,” these are the eternal words of Tip” O’Neillthe former Unites States Speaker of the house and his words are perhaps the bedrock of fighting elections just as Abraham Lincoln’s eloquent speech at the battle of Gettysburg which defined Democracy. BJP was running on the coattail of Modi and this was the Mantra which will blow away any and every opposition. But they forgot that the people of this city had to endure a lot of problems over the last one year with all the big boys playing politics and completely forgetting the plight of its people. By giving AAP time and thinking victory was bequeathed to BJP it gave to a very bad taste in the mouth of the people.
BJP was blinded by the glory of Modi and it forgot the people. AAP addressed issues and BJP kept shooting Modi out of cannon thinking the sound of its big gun will be heard all over the place. AAP exploded tiny crackers in every street which dwarfed the noise made by BJP. It did not have any known faces except Kejriwal who took hit after hit and many at personal level and he just kept coming back over and over. The resilience shown by this man has to be commended and lessons must be learned by others. Already other political parties have smelled weakness and are no longer afraid of the Modi wave. The myth has been broken and if other political parties have the intelligence to learn from this then BJP could be stopped.
Delhi was not just another election, it was the World Cup of Indian elections. Winning the general election back in May 2014 was a cup of tea for the BJP and lest we forget it was a tea maker who became the rallying point for BJP and gave hope to all of India that a common man can reach the highest echelon of power and it was not reserved for the self entitled. But alas all things must come to an end and in the words of William Shakespeare “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool,” and that is why they lost. Amit Shah and Company over indulged in every aspect of this election and gave AAP all the opportunities to get back in the game. Nationalistic fervor proved too weak and issues for development became too strong and that is how the BJP Screwed a Cup of Tea called Delhi
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