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Low pitch and sound strategy sail AAP through

By IndianMandarins- 12 Feb 2020


Winning Delhi Assembly elections remains elusive for the BJP yet again with AAP managing the second successive victory in Delhi by securing over 50% votes. But what catapulted the AAP to this victory that fared third in the recent Lok Sabha elections in Delhi is a very interesting to ponder about.

Analysts attribute this to Kejriwal’s popularity and his welfare agenda which is another perfect example how Indian voters differentiate between national and local elections. The BJP crossed 50% vote share in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and 2019 in Delhi, and the AAP in Assembly elections in 2015 and 2020. Similar factors helped the BJP when it lost in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan in 2018 and bounced back in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

They further say that the success rate of the BJP dwindles where there is mostly bipolar contest as vote share suggest that it is the BJP which has gained more from poor performance of Congress collapse from 9.7% in 2015 to 4.3% in 2020 vote share. The BJP managed to get its second highest vote share in 2020 in Assembly elections since 1993 and six percentage points more than the 2015 figure of 32.3%. But it is significantly less than the 56% which it got during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has done well in areas with unauthorised colonies which it regularised.

But most important aspect of Kejriwal’s campaign was that he did not criticize the PM strategically. He had also cautiously made a ballance and was not seen unnecessarily with Muslim extremists and very cleverly and innocently peddling soft Hinduism. He also countered aggressive posturing of the BJP by softly raising slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ with prude. But his main focus was around basic requirement of Delhites that is Bijli (electricity), Pani (water) and 'Sasti yatra' (cheap transport) and he sailed through.

Hyper-nationalism adopted by the BJP in Delhi elections proved to be counter productive and has a negative correlation to electoral success. Economic and livelihood issues are neglected by the BJP that has been a major bearing on its narrative against the party. The story is always different in Lok Sabha elections where nationalist agenda seems to be having a positive correlation.

It is not that Kejriwal alone but several other anti-BJP forces including NCP, JD(S), TMC, TRS and DMK are saying that the time for alternative politics for 2024 has come that talks about Kaam Ki Rajneeti vs Jabaan Ki Rajneeti. But role of Prashant Kishor cannot be anything less who started Kejriwal’s campaign with attacking Delhi BJP chief by Rinkiya Ke Papa jibe and suggesting top brass of the APP – Arvind Kejriwal to adopt soft Hindutva and Manish Sisodia to support Shaheen Bagh.

It was also part of the strategy to attack the BJP being faceless. There is another question that why the most acceptable face of BJP in Delhi Dr Harshvardhan was not made face of party in Delhi elections. On the other hand insiders say that Congress didn't want to get exposed but a decision to give passage to AAP against the BJP was taken the moment CAA was passed in Parliament.

There was no taker of the BJP campaign on abrogation of Article 370, Ayodhya Verdict, triple talaq however the party managed to generate some sentiment against CAA protest that helped increasing its poll percentage. Of course, a big section of youth of Delhi remained glued towards the AAP with most of the universities students in Delhi taking to street for some or the other reason. However, what will be the impact of anti-CAA movement will determine the course of Indian politics.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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