Delhi poised for a keen contest

  • Keen contest in last leg
  • BJP fighting a losing battle?
  • Modi-Shah duo lost Midas touch?
  • NDTV gives Kejriwal the edge
  • Would BJP pay for the mistakes?

New Delhi, February 1: Has Naredra Modi lost his Midas touch? Is Arvind Kejriwal going to win? Is the Congress going to fare better than expected?

It now seems that the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combination, which has been doing wonders since the May 2014 general elections, had made a huge mistake in building a larger than image for their rival Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Admi Party (AAP). First, the BJP did not go for elections soon after the resignation of Kejriwal to the post of the chief minister after 49 days in office. That was the best time to go for by-election as the BJP was fresh with a big, dream victory and the dynamism was bubbling in the party. But the leaders of the party in Delhi dragged their feet, reluctant to go for another elections in less than six months. The national leadership followed the advice of the Delhi unit and allowed the President’s rule to continue for months. In the mean time, the party leaders became defocused the cadres lost their motivation. Kejriwal, on the other hand, profusely apologized to the people of Delhi for leaving the office on the issue of Jan Lokpal. He had gone about his mass contact programme in right earnest.

Second, the leadership of the BJP has removed the only tall leader in Delhi by inducting him as health minister in the union cabinet. The leaders in Delhi BJP developed differences among themselves and started group politics. The cadre were not given any programme.

 Third, when  the elections were announced, there was no leader in the BJP to take on Kejriwal of AAP or to lead the party cadres.  Even the Congress had come up with Ajay Maken, a clean leader. When the BJP campaign was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ramlila Maidan, the fight was dubbed by the national media as Modi versus Kejriwal. The BJP did not pick up even after Modi’s oration. Then the BJP had developed doubts about its victory and fears about the consequences. If the BJP lost it would mean the defeat suffered by Modi at the hands of Kejriwal since the battle was billed as Modi vs Kejriwal.

Fourth, it was then that the BJP leadership came up with Kiran Bedi card. The party decided that only Kiran Bedi can stop Kejriwal, if at all. The top cop agreed with the suggestion made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and met the prime minister. Her induction into the party was welcomed by majority of the leaders while a minority of them sulked over giving priority to a rank outsider. The PM and the party chief gave full support to Bedi and announced her as the party’s CM candidate. Bedi, on her party, went on a no-holds-barred election campaign straining every nerve. But the BJP leadership noticed that Kiran Bedi was not faring well and her campaign is not going to stop Kejriwal who has been at it for over eight months.

Fifth, the BJP leadership decided to throw all important central leaders into the campaign. Besides Shah himself and a number of north Indian leaders, Venkaiah Naidu and Bandaru Dattatreya from South have been addressing street-corner meetings. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman has been found speaking in English and Hindi with equal ease in her campaign for the BJP candidates. Almost all important leaders of the party have been camping in Delhi for this prestigious election. Even the US President Obama’s visit was sought to be made use of by the ruling party. As an act of desperation, the party hinted at probing the cases relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of Indira Gandhi assassination.

It can be said without any fear of contradiction that the BJP has tried all the tricks in its bag. In doing so, it had created a larger than life image for Kejriwal narrowing the choice of the voters either in favour or against Kejriwal. Thus Kejriwal, a leader who literally ran away from responsibility, has become central to the elections. It was partly due to his strategy and largely due to the failure of Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo.

Now, in the last phase of the campaign in the elections for which polling is slated to take place on the 7th, it appears as though AAP has a little edge over the BJP. The opinion poll conducted by NDTV concludes that it would be AAP which is going to win as things stand in a week before the poll. If the conclusion proves right, the BJP would only have itself to blame.

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