AAP’s ”˜Jhaadu’ sweeps Delhi

By Vijay Badhwar

It is second time in a row (if one ignores the first time few-days-long AAP government as a minor aberration) that the Aam Admi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal has swept the Delhi elections – in 2015, 67-3, and in the just-held contest 62-8, the consolation seats going to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with Congress failing even to appear on the board. Not to forget that Delhi was dominated by Congress in the times of Late Shiela Dixit before Kejriwal hit the scene from nowhere.

It was a different Kejriwal then, in his trademark Bihari muffler covering the head and wrapped a turn around the neck (deceptive – considering he is an IITian and a former top bureaucrat), coughing and accusing everyone, lying on the footpath in rain and cold to make a protest. He has learned quickly.

His political savviness, however, was apparent from early times. He rose on the shoulders of Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Yogendra Yadav et al, on the popular platform of anti-corruption but sidelined them one by one. He knew Machiavellian advice to rid of formidable compatriots first and worry about powerful enemies later.

Being a technocrat, he is methodical – preparing a list of questionnaire that he expected voters to ask, and preparing his canvassers to be prepared to answer each one of them; he focussed on priority public expectations of health, education, transport, water and electricity and created an aura of achievements.

The BJP, on the other hand, went with Modi name and beat nationalism and Hindutva to death – anyone against BJP was not patriotic, neither a Hindu – with no local issues to address except bashing the Shaheen Bagh street protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) (rightfully, of course, as it was inconveniencing the public). Their unrestrained leaders went wild – Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, saying: “Desh ke Gaddaro ko Goli maaro salon ko” and a BJP Member of Parliament Parvesh Verma calling Arvind Kejriwal a terrorist.

The inflammable statements failed to win BJP any votes, albeit for an increase of six percentage points in their vote share at the expense of Congress and five more seats, hardly enough to overhaul the big gap of 54 seats.

The Congress did miserably, failing to win a single Delhi seat for the second time in a row. They are virtually a non-entity with 63 of their fielded candidates losing deposits. The mother-son team has to go if they want to give Congress a minuscule chance to revive. The heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi, is a liability for the party, who stoops so low even to disrespect the nation’s prime ministerial position.

BJP is virtually stateless compared to its 2017 national spread. They have lost Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and outwitted by Pawar gambit in Maharashtra. Although they did not stand a chance in Delhi, West Bengal is their next frontier with their arch adversary in Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee has egged Kejriwal on. And he took the bait emboldened by his resounding success after the previous election in 2015. Kejriwal did try at the national scene but at that level he has realised that he neither has the colossal Modi image nor the large-scale BJP machinery at his command to make an impact.

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