Ugly battle between BJP and AAP for supremacy in Delhi
The election campaign in Delhi kept getting uglier by the day as never seen earlier as the polling day (past now) drew nearer. The sole reason behind the electioneering touching lowest ebb was that the two premier contestants BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were facing a close make or break contest. Such a scenario was reflected even in the internal estimations of the two political parties.
Significantly, the BJP’s internal surveys, ostensibly, have been conveying a picture whereby it was shown as falling short of the magic figure of 36 in a House of 70 to form government, with AAP in the lead. Conversely some other estimations showed BJP slightly ahead of the AAP thereby creating utter confusion in the two camps.
The no-holds-bar campaign of the BJP aimed at covering the deficit created by severe internal dissensions due to former IPS officer Dr Kiran Bedi’s sudden projection as the party’s chief ministerial candidate has resulted in a new set of problems for the party. The total decimation of the Delhi BJP leaders and an overshadowing by the party’s central command has if created a confusion among the rank and file, it has also resulted in serious deficit of governance at the Centre.
The gamble played by BJP through bringing in Dr Bedi did not seem to have paid off. The move had resulted in the BJP surrendering the lead position to the AAP though by a whisker. She is trying to plough her lonely furrow under the umbrella cover of the BJP’s high command.
The central piece of the Delhi Assembly elections 2015 up till the last was BJP for many reasons other than the imposing persona of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 22 Union Ministers led by Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley covering every bit of Delhi was first of sorts witnessed in the capital city. Usually, this is the time of the year when any Finance Minister would be busy with Budget formulations but he was devoting considerable time on daily basis in overseeing the BJP’s electoral affairs.
At this point in time when he should have been interacting with top industrialists, Mr Jaitley, surprisingly, attended a meeting of the Press Information Bureau officers teaching them the new techniques on how to endear themselves to the media.
Most of the other top Ministers were unable to attend to their ministerial duties as they were required to spend more time in segments allotted to them to ensure BJP’s victory. Ironic it may sound but Commerce Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman slated to attend an important international conference at Scotland had to cancel it for election duty. Rural Development Minister Mr Brindra Singh and many others like him have not visited their offices for the past over one week.
It was due to serious differences between Dr Bedi and established local leaders such as Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harshvardhan on the issue of full statehood for Delhi that the party abandoned plans of issuing an election manifesto. It came out with a ‘vision document’ just three days before the poll date.
This was an index of the utter confusion that prevailed within the BJP. The expose by a splinter group of the AAP on fund raising through the route of dubious companies had come as a much needed opportunity for the BJP to hit back and try and snatch the initiative from the former. At best, it could result in the two parties getting more closer to each other in terms of seats tally and both falling short of the magical figure needed to form government.
It has been a do or die battle both for the BJP and AAP as failure to form government could have serious consequences for both though with different dimensions. AAP’s political journey that started with last Delhi Assembly elections will be seriously impeded by a defeat and its future will become uncertain whereas a clear victory will open new avenues for its chief Mr Arvind Kejriwal and his team.
On the other hand a victory in Delhi would be perceived as continuous rolling of Narendra Modi juggernaut and could make it easier for the party to cover grounds in Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and other states slated to go to polls in near future. Failure in securing majority would put the BJP’s rivals on a high moral pedestal and provide them with ammunition to hit back.