Delhi puts spokes to Modi’s plans

The political landscape of Delhi has undergone a see change in the span of nine months. From a BJP clean sweep in Lok Sabha elections to a thumping Aam Aadmi Party victory in the just concluded Assembly elections, much has happened in a very short span of time

The political landscape of Delhi has undergone a see change in the span of nine months. From a BJP clean sweep in Lok Sabha elections to a thumping Aam Aadmi Party victory in the just concluded Assembly elections, much has happened in a very short span of time.

Unusually, the triangular contest, contrary to beliefs, in Delhi with the advent of AAP, has given a touch of stability which was reflected in  Narendra Modi and  Arvind Kejriwal leading majority governments at the Centre as well as in Delhi. Ostensibly, it has been made possibly due to total decimation of Congress on both the occasions and BJP's own plot of a downfall in Assembly elections due to complacency and overconfidence of its leadership.

There is no secret about the continuous downslide of the Congress which has got fillip due to total lack of interest of the party's central leadership to work either on a revival plan or rejuvenate the rank and file.

But the BJP under the dominant leadership of  Modi and the party chief  Amit Shah, crashing like a house of cards has a shocker effect on the party's leadership and the rank and file.

The blow is more serious for the BJP than Congress, as its stars under  Modi's leadership were on the ascendancy with the high-point coming with the visit of American President  Barack Obama on Republic Day which was proclaimed as a super success with the potential of turning Delhi elections in BJP's favour.

The public conduct of  Modi and  Shah and their handling of the party's affairs vis-a-vis Delhi elections smacked a total disconnect with the mood of local leadership, rank and file and realities on the ground.

In fact,  Modi was beaten fair and square at his own game as neither he nor his strategists thought it proper to look beyond him in a more localised way.

Finally, a peep in this direction in the shape of former IPS officer Dr Kiran Bedi's projection as the chief ministerial candidate was not only ill planned and advised but also came too late in the date. Her subsequent conduct further isolated the local leaders and workers with a cluless top leadership not knowing what to do.

The last ditch hope of the BJP to come back to power in Delhi after a long hiatus of 15 years were dashed to the ground by none-else than the party's own leadership.

An overconfident leadership allowed the confusion to prevail and strengthen by the day due to indecisions and wrong priorities and the end result was a demoralised organisational network on ground amidst high-profile and high-tech campaign led by  Modi himself.

In the run up and all through the election campaign the feeling of the high command's total lack of confidence in the local leadership was clearly discernible. It became more pronounced with the para-dropping of Dr Bedi as the chief ministerial nominee. 

The disagreement between  Modi's supporters and detractors on whether the election result is a referendum on the performance of his nine-month old central government is but natural.

In the true Congress mould, the BJP spokespersons lost no time in shielding the Prime Minister and deflecting all criticism away from him. But the fact remains that the entire election campaign in Delhi, as was the case in other states that went to elections, was focused on more  Modi than even the performance of his government.

His personality with wardrobe on full display became the central theme of the BJP's campaign.

For public record the BJP leaders are steadfastly claiming that the verdict had no reflection on  Modi and that his government's honeymoon period has still not ended given his performance at the Centre, but the mood that prevailed in Delhi conveys to the contrary.

The alarm bells have started ringing for the BJP which as an organisation has been reduced to a monolithic structure in the true Congress mould.

The voices of dissent are already being heard from within the BJP though there is no visible potential of a brewing storm to challenge  Modi's leadership at this juncture. But the situation has certainly moved a step forward in that direction.

The local BJP leaders who have all been convincingly defeated by the AAP candidates are seething with anger but not knowing what to do.

It will be interesting to see how the BJP leadership deals with the situation. Of more interest to the public will be whether  Modi comes forward and owns responsibility or would prefer to hide behind the cover already being provided by his strategists and partymen.

The knives are out more ferociously in the Congress than expected. None other than the former chief minister and senior party leader s Sheila Dikshit has already bared her teeth at his onetime protégé and AICC general secretary Ajay Maken who was the Congress campaign face in the elections.

Without losing any time she has launched a broadside against him for not involving her in the election campaign.

Whether her outburst is an indication of her future course of action will only be known in the weeks to come. Significantly, she pointed out that many leaders were quitting Congress for not being involved in the decision making.

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