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Delhi Assembly Poll: Debacle or deliberate loss for BJP?
Jaydip Chakrabarti Journalist
Delhi Assembly Poll: Debacle or deliberate loss for BJP?
PHOTO : Arvind Kejriwal after winning election in Delhi. Pic TIWN /IANS

‘Kejriwal ne dhoka diya, jhaadu bol ke vacume cleaner chala diya, one of the funny tweets summed up all about Delhi assembly Poll. Broom storm has flattened Modi-wave in New Delhi. True, Exit Polls predicted victory for AAP, no one could really forecast such an ignominious defeat of apparently invincible Modi and Co in the hands of AAP. At the end of the day, the muffler man emerged as Godzila and BJP’s winning streak miserably crashed under Kejri Wall.

Despite the heavy loss, BJP managed to keep its vote share (32.2%) intact.  What really caused BJP’s drastic fall from grace, was what experts explored in great details. But looking at poll results, could it be assumed that BJP did not want to win and actually lost the game deliberately?

Well, knitting the happenings centering the Delhi Polls, some intriguing things would come up and raise many eye brows. Firstly, it remained unknown as to why BJP government took so long time in declaring the poll schedule for Delhi Assembly. It could easily hold election much earlier when Modi-wave was at its peak. It not only delayed in making an announcement, also once poll itineraries were declared, the party made a lazy and unassuming start. While AAP and Congress came out with their candidates’ list, BJP had nowhere been in the scene then. Was it a case of bad election management? Another instance of ‘bad election management’ to which various media reported was that BJP President Amit Shah’s rally in Delhi had been cancelled in the end of January as the party could not obtain police clearance in time. Such a lagging and sluggish move from BJP seemed a mysterious one taken its well known style of functioning and discipline.  BJP being recognized as a well-organized party with supporters and sympathizers standing in every sphere of government and administration, such careless style of functioning seemed unbelievable. It might be hard to consider that all these happened only for ‘bad management’ of the party. On the contrary, the present bad management might be substantiated by its other ploy - arguably a pre-planned part of losing Delhi battle.
Secondly, one of the major blunders that BJP had made was inducting and projecting Kiran Bedi, as Chief Minister designate for Delhi poll. This move sparked fresh intra-party bickering. Notably, in preceding months, Assembly elections were held in Maharastra, Haryana, J&K, Jharkhand whereby BJP did not project anyone as CM designate and achieve majority in all sans J&K. Then why did the master-strategists - Narendra Modi and Amit Shah Duo - prefer to walk in different lanes for Delhi?  Did master-strategists commit master blunder by announcing a newly inducted person as CM designate? Arrogance or over-confidence theory might not provide adequate explanation in this case. It would be hard to accept that Modi-Shah were not aware about consequences of such announcement. Well, list of such unlikely misfire committed by Modi-Shah pair didn’t end here.  There were many other smaller incidences, like negative campaign, less aggressive campaign etc which might raise doubts about sincerity of BJP’s top-most brass in winning Delhi Assembly Poll.
However, question might appropriately crop up as to why BJP want to lose a prestigious battle.  Narendra Modi and few other top-most BJP leaders were well aware that if BJP would win Delhi Poll, the State would perhaps become a constant headache for BJP top brass - partially because of intra-party squabbles and partially because of existence of impatient and very active civil society in the capital. Delivering promises made during poll campaign and good governance in reality would be a daunting task for BJP which the party might not want to discharge at this moment. The saffron party controlled Delhi’s civic bodies for many years but failed miserably to address the civic issues. So the idea of not to take bigger risk and losing Delhi would have embraced the mighty strategist of the party.
Media was another important factor. During run up to Delhi Polls, BJP successfully diverted media attention to Kiran bedi vs Arvind Kejriwal issue.  TV Channels, Newspapers which were so long busy with Modi Government took drastic turn and started eulogizing Kejriwal, hailing him as a hero. Media spotlight on Kejriwal provided a huge relief for Modi. Such a shift in media spotlight was the most desirable to otherwise media-savvy Modi. The reason was simple. Modi Government was expected to announce some harsh initiatives that the aam aadmi may dislike, in both Railway and Union Budgets. After a defeat in Delhi poll, as media glare shifted from Modi and focused on AAP, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would find scopes to push through several unpopular reforms like PSU disinvestment, budget cuts in health, education etc.
More points were on the scene to reckon with. During the run up to Delhi assembly polls, sadhus and sadhvis affiliated to Sangh Parivar made inflammatory comments, and next was the incidences of rampage on churches that caused stirs and surprisingly, in all the cases, PM Modi kept an acute silence.  It seemed he was quieter than Dr Manmohan Singh. While all were talking about broom storm and with relatively low-intensity media coverage, ultra right wing Sangh Parivar machinery would be able to get chance of unleashing its foot-soldiers to polarize voters ahead of two bigger battles - UP and Bihar assembly polls. These two states were absolutely important for BJP to further flourish and establish its dominance in cow-belt. Moreover, winning in these states would help BJP to shore up its strength in Rajya Sabha. Though BJP has more than absolute majority in Parliament, it does not have requisite number of MPs in Rajya Sabha till date. Majority in Rajya Sabha is extremely necessary for pushing more radical and unpopular reforms. Given situations, in fact, compelled the saffron party to be evasive dodge out media glare and sacrificed Delhi eyeing on a bigger and more worthy victory in coming days, to achieve its great nationalist interests.
Mr Jaydip Chakraborty is an eminent freelancerJournalist based in Agartala.
Wide experience in reporting/writing news/features/article on developmental issues, economic and political issues.
Mr Chakraborty holds Master Degree in Economics from Calcutta University.
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