DELHIITES faced with bipartisan politics

PRANAB Kumar Chakravarty

Anti-corruption activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party has received a mandate from the Delhi’s electorates for the third successive term equalling the record scripted by his iconic predecessor Sheila Dikshit. She was Chief Minister of the Union Territory for 15 years until unseated by the AAP supremo in 2013. Incumbent CM Kejriwal has several advantages unlike her as he is his own boss and takes decision he likes in the interest of his party and the government of the richest in terms of revenue from varied sources and India’s most inhabited cosmopolitan Union Territory. Elections for the 70 -Member Delhi Legislative Assembly were held and results declared amid polarization of the two major communities and alleged police atrocities committed on students protesting the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) law approved by the two Houses of Parliament and then given nod by the President of India seeking to grant citizenship to six minority communities. Youth and students across the nation spontaneously joined the moment against CAA and proposed nationwide NRC further heightening the tension as Delhi went to poll on February 8. The ruling party at the centre which contested the elections was on the defensive resulting its almost rout as it bagged only eight seats despite the campaign spearheaded by Union Minister for Home Amit Shah. BJP’s consolation is it has got five more seats, increased vote share than in the last assembly polls converting Delhi into two-party UT between the ruling AAP and the national party. The increased percentage of vote share polled by the BJP is stated to be highest since the legislative assembly was created for the UT in 1993. However, as several political analysts assert the Saffron party long with its allies have been swept away by the voters by the freebie economy being prompted by the ruling party. The high-octane assembly elections have once again proved that in every state election, it is becoming BJP + vs the regional parties as INC, the country’s oldest political outfit, is struggling for existence. There are varied reasons for BJP’s dismal performance in Delhi after Jharkhand as it activists say it is too dependent on central leadership and the party has failed to groom leaders at the regional level and the party for assembly polls must have state specific strategies. What was its electoral tactic to come to power in the Union Territory after two decades? National issues like abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir integrating it with the rest of India, building grand temple at the birth place of Lord Rama, introduction of GST to plug loopholes in leakage of revenue, surging FDI etc are undoubtedly are among the great achievements of the NDA government but should not have dominated electioneering. Local public issues like pollution, Bijli, Pani, Makan and Sadak besides cleanliness of the Yamuna River should have been highlighted in BJP’s campaign. Low priority given to local developmental issues and alienation of the minority over the amended citizenship act apart, the BJP has also failed to connect with the voters. As it is rightly said in national politics nobody is yet to be bracketed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in terms of acceptability and as a doer, in Delhi BJP lacks a leader who can be alternative to the AAP supremo who has almost emerged as a cult figure. Emergence or promotion of such a powerful demagogue like the incumbent Chief Minister is anathema to the national party for which is has had to pay heavily in Maharashtra and then in Jharkhand and Delhi. BJP is facing assembly elections in Bihar and West Bengal next year. It badly needs a magic wand to win confidence of 17 percent Muslim voters in Bihar and 27 percent minority voters in West Bengal. Question remains whether electorates in the two eastern states will also be polarized like Delhi as the government does not seem to be in a mood to roll back CAA and NPR which are under scrutiny in the Supreme Court of India.(courtesy to hhtps/:musingsofaseniorjournalist@wordpress.c

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