By Stuti Mohan
Edited by Nandini Bhatia
With the recently announced elections, it looks like a clear battlefield between the two rival parties. BJP and AAP will be locking horns for the prestigious capital seats. Congress, after having ruled for nearly 15 years in the capital territory, has now lost its earlier charm and charisma and it is likely the muffler man’s party has taken its place.
The BJP is riding on its triumphant chariot of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the state assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. It also showed up strong in Jammu and Kashmir so as to continue this winning streak. On the other hand, AAP will fight for its relevance after having ruled in the state for 49 days and then quitting. This could be a ‘do or die’ situation for the nascent party. The party however, seems confident of getting majority in the 70 member assembly and said Arvind Kejriwal will be “Delhi’s valentine” on Feb 14.
Modi, who criticized the Congress in his speeches during the Lok sabha elections, blaming them for their bad governance and lack of accountability, didn’t find them worthy of mentioning in the recent speech delivered at the Ram Lila Maidan. Obliquely attacking AAP, he called Arvind Kejriwal an “anarchist” and asked him to join the Naxalites. He clearly said that the voters should punish them for wasting a year.
Election campaigns of both parties over TV, radio and hoardings clearly portray that both are taking on each other and considering each other as potential threats for 2015 assembly elections.
In its recent strategy, BJP is focusing on the lower middle class section of the society, a section which had played a crucial role in AAP’s spectacular win in 2013 assembly elections. The party managed to secure 9 out of 12 assembly seats in 2013-mostly dominated by slum clusters. BJP has promised concrete houses to all slum dwellers by 2022, legalization of unauthorized colonies and that the problem of corruption at lower level will be dealt with. The party is also focusing on slum dwellers with powerful slogans echoing like “Jhuggi Jhopdi Ka vikas, Dhaudo Modi me saath” (Run with Modi for the welfare of the slums) and “your dream is my dream”.
In its campaign, the BJP has also highlighted the fact that the e-rickshaw ban was lifted by the efforts of their party and hence, focusing on winning over the auto rickshaw and e-rickshaw drivers that form a major vote bank for AAP. The party is also highlighting its recently initiated Jan Dhan Yojana whereby the poorest of the poor can open a zero balance bank account. Over 19.5 lakh bank accounts have been opened since its launch in august. The party is also highlighting the fact that there would be flexibility to choose own power discoms, which will create a competitive market and lower down prices.
It would be interesting to see in the upcoming elections whether AAP would be able to regain its lost credibility or would BJP take advantage of the hole in AAP’s armour.