By Ashima Makhija
The Bharatiya Janata Party achieved a sweeping victory in the decisive Delhi MCD polls by securing 184 seats out of a possible 272. This will mark the third consecutive victory for the party in the Delhi civic elections. The stakes were very high in the crucial MCD polls for three parties: AAP, Congress and BJP. While the BJP has proved its political dominance over the national capital, AAP has met with crushing defeat. Despite coming second in the electoral race, the AAP managed to secure only 46 seats in all three MCDs. The popular wave that the AAP rode in the 2015 Legislative Assembly election seems to have died out completely. Congress, which was aiming to regain some of its former public support, won only 30 seats.
Just two years ago, the Aam Aadmi Party had cornered both the national parties and secured a colossal mandate of 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi. But now, it has failed at giving worthy competition to the BJP. Just as in the case of Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal’s first target was the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Raising concerns about the “BJP tampering with EVMs”, has become a recurrent theme for the party. AAP lawmaker Bhagwant Mann, however, has gone public with his critique of the party. The party leadership is “behaving like a mohalla (local) cricket team,” Mr Mann said on Wednesday after AAP’s defeat. AAP’s Delhi-in charge Dilip Pandey resigned on 26th April due to the failure of party leadership and the lack of electoral strategy.
Initially, the AAP leaders remained firm on their stance and continued to blame the EVMs. “It is hard to believe that the BJP can win this kind of a victory when AAP has done so much. This is not a Modi wave but an EVM wave,” Mr Sisodia said on April 27. However, on Saturday, Delhi CM departed from his earlier position and admitted that his party made mistakes in the recent Municipal Corporation of Delhi election and added that there was a need for introspection. The Delhi CM took to Twitter to say that it is “time to go back to the drawing board”. Party member Kumar Vishwas said the key issue was “mistrust” and the failure to reach out to the voters.
The sharp plunge in AAP’s support and popularity in just two years clearly indicates who the victor is in the competition between the Kejriwal brand and the Modi brand.
BJP: An unstoppable force
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which rode on the Modi wave, even for the Municipal Corporation elections, seems like a politically unstoppable force right now. The BJP created an impressive manifesto, “Charter of Commitment” promising the people that there would bo no additional levies or taxes, offering incentives such as a ₹10 lakh insurance cover for the students in MCD schools, health cards for citizens, open gymnasiums, scrapping factory licenses, promoting enterprises run by women under the centre’s Startup India scheme, and promising to make special arrangements to address the problems faced by the people belonging to the north-east in the capital. Campaigns of the BJP were filled with eminent names of Union ministers like Vijay Goyal, Harsh Vardhan and Smriti Irani which seemed to have wooed the voters. BJP plans to use a similar strategy in the upcoming civic body elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The uncertain future of Congress
The Congress has been relegated to third place after the 2012 elections but its seats have shrunken considerably from 77 to only 30. The poll results led to an internal strife in the state unit of Congress which culminated in the resignation of Congress’s Delhi president, Ajay Maken. Three-time CM of Delhi, Sheila Dixit allegedly blamed Maken for the party’s poor performance. “It is a reasonable revival of the Congress but I had hoped for something better than this. So, as the president of Delhi Congress, I take moral responsibility and I have decided to resign from my post,” he told reporters.
“The MCD election result is a vote against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his government for not fulfilling the promises made by the party. The landslide victory of BJP is also an expression of dislike for the incumbent AAP,” said Bidyut Chakrabarty, a political science professor at Delhi University. The BJP and AAP are now expected to be the main contenders for power in the next Delhi Legislative Assembly elections. Most analysts expect the mandates of the two parties to be the deciding factor in the 2020 elections.
Featured Image Source: The Logical Indian
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