Jasleen Kaur | January 24, 2015
In less than 15 months Delhi is going to vote again. During the last elections in December 2013, the national capital hogged all the limelight of the world as it was a different battle. The battle fought on rules set by one man and a party, fresh off the people’s imagination.
Arvind Kejriwal, an outsider, a non-politician, someone representing civil society and crusader against corruption had plunged into a traditional election.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) surprised the traditional political parties and strongly claimed their support base. Everything was unconventional about it. From the way tickets were distributed to the way elections were fought. The party and Kejriwal presented a strong alternative, bringing in a three-cornered fight in Delhi, for the first time.
The election results stunned Congress, which ruled Delhi for three consecutive terms, and also forced BJP to sit in opposition.
Since then, Delhi politics has certainly changed. The new government at the centre and Narendra Modi’s arrival in Delhi has revitalised the BJP. That is one aspect of the political landscape. But the induction of Kiran Bedi into BJP presents challenge to the voters as well as to the Delhi politics.
Two unconventional actors are currently occupying the centrestage. Delhi is going to vote again on February 7. The rules of the electoral game are certainly being rewritten.
Kiran Bedi has given new life to the BJP in Delhi. But outsourcing of leadership raises some serious concerns. Perhaps, it reflects the failure of the established leadership of BJP’s state unit though, some see this as a face saver and a traditional way of putting the best foot forward to win the election.
What is ironical is that the party, which captured the centre with a huge majority in May last year under Modi had to look outside for their chief ministerial candidate. The party could never sense that the decisive win at centre, capturing all the seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi, will still land them in such a situation.
It is felt that Delhi, which was BJP’s stronghold, has changed since the last election when the party did not get majority even after sitting in opposition for 15 years. The party had a strong hold till AAP was not an alternative, says Jagdeep Chhokar, founding member of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Anjali Bhardwaj, an RTI activist and a member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan and NCPRI, says the older political parties are just looking for ways to tackle AAP in the electoral space.
Ultimately, the BJP may not face any difficulty in capturing Delhi and forming the government, but not through its home-grown leadership.
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