Home arrow Archives arrow Spotlight arrow Spotlight-2020 arrow Decoding Delhi Elections!m, by Dr. D.K. Giri, 8 February, 2020
News and Features
INFA Digest
Parliament Spotlight
Journalism Awards
Decoding Delhi Elections!m, by Dr. D.K. Giri, 8 February, 2020 Print E-mail


New Delhi, 8 February, 2020

Decoding Delhi Elections!

By Dr. D.K. Giri

Delhi state elections draw ample attention as it is the national capital and political nerve centre of the country. That is perhaps why three major parties are battling it out to gain power - the incumbent AAP government, BJP and INC. The latter two national parties have odd alliances with smaller parties. In absence of any opinion polls, it is hard to confidently predict the results; also as Indian electorate can throw surprises. One can only pontificate vis-a-vis the debates and reporting by TV channels.

The buzz so far is that AAP will sail through with a reduced margin. They may drop down from 67 to 50, but a clear majority to reclaim the government formation. Indian National Congress may, backed by the minority voters may got up to 7 seats, although this figure is contestable. They may have no seats again or just one or two. BJP may get up to 20 seats.

Analysing the bases of such prediction, AAP will retain the majority for at least 5 reasons. One, AAP leadership has managed to avoid any controversy. To surprise of many an observer, AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal did not speak much, did not organise press conferences. He perhaps followed the Irish Playwright Oliver Goldsmith who had famously said, “Ask me no questions, and I will tell you no lies”. Second, the leadership remained free of scandals. Any sniff of scandal, he removed the person involved. Third, he quietly worked for people after a round of power skirmish with the Centre. Fourth, AAP was smart in advertising their ‘good’ work, and shifting the blame to the Centre for any mess created, such as the air pollution. Kejriwal blamed both Haryana and Punjab ruled by BJP and INC respectively for polluting Delhi by stubble burning. Fifth were the freebies like free bus ride for females, free electricity, and water etc. These doles are really the front-runners in AAP’s campaign as vote-catchers inasmuch as Delhites were not given any such concessions in the past. Then there are definite tangible improvements in the government schools, and much-vaunted Mohalla Clinics,  despite the shrill criticism of their pompous presentation contrary to what is on the ground. All in all, AAP seems to smooth-sail this election.

Indian National Congress seems to be a non-starter. Their lethargic and non-confident approach beggars any comprehension. BJP runs the central government, AAP has Delhi government, INC is out of Delhi Assembly having ruled for 15 consecutive years until AAP tipped them over the edge. They were the last to announce the list of candidates, giving them least time to campaign. In fact, INC should have started 3 months back. Again, Congress campaign is harking back to Sheila Dixit era. But, the fact that she lost so badly may not evoke much sympathy. INC should have built a robust new political platform for Delhi, on law and order, dealing with the students’ grievances, air and sanitation,, water logging, reversing the stress migration of poor into the city, and so on. Congress refuses to learn any lesson.

On BJP strategy, one is cut to the quick in deciphering it. Their election plank, be it the states or the centre, or even local government, remains the same; polarise the electorate between Hindus and the rest on muscular Hindutva nationalism and a strong decisive leadership in Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed by a equally strong Home Minister. To BJP’s miscalculation, they did not anticipate such a strong reaction and resistance to CAA-NPR-NRC. They encountered no resistance to defanging of Article 370, abolition of Triple Talaq, or t0 the verdict on construction of Ram Temple. But the country-wide reaction against CAA took them by surprise. However, they are trying to make the best of the bad situation prevailing in the capital. Police action in both JNU and Jamia has been riled by public across the political spectrum. The protests continuing in Shaheen Bagh is not helping BJP’s image either. People are simply wondering about BJP’s non-action in talking to or taming the protesters. BJP is hoping that Shaheen Bagh may lead to some polarisation in their favour. That is why, true or false, motives and machinations of the vested interest are attributed to the protesters who are dubbed as anti-Law and thereby anti-national.

It is true that when a protest continues so long with the same vigour and intensity, people may doubt the capacity of common women at the vanguard of the protest to sustain on their own. But, Shaheen Bagh may cut both ways, it may help BJP as people seem upset with the protest, with no end in sight; at the same time, they may question central government’s inaction in clearing the protesters through dialogue or detention. At the end of the day, Saheen Bagh may deliver for BJP and they may get about 40 seats if there are undercurrents against the protests as some observers claim.

Delhi voters are cosmopolitan and rational in their outlook. They do not vote emotionally as was seen in the victories of Congress even after the horrendous riots in 1984. Like Noah Harari author of ‘Sapiens’ suggested, people are now divided in two types of outlook – national and global, by extension, national and local. So who dares Delhites, nationalists or localites?---INFA

(Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)



< Previous   Next >
  Mambo powered by Best-IT