What to make of the Delhi Elections

There have been numerous pieces giving reasons why BJP lost and why AAP won and why the margin was what it was. Any or all of the reasons could be true, but there are some observations one can make from this election which will have ramifications all over:

1. BJP can be defeated, if the opposition is united

In Delhi, although AAP and Congress were never together, the voters of Congress had decisively shifted to AAP. This is evident from the vote share. While BJP has almost maintained its 2013 vote share, Congress and Others have lost almost 20% and all that has gone to the AAP. This is most relevant for upcoming elections of UP and Bihar. Lalu, Nitish, Mulayam have formed an alliance. If they are able to pool all their votes, they may give BJP a real run for its money even in Bihar, where unlike UP, BJP has some ground level organization. Add the Congress votes to this formation and it will become massive

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2. AAP beat the media, but because it was only Delhi

Yes off late the Media had become vocal about AAP, but nobody can deny that there was a near black out of AAP for a long time. Events like Delhi Dialogue got hardly any coverage. Many AAP press conferences were not telecast. AAP got over all this only because they were fighting in a small place like Delhi. They didn’t need the media much because the physically reached to most parts of Delhi with their campaign. This is not scalable though, because in larger states, a party cannot imagine doing this kind of door-to-door campaigns.

3. People vote for what they feel is good for them

A lot of people feel Delhi voted for AAP because of freebies. That Delhi-ites were not thinking about the greater good of the state. Thats exactly how all people vote. Even in the Lok Sabha Elections, people gave a mandate to Modi not because India’s GDP will grow at x % or Fiscal Deficit will go to y %, it was because he promised them development, jobs, “vikas”, which each voter wants for himself. Kejriwal and AAP also pitched the same, they gave what the voter wanted, cheap electricity, free water, free wifi. This is also development.

4. People have begun voting decisively

This cannot be a coincidence. From the Lok Sabha elections, almost all elections one party has got a huge chunk of the seats, if not the majority. Even in Maharashtra, BJP fell just short of the half way mark, but was the first party to cross 100 seats for almost 4 elections. In Jammu and Kashmir case, both Jammu and Kashmir need to seen separately since the demographics are quite different. The BJP managed to get the majority of seats in Jammu while PDP got the lion’s share in Kashmir, again reflecting how each region wanted 1 party to win. In Delhi also the pattern followed, Congress traditional vote bank split from it and backed AAP to the hilt, because they knew Congress would only be a vote-cutter.

5. Modi cannot rescue a sinking ship.

Lets face it, the BJP Delhi unit is probably one of the most abysmal units in the country. Even in the 2013 elections, Dr Harshvardhan was a sort of compromise CM candidate. And this time BJP imported Bedi at the very last minute, causing unrest in the organization. To worsen this, BJP was not contesting against Congress, but a regional force like AAP, which had single mindedly focussed on Delhi for a months now. To counter this BJP should have put up a face after taking all state leaders into confidence, and then added on the Modi wave.


co-founder, OpIndia.com

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