How Delhi votes? Freebies vs Nationalism or Governance vs Rhetoric - Delhi Elections 2020 was a 'khichdi', a true bouquet and cross section of dreams and aspirations of Delhiites. As national capital is inhabited by people from many parts of India and it makes Delhi works well like a well-oiled machinery. It has maintained its secular nature though it has seen some extreme times. On one hand Kejriwal's model of government where focus on education and healthcare which gave him leverage to make his campaign a positive and progressive one where governance became the driving force and on other hand rival BJP Party was trying to capture the crown all in sudden on nationalistic issues.
AAP leader & CM face Kejriwal in his 5 years rule somehow maintained a safe and serene distance from central issues including CAA & Shaheen Bagh. Specially attentions on turmoil of Shaheen Bagh the limelight Party didn’t make. He didn't even criticize PM Modi or made any of his signature 'dharnas' this time.
Kejriwal’s election machinery with the support from the very basic strata of society took Delhi by storm and this shown in Exit polls when shows 50 plus mark for AAP party. He somehow painted the town with his achievements and corruption free governance. He handled media not only well but to his very advantage by staying away from negativity and projecting himself as a modest and humble politician.
Delhi Election Result- 11 February (Counting Goin on) AAP- 56, BJP 14, Cong 00 at 11:25
The rise of the BJP is seen as the rise of the silent majority which was long neglected by the mainstream politics and narrative. People openly asserted their religious identity in the backdrop of the promise of 'Ache din'. Since 2013, the middle class and upper middle class have done away with the disillusionment of the secular dictates that failed to reach out to the existential crisis of the majority.
The void of nationalistic values left open by both Congress and the left was filled with the saffron and the cocktail of Hindutva and Nationalism gave the youth a long awaited boost. A wave in true sense swept the nation and we are riding or drifting nonetheless. The educated middle class was it's biggest boost along with the core rural and urban supporters.
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The BJP's campaign started late and that too on a wrong foot. Firstly, they didn't have a strong CM contender to begin with. Kejriwal took down the whole campaign built around Modi with a simple stroke- Will Modi be CM of Delhi? Secondly, the BJP could not encash it's popular beneficiary schemes that have benefited poor people across India as the percentage of such poor people in Delhi is low.
Thirdly and most importantly the whole build up of communal tension and making Shaheen Bagh the focus of its campaign was a compulsion as there was no other way to mobilize votes. Shaheen Bagh and its relevance is another story altogether but the question is how much is too much? The BJP made Shaheen Bagh the flash point by giving it undue attention. The communal pitch and the ugly slogan raising of the ‘Goli maaro’ hit the rock bottom that recent times have seen.
If it was a strategy it backfired and if BJP was entrapped in opposition's design then it should have seen better. Instead of reacting it should have responded.