September    2020

Key takeaways from Delhi elections

Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has once again swept the polls winning 62 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 8 seats while the Congress failed to open its account for second time in a row in Delhi. The Delhi election results have once again confirmed that people make a clear distinction between state and national elections. In the general elections BJP won all the seven Lok Sabha seats while AAP was a distant third. People give more prominence to local issues than national ones, hence, different results.

The development work carried out by Kejriwal and his team in education, health, transport, water, electricity and numerous other infrastructure developments seems to have struck a chord with the voters. While BJP went on an overdrive with Shaheen Bagh and CAA protests, AAP distanced itself from these controversial issues and focused fully on the work it carried out during the last five years. Furthermore, BJP didn’t name a chief ministerial candidate and relied heavily on national issues and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity which didn’t pay off. It became more of a one man contest.

The elections further reveal the perennial decline of Congress which now is a shadow of its former self. A party which ruled Delhi for 15 consecutive years and was a dominant force in national as well as regional politics is on the road to nowhere. It is time for Sonia Gandhi and think tanks to have a relook at their strategies. An election loss in Delhi will have a rippling effect in Bihar as well and for BJP it is an uphill task to gain power in the state. With BJP struggling to retain power in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi, Bihar may prove to be far tougher although they plan to fight the elections jointly with Nitish Kumar’s JDU.

The country’s political landscape is fast changing over the last two years with BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) losing out in 6 states. The saffron footprint which in March 2018 covered over 75 per cent of India’s political landscape has been reduced to less than 35 per cent. Currently, the party is in power in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and North East states while all other areas have non-BJP governments. The party is in power in the centre for another four years but things could change rapidly if they don’t stem the tide. The alarm bells are ringing louder for J.P. Nadda and the time is apt for the party to relook, re-strategize and emerge stronger failing which it could go the Congress way and end up on the scrapheap.

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