Arvind Kejriwal or Narendra Modi? A re-poll in Delhi could witness a whole new game
Narendra Modi has converted wins into big wins, and big wins into landslides, a preliminary analysis of Semifinals 2013 reveals. In Delhi, however, it’s AAP that has changed the game. The Delhi polls were the most unique we have ever seen in the last 20 years. A party formed less than a year ago gave the two big players a run for their money. It has been an amazing rise for the Aam Aadmi Party. But it is primarily because of the internal crisis of BJP. Had the BJP come up with Dr Harsh Vardhan’s name as the chief ministerial candidate five to six months ago, things would have been different for AAP. But all said and done, credit goes to AAP for having made a mark. Had Vardhan not been in the fray, AAP may have got as many as 50 seats.
Now if there is another election, it is possible that the contest will be bipolar, between BJP and AAP. The talk is that if that happens, the gap between BJP and AAP will widen and the Congress may be wiped out again. But then, it is too early to write off the Congress. There have been instances in the past where they have risen like a Phoenix. Their share of votes is hardly three to four per cent less than AAP. But there are plenty of Congress MLAs, good MLAs, who have lost by really slim margins.
The most incredible contest however was between Sheila Dikshit and Kejriwal. New Delhi constituency has a mix of lower strata and bureaucrat votes. Bureaucrats, however, seemed to have ditched her this time. She had been carrying on with their support for last 15 years. Her late husband was an IAS officer too.
If the Assembly elections in Delhi happen again along with the Lok Sabha polls, it will be interesting to see people voting for Arvind Kejriwal for chief minister and Narendra Modi for prime minister. AAP this time got anti-Congress votes which may go to BJP in the re-poll. In about 21 of the 28 seats with AAP, the BJP candidates are runner-ups. Though nobody can rule out AAP denting the traditional parties further, it will be a long shot for the party if the assembly and Lok Sabha polls happen at the same time.
At that time, Delhi will just be one of the 28 states going to polls. AAP will be forced to criticise Modi which it has beautifully avoided so far as it knows that many of its voters are also Modi’s fans. It will then be a big risk if Kejriwal speaks out against Modi. Meanwhile, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the question was not if BJP would come in power. It was, in fact, how big the majority would be. In both states, the gap between simple and overwhelming majority was brought about by the leadership of Narendra Modi.
People often wonder what has been Modi’s contribution to these polls. It’s the widening margin. In Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje was defeated last time because of the infighting in BJP and the RSS working against her. But this time, BJP and RSS were with her and Modi campaigned for her which made all the difference. One state where the writing on the wall was crystal clear was Rajasthan. Rebels and splinter groups matter only when the fight is close. But the gap between BJP and Congress there was too huge.
In Madhya Pradesh, it was the high popularity of the chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, which got votes for BJP. Jyotiraditya Scindia couldn’t do much for Congress there but he can’t be blamed either. He put up a brave fight but he did not have much time to make a difference as he was projected as a candidate only in September. Too much was expected of him. He was expected to overcome the infighting in Congress. He was expected to overcome the popularity of the CM. The only thing that worked against BJP in MP was its unpopular MLAs. However, Chouhan’s popularity negated all of that. MP is indeed a key state for BJP.
Similarly, the popularity of the CM in Chhattisgarh helped BJP garner all votes there too. There was a sympathy wave for Congress after the Naxalite attack on Congress leaders in Bastar but Raman Singh extremely popular there too. In absence of Ajit Jogi, even his wife Renu and son Amit Jogi could not make a mark. Again, to a big extent, it was Modi who tilted things in favour of BJP in Chhattisgarh.