New Delhi: As predicted by exit polls, trends have clearly shown that the Bharatiya Janata Party is set to win all the three bodies under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Even though Aam Aadmi party’s loss was on predicted, the numbers are humiliating for a party which had won 67 out of 70 seats in the 2015 Assembly polls. Here are 7 points explaining the MCD results:
1. BJP decided to start with a clean slate: The party was smart and agile in accepting that people were not very happy with its 10-year tenure in the MCD. BJP was able to sideline all the charges of inefficiency and corruption with this one masterstroke: No sitting councillor was given a ticket. This not only helped the party in beating anti-incumbency, but also brought in fresh faces, whom people were ready to give a chance. AAP and Congress, who had spent months planning campaign against old councillors, had to go back to the drawing board weeks before the polls.
2. BJP made it Modi Vs others battle: BJP knew the power of brand Narendra Modi. The party focused on the image and achievements of the Prime Minister, showing that AAP and Congress leaders were no match to him. To capture the anger against the AAP, the BJP projected the MCD polls as a referendum of PM Modi’s performance. This led to panic in the AAP camp. “I would like to tell people that Modiji is not going to run the MCD. MCD will only be run by Kejriwal,” Kejriwal said in one interview.
3. AAP hobnobbing with Punjab and Goa: After AAP candidate suffered a humiliating defeat in the recent Rajouri Garden bypoll, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that former Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh’s move to Punjab had angered the voters. It’s not just about one MLA. The entire party, particularly its face Arvind Kejriwal, was seen to desperate to venture out, forgetting his commitment to the voters of Delhi in 2015. Statements by some of the AAP leaders in Punjab, projecting Kejriwal as the CM candidate, further angered the voters in Delhi. This was seen as second betrayal by Kejriwal, who had abruptly resigned from the post of Delhi CM in 2014, just 49 days into the government.
4. AAP blaming Election Commission for defeat: Time and again, Kejriwal’s questioning of the Election Commission’s impartiality was seen as an insult to the institution which has earned people’s respect over the decades. AAP was also seen as a bitter loser, which was blaming the referee for its defeat. It also appeared as an arrogant party which was not ready to introspect on the reasons behind the rout in Punjab and Goa.
5. Negative campaigning by AAP: One of the reasons why Delhi gave a thumping majority to AAP in 2015 was because the party was seen as a victim, a David taking on a Goliath. But today voters are not ready to accept Kejriwal, who has been CM for about two years, as a victim. Things like Kejriwal telling the voters that more dengue cases will happen if the BJP won MCD did a hugely negative publicity for him. Even the gimmick of using distorted picture of BJP leader Vijender Gupta in campaign posters backfired.
6. Constant chaos in AAP government: Instead of focusing on some of its popular schemes like mohalla clinics, regulation of fee in private schools, cut in power and water bills etc, the Kejriwal government wasted a lot of its time in fighting the Centre and the lieutenant governor, leading to constant transfers and blame game. As a result, governance suffered and there was a constant sense of chaos.
7. Infighting in Congress: MCD polls were seen as a comeback opportunity for Congress. But many of the party’s veteran leaders didn’t accept Ajay Maken as their senior. The struggling party could surely have done without the public bickering. Top leaders like Sheila Dikshit, AK Walia and Haroon Yusuf stayed away from the campaign. Senior leaders like Arvinder Singh Lovely leaving the party after being ignored in the ticket distribution was like the death nail.