How BJP Swept MCD Polls Two Years After Delhi Rout
The BJP slogan, too, aimed to disaasociate from its less-than-satisfactory performance in the MCD —‘Nayi urja, naye chehre, nayi udaan.
Image for representation.
New Delhi: In 2015, just a year after Narendra Modi swept to power at the Centre with a massive majority, the BJP suffered a shock defeat in the national capital. With Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Assembly, the BJP was reduced to just three. Once a political force to be reckoned with in the national capital, the BJP was seen as fighting for its very survival. Delhi was described as a ‘white spot in a sea of saffron’. Just over two years after the Assembly polls, the BJP turned its loss around and came back to power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the third consecutive time.
No tickets to sitting councillors
A month before the MCD elections, BJP’s Delhi state president and North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari shocked observers by announcing that the BJP would not give tickets to any of its 138 sitting councillors. Sources say BJP president Amit Shah threw his weight behind this high-risk gamble.
Both Aam Aadmi Party and Congress jumped at the opportunity to claim this was an “admission of inefficiency and corruption” in the MCD by the BJP. Tiwari, in an interview with News 18 before the polls had said, “These people (sitting councilors) have been working with us and for the people of Delhi for 10 years. They have done a good job. This year, we have taken a decision. There is a new rule that we wanted to bring out fresh faces. Many of those councilors have been given important positions in the party organisation.
He added, “It won’t lead to infighting. These are people who believe in the values of the BJP and the party has shown faith in them. If it hadn’t, they wouldn’t have gotten important posts in the party organisation. They will now stand with the new faces and guide them. BJP leaders don’t haggle for power. Our aim is to work for Delhi and win power in both MCD and government.”
The BJP slogan, too, aimed to disaasociate from its less-than-satisfactory performance in the MCD —‘Nayi urja, naye chehre, nayi udaan. Dilli maange kamal nishaan’ (New energy, new faces, new flight; Delhi wants the lotus symbol). In the end, the gamble seems to have paid off for the BJP as the new faces helped it beat the anti-incumbency wave.
Banking on ‘Brand Modi’
After decisive mandates in UP and Uttarakhand, the momentum was with the BJP going in to the MCD polls. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not campaign for the MCD polls at all, it was his face that was plastered on BJP posters all around the city. Senior members of the Modi Cabinet, including Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti and Smriti Irani, came to the city to campaign and spoke of the PM’s “dynamic leadership”.
As an example of Modi’s achievements, senior leaders even spoke of the surgical strikes conducted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir last year, leading many to wonder what relevance these issues had in a civic poll. The BJP’s campaign even led CM Kejriwal to say that “Modi will not run the MCD.” However, the BJP’s sweep in the polls is being seen as another feather in the cap of ‘Brand Modi’
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