After stunning victory of BJP inDelhiin Parliamentary Election in May, 2014 where it won all the 7 seats, BJP got decimated in Delhi Assembly Election to just 3 out of 70 seats just in a short time span of eight months. What really went wrong against BJP and in favour of APP in Jan, 2015 Delhi Election that it gave an unexpected result?
The broad analysis shows that BJP lost only its 0.87% votes compared to previous Delhi Assembly Election in 2013. However, 14.85% votes of Congress and 9.5% votes of Independent and other parties shifted towards AAP giving it unprecedented massive victory. Hard core followers of political parties always adhere to party lines, but loosely connected followers or neutral voter change their stand on dynamic perception of party, its top leadership, its changing vision and agenda. What a common man without any affiliation or leaning to a particular political party would have thought of about deciding to vote for or against BJP.
After fractured mandate of Delhi Assembly Election in 2013, AAP formed the government and after ruling for 49 days AAP government resigned from power stating the reason of not having full mandate to pass key legislations. APP was labelled as absconder political party. BJP inordinately delayed the elections for no plausible reason. This gave two impressions to voters; one, BJP wants to have a proxy rule through President’s rule, other, BJP wants to punish the people of Delhi for not giving BJP a clear mandate by not providing an elected government to people of Delhi who were desperate to have a new government after replacing Congress government. People felt that they are being made to realize that if they do not give clear mandate to BJP, an absconder party like APP will come in power, and they will meet this fate. In this perception of voters, AAP got sympathy of voters, and more so when Arvind Kejriwal humbly accepted his mistake in public.
In the last moment before election, some of the break away members of AAP joined BJP with lot of fun and fare and media attention that reflected a perception among voters that BJP is devoid of credible members in its party at Delhi. Had this incident of AAP members joining BJP been a low key affair, it would have given a different meaning and perception that BJP is a better party than APP. This perception that BJP is devoid of credible leaders was further heightened when Kiran Bedi was declared CM candidate at last moment of Election. This undermined the power and strength of BJP as well as Modi. People ofDelhiknew very well Kiran Bedi as a police officer and it signified that entire Delhi BJP is devoid of competent leaders. It not only demoralized old veteran leaders of Delhi BJP but also the supporters of BJP. In this background, BJP got decimated in public perception before election.
BJP led by Modi got a massive mandate in 2014 parliamentary election on development issues, good governance, anti-corruption, and development for all. And there is no doubt that Modi government is making an all out efforts to achieve the same. But, in the meanwhile RSS, VHP, Bajarang Dal etc and some the members of BJP started Ghar Vapasi programme, voicing against love jihad, defining Hinduism as every one inIndia is Hindu irrespective of one’s professed religion. Even communal statements by some of the BJP leaders were issued. This was further aggravated by attack on churches. Despite the good work done by BJP at centre, media drew more attention to these incidents rather than good work done by PM Modi. This gave perception among majority that BJP has deviated from its main agenda of good governance and development, and among minority it gave perception that BJP is fulfilling its hidden agenda of Hindutva. This communal perception among minorities was further strengthened when Obama during his public speech on 27th January at Siri Fort raised the issue of religious intolerance inIndia which went against Modi and BJP. So, voter by and large started feeling cheated by BJP. Some of the loosely linked voters of other parties and minority voters en block shifted to AAP.
The scathing attack on Arvind Kejriwal as absconder, naxalite, mere protester and not inviting him on Republic Day parade projected BJP as arrogant and voters sympathised with Arvind Kejriwal. This perception was further fuelled by false media campaign against Modi’s suit where his name was woven as stripe to be a very expensive gift received by Modi contrary to his image. This gave a perception among voters that BJP is behaving arrogantly, and they wanted to teach a lesson to BJP.
There was discernible apathy of Congress in 2015 Delhi Assembly Election. Many of its prominent leaders did not contest the election. Their election campaign was also lack lustre. This made votes of Congress Party eroded en block, and this eroded votes shifted to AAP increasing the margin of victory in favour of AAP.
AAP had strategic depth in election campaign. AAP has its deep roots in low and lower middle class income group who has sizable population inDelhi. Most of the followers and sympathizers of AAP have been its campaigners also that increased the effectiveness of its election campaign.
Modi government has tightened the bureaucracy inDelhias a measure of good governance, which most of the government officials did not like. This made some of the government employees who were the old followers of BJP and Modi to switch over to AAP.
Moreover, voters are impatient and want quick result in the governance as per their aspirations which are not possible in short span of 8 months if somebody is working on improving fundamentals of economy and governance and not simply disbursing subsidies to appease a section of voters. Though Modi government has done a lot of outstanding work in that direction, but its result will be visible only after 2 to 3 three years in many of the cases. Perhaps BJP was not able to convey the message of its good work done to voters in low and lower medium income group.
All these points collectively worked against BJP that resulted in massive loss to BJP in securing seats. Now it will be an uphill task for BJP to make a new strategy to convince voters in forthcoming elections in Bihar,West Bengaland U P to vote in their favour.
Press including electronic media is fourth pillar of democracy. It basically represents the voice of people in democracy and strengthen the democracy. Though there may be some black sheep in media who are involved in business of paid news or some kind on lobbying for political parties or some big business houses in consideration of rent, but time is testimony to the role of media in establishing and strengthening democracy since pre-independence freedom movement to emergency rule and onwards to date.
Social activist turned politician, Aam Adami Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the media is "sold" and "heavy amounts" have been paid to promote BJP's PM nominee Narendra Modi. Accusing the "whole" media of being "sold out", Kejriwal has threatened to send media people to jail after an inquiry into the issue if AAP comes to power. This shows the dictatorial attitude of AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal and his disrespect for fourth arm of democracy. If media is not in his favour he will put them behind the bars. If he comes to power and executives and judiciary do not listen to him, he may think of putting them also in jail or at least dismissing them. It clearly indicates Arvind Kejriwal does not believe in democracy, he believes in Authoritarian government. He has shown his utter failure as Chief Minister ofDelhifor 49 days. His main crusade as social activist started against corruption. But he could not do anything during his 49 days rule to eradicate corruption. Rather he took only populist measure to reduce the electricity tariff unfounded on any economic principle, like many other parties have been doing in past and ruining the entire electricity industry. Interestingly, instead of reposing his confidence in constitution, he is reposing his confidence in Taliban style Khaap Panchayat.
One political leader of BJP Prakash Javadekar has rightly termed him as Maoist in urban outfit. Will the people ofIndiawill accept and elect him as their leader and tolerate governance by such a person? And if so happens, a very heavy price will be paid by people of this country.
India witnessed at the fag end of 2013 an innovative alternative to normal politics, when a group of social activists fighting against corruption came into active politics when challenges were thrown at them to fight election and deliver the desired result. These social activists under leadership of Arvind Kejriwal accepted the challenge and formed Aam Adami Party (AAP), meaning a party of common people; and fought the elections and secured second highest number of seats though it was less than the required for simple majority. Since single largest party BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) could not form government, AAP formed government with support of Congress Party and APP government led by Kejariwal was inaugurated on 28th December, 2013.
AAP manifesto for Delhi Assembly election for 2013 has made a lot of rosy promises. Out of these promises made, some of them are easy to fulfil, few are very difficult to achieve beside others. Fulfilling these promises requires a clear vision, appropriate policies, and strong institutions to implement the policies and programmes to address these problems. Some of issues which has been raised in Delhi election manifesto of 2013 has been analysed below.
There is nothing more in Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by AAP, once Lokpal Bill and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 has been passed. Only Lokayukta is to be constituted in state. Any severe penal provision against public servant will discourage them to take any initiative. It is not understood how AAP will pass Delhi Jan Lokpal bill within 15 days as there are many statutory time taking provisions that must be followed before introducing a bill before its passage. For example draft bills need to be published in print or electronic media comments of people and other stakeholders.
The concept of Swaraj as conceived by AAP is very good that envisage to involve the citizens in decision making relating to governance, but it may be applicable at local level i.e. at mohalla (colony) level and for few issues only such as schools, hospitals etc. Major macro level decision making encompassing larger geographical area and complex techno-commercial issues can be taken only after thorough analysis and appraisal by expert group.
Reduction of electricity bill to the tune 50 % through audit of discoms ( distribution companies), checking of meters for over reading, rectification of inflated bills has been envisaged. But, whether that much potential of reduction is there through above mentioned means. If AAP is not able to meet this target through above means, then would AAP go to make the reduction of electricity bill through state subsidy. And if the same happens so, it would be a disastrous financial health of state and setting a wrong trends for other states. As far as use of renewable energy is concerned, the policy to promote solar energy and other renewable are already in place by central government, but, its price is still very high compared to grid power and that is a big barrier for expansion of its use in a decade or so.
Water is one of the most essential requirements in residential sector for survival of human being, apart from its requirement for commercial and industrial use in case ofDelhi. As nearly 50 lakhs people inDelhido not have access to piped water, it would be a Herculean task for AAP government to provide 700 litres of water free to all house holds including unauthorised slums. The biggest task for AAP government in such a short time would be to ensure adequate amount of water and creation of infrastructure to distribute them especially in those areas and slums where no piped water supply infrastructure is available. Initially, as indicated by AAP government from free water supply of 700 litres, only those people will be benefited who are having piped water connection, and most of these people are well to do and have the paying capacities also to bear the water charges. Those who are really needy i.e. slum dwellers and other unauthorised will not get this benefit in short to medium terms. Proposal to improve availability to water supply through rain water harvesting, recycling and conservation of water, reviving of local water bodies are feasible in long run of three to five years or above, if these plans are implemented on war footing basis immediately.
Sanitation and waste management proposed by AAP may work in a medium to long term by providing decentralized sewage treatment plant with active participation of people.
On women’s security vision of AAP is not clear as to how it will ensure the safety and security of women.
There is no vision on providing universal access to quality education. Merely regulating high fees and donations in private schools may bring down the quality of education in even in private schools due to lack of resources as envisaged by AAP.
Vision of AAP for health may work in medium to long term, if immediately primary health centre in each locality especially in marginalised areas are opened and it is properly equipped and staffed.
Though there is no clear vision on development of villages of Delhi, unauthorised colonies and slums, but some improvements can be attempted and made in water supply, electricity, heath care facilities, schools and sewage facility in these area in long term only.
There is no vision on how inflation, unemployment and other economic issues relating toDelhi will be addressed.
Vision of APP on transport may work in medium to long term by expanding the metro, feeder buses and public road transport.
Vision of AAP on environment may work in medium to long term.
There is no clear vision on social justice. However, Punjabi and Urdu language can be can be easily promoted as envisaged by AAP.
AAP government has made very rosy promises to citizen of Delhi through its election manifesto. It is very easy to dream, but it will be very difficult to realise the dream as many impediments and barriers in the form of court cases for land acquisition and approval from other central government agencies will come in its way while implementing the developmental projects. However, there is silver lining also that Delhig overnment is financially sound and is having sufficient fund to implement the developmental projects. It is really to be seen that how AAP government in Delhi led by Kejriwal would be able to fulfil poll promises effectively in the shortest possible time.
Recently, state assembly elections were held in last week of November and first week of December, 2013 in five States of India and result came out on 8th and 9th December, 2013. The five states where elections were held were Madhya Pradesh (M P), Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram. These elections were also termed by many political pundits as a semi final of Lok Sabha ( Lower House of Parliament) Elections to be held in first half of 2014 sometimes in May. Out of these five State Assembly Elections, BJP ( Bhartiya Janata Party) won elections in Rajsthan and M P with thumping majority, while in Chhattisgarh, it won with simple majority and in Delhi it won maximum number of seats but failed to secure a simple majority due to shortage of 5 seats. Indian National congress (Congress) presently ruling at centre could save its face by winning the election only in state of Mizoram.
Are the results of these elections reflects the likely outcome of 2014 parliamentary elections, and if it is so then how it is going to affect two major national parties i.e. Congress and BJP? As very little time is left for incumbent central government led by Congress to change its image of a corrupt, non performing government on account of slow economic development, poor law and order situation, inapt handling of international affairs and failure in handling inflation, current account deficit etc through actions and descernible result is very bleak. Therefore, these results will be reflected in 2014 Lok Sabha elections also that goes in favour of BJP. Retaining two of the states i.e. Mahya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by BJP even after considering the anti incumbancy factor reflects the confidence reposed by public specially in M P and Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan was taken over by BJP from Congress that shows people in Rajasthan have lost the confidence in Congress and are in favour og BJP. Delhi is an interesting case now. Though, here BJP is single largest party , but it could not secure adequate seat to form even simple majority government. Here a new political force from social activism emerged in form of Aam Adami Party (AAP) that became an alternative to BJP in Delhi. Though Shiela Dixit government led Cogress did well in Delhi in last fifteen years, but she had to take the wrath of mideeds of central government. It appears that people are more dissatisfied with the performance of Congress led government at centre. The case of Mizoram is entirely different as elections in Mizoram is highly influenced by Churches and NGOs.
Therefore, it is clearly evident that result of this election is reflection of poor performance of Cogress government at centre and people are searching alternatives in BJP led by Modi or any other new force such as AAP who could fulfil aspirations of people. But as AAP is concentrated in and around Delhi, the out come of Lok Shabha elections are likely to shift in favour of BJP, if AAP does not appear on national scenario in big way till Lok Sabha elections in 2014 .