Kejriwal's Victory Might Change Future EquationsWill Arvind Kejriwal pull off a stunning victory in Delhi? The exit polls seem to indicate what the opinion polls were predicting and what the punters were betting on. But the number of seats indicated by the exit polls will surprise even AAP. An average shows that AAP may win as many as 41 seats, giving it a comfortable majority. While the victory will be sweet and perhaps change the electoral equations in India in coming years, it will also be a double edged sword for Kejriwal. At one level, it will let him work freely. But at another level, he will be left with no excuse to fall back upon (like the last time when Congress refused to back the Lokpal Bill and he resigned in 49 days). Then again, if winner takes all is true, then winner loses all is also true. Kejriwal has made so many populist announcements in his manifesto that it will be a huge battle for him to get even a few of them to work. Delhi simply does not have the revenue to match all his fancy schemes.
By Sunil Garodia
Having realized that AAP had little support outside of Delhi, Kejriwal concentrated all his energies in the capital after the Lok Sabha election rout. He very cleverly turned what was supposed to be his biggest drawback (the image of bahgoda, having resigned in 49 days) into his biggest strength by apologizing profusely for his mistake. What emerged from this was a general perception that the man had learnt from his mistake and desereved a second chance. The BJP on the other hand was smug in the knowledge that it had won all seven seats in Delhi in the general elections. While AAP began its voter contact programme just a month or so after the general elections, BJP took its challenge lightly and left it for too late. Hence, AAP covered a lot of ground in 7 months. Arun Jaitley had even lamented that AAP was all over the place in Delhi and wondered where they got so much money to carry out such a visible and high octane campaign. But its smugness and miscalculation is going to cost the BJP dearly.
Then, when it began admitting AAP turncoats, it soon started resembling a B-Team of AAP. The final nail was driven when Kiran Bedi was pulled out of the woodwork to be its chief ministerial candidate. With this one decision, the party managed to alienate both its workers and the general public. The party workers were not enthused to ask for votes in the name of a recently admitted Ã¢â¬ËoutsiderÃ¢â¬â¢ while the public began to doubt whether BJP had local leaders who could run an efficient and clean government. Plus, they began to think that PM ModiÃ¢â¬â¢s repeated stress on growth was not happening and prices were not being tamed. The BJP was also vague on other local issues where the AAP came out with measures which were highly populist in nature but lapped up by the people.
If AAP wins Delhi, it will be because it prepared well, began early, penetrated deeply and was not afraid to take on the Goliath. If BJP loses, it will be because of its overconfidence, its refusal to have faith in local leadership, its excessive reliance on Modi and because it ran a highly negative campaign which was focused on maligning Kejriwal and AAP. If the BJP manages to win this one, then there will be no doubt that the Modi factor is much bigger than what people think. But as of now it seems that the BJP will come out of this with egg on its face.