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Who among state polls winners – AAP or BJP – will win MCD

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By Sidharth Mishra

Though Delhi did not go for assembly polls, it, however, cannot remain unaffected by the results in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa. The ruling party of Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has registered victory in Punjab with a thumping majority and is all set to form the government.

AAP’s presence in Punjab has been there since the party’s inception in 2013, as it had surprised many by winning couple of Lok Sabha seats in 2014. During the 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls its performance confirmed that 2014 results were not a flash in the pan. It ended up second pushing the Akali Dal to the third position.

However, the point to be noted that is that despite much media hype, and declaration of the Chief Ministerial candidate much in advance, the party failed to open its account in Uttarakhand and did not rise to the expectations in Goa either. This is surprising as these two states were expected to have better degree of acceptance for AAP’s small state governance model than Punjab.

It was never expected to do much in Uttar Pradesh and expectedly did not open its account in the state. The point to be noted is that in both Delhi and in Punjab, it has replaced Congress as the ruling party and is still to usurp a BJP-ruled state.

Both the BJP and the AAP would now be lodged in a direct contest in Delhi in the delayed municipal corporation polls. The two parties have faced each other in the national Capital on six occasions till now – two Lok Sabha polls (2014, 2019), three assembly polls (2013, 2015, and 2020) and one corporation (2017) election. BJP has got better of AAP on four occasion and faced humiliating defeats in the assembly polls of 2015 and 2020.

The next municipal polls in Delhi could be for a unified body unlike 2012 and 2017 polls, when it was held for the three different corporations. As and when held, these polls would be a direct fight between the BJP and AAP. The chances of the Congress turning it into a triangular fight now looks remote.

One contrast which emerges clearly from the results of the just concluded assembly polls and that of the poll results in Delhi is that the BJP while does uniformly good or bad at all levels of polls – Lok Sabha, assembly and local bodies, in other states, its different story in the case of Delhi.

The question which arises now is why Delhi is different. It could largely be blamed on the inadequacy of the local leadership to counter the rival. In all the states where the BJP has won this time, there was a dependable local face and in UP, the image of chief minister Yogi Adityanath gave it the added lustre.

In Delhi, BJP has woefully failed to develop a strong state-level leadership to counter Arvind Kejriwal’s energetic campaigns. It was a wrong call to replace Satish Upadhyay as state president with Manoj Tiwari in the quest of Bihari votes. Things have been made poorer by replacing Tiwari with a lackluster Adesh Gupta in the quest of the Vaishya vote. Why would Vaishyas prefer an Adesh Gupta over an Arvind Kejriwal?

Situation has turned worse with the weakening of the organization. Some of the best talents of Delhi BJP have been organizing poll campaigns for the party in the other states but given no role to play in their home state. Time to give them a chance on their home turf too.

(First Published in The Morning Standard) 

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