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Delhi BJP’s downslide continues unabated

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By Sidharth Mishra

A rudderless Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must be a sore thumb in the schemes of the saffron outfit. The defeat of a Punjabi candidate from BJP from a Punjabi-dominated Rajender Nagar assembly constituency at the hands of a Purvanchali candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) clearly points towards the unenvious state of the former.

The central leadership is now making an attempt to revive the fortunes of the party in the national Capital using the multiple governance model and entering into the daily chores of governing Delhi. Ever since a corporate honcho Vinai Kumar Saxena took charge as the Lieutenant Governor, the Centre-controlled agencies be it the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) or the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), have been on the toll.

The initiatives of the Centre to wrest advantage from the Arvind Kejriwal-led state government has been necessitated largely because Delhi BJP has not been able to measure up to the challenges posed by the AAP especially through competitive optics and political diatribe. Ever since the exit of Satish Upadhyay as the President of Delhi BJP, the local unit has been, be it under Manoj Tiwari or now Adesh Gupta, found to be totally clueless of the political agenda and programmes it should pursue.

This is particularly amazing as post-2014, BJP’s has been a growth story across the country excepting Delhi, where it has refused to recuperate from the body blows given by the Kejriwal government. This is largely attributable to the fact that the present state leadership of Delhi and one preceding it lacked comprehension of Delhi’s political narrative and Kejriwal’s political armoury.

This is unfortunate as Delhi was one of the first states where Jan Sangh, BJP’s predecessor, formed a government way back in 1967 with Vijay Kumar Malhotra as the chief executive councilor. Today when the party has even managed to make inroads even into the North-Eastern states, its old fortress of Delhi stands in a dilapidated state.

The results of 2020 Delhi Vidhan Sabha polls had given a rap on the knuckles of Amit Shah, who had put his heart and soul in the elections. The absence of a workable party machinery under then president Manoj Tiwari proved to be BJP’s undoing. Shah tried to overcome it with a blitzkrieg, which was undid by the Vaishya voters shifting base to the AAP. BJP could have countered this with the migrant voters but Tiwari was unable to make any real time inroads among the politically conscious and ambitious Poorvanchali/Bihari electorate.

In making Adesh Gupta Delhi unit president the BJP made an attempt to wean back the Vaishya voters, who, however, for now are solidly with Kejriwal. Between the chief minister and Delhi BJP president, majority of Vaishya voters would go with a charismatic Kejriwal than a lusterless Adesh Gupta.

The chances of Adesh Kumar Gupta being a rival to Kejriwal was undoable right from the beginning. Gupta’s benefactors had said that he would overcome lack of charisma by experience in the organisation and being from a traditionally BJP-supporting community. Things have been made worse with Congress increasingly becoming extinct and not cutting into AAP’s vote share. 

Under an inexperienced and non-dynamic Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar, the party’s percentage in the Rajender Nagar bypolls come down to 2 percent making BJP’s job more challenging. The saffron party has a pool of talentrd leaders who have come out from the student politics of Delhi University Students Union. Holding progression of these student leaders into mainstream city politics is baffling to say the least specially after repeated routs in different polls.  

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) 


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