With Capital political coverage behind us, it’s time to get real. Too much is being read into the election and the verdict. The AAP victory is Delhi specific...and partly a self-inflicted defeat. If BJP had called for elections last year, or even asked Harsh Vardhan to lead, the result could have been significantly different. We will see the answer very soon in Bihar. To repeat the AAP phenomenon anywhere else would be near impossible. Arvind Kejriwals (like Narendra Modis) are not easily duplicated; comparisons would forever be made. Opposition parties hoping for an AAP ‘link’ would be disappointed. While they now see AAP as fellow opposition, they should realise that it is actually in opposition to them also. Which opposition Party has a citizen manifesto, or even an Action Plan? Which of them will commit to a strong Lok Pal and Swaraj (rule)? Would Nitish Kumar change, with Laloo in tow? We have seen no change in Gurgaon, or Haryana. The answer will forever be blowing in the wind.
AAP will be under daily scrutiny in Delhi. For the sake of their political philosophy and fellow travellers, AAP needs to steadfastly stick to Delhi and deliver well for at least 2 years…before it even thinks of venturing out. Whether the Delhi election and AAP’s victory is historic, will only be known after that. Then, as rightly seen by AAP itself, its best next bet would be Punjab (2017)…from among the States where BJP is in power and the Congress is the main opposition. However, if AAP fails this time, it’s goodbye to all AAPs for quite some time. The ‘performance’ of the Kejriwal-led AAP Delhi govt. (on some key deliverables of its 70-point Action Plan) will either change State politics forever, or forever reinforce the status quo.
The media also needs to be able to differentiate between and State and Centre, in its coverage and assessment. A daily yardstick is hardly how we should measure the Centre’s plans and performance. Come 2017 we may all be surprised to observe the width and depth of the Modi government’s impact, across multiple sectors and segments - many hitherto untouched. Swachh India, Beti Education, Skilled India, Digital India, Make in India, Maritime India, as well as Defence, Ganga, Border States and Foreign Relations look likely to leave some indelible marks. But we’re as usual busy watching and commenting on the trees and the empty patches of the forest.
It’s time for BJP and its cadre and supporters to humbly – or at least with good grace - accept defeat, rather than trying to look for ‘excuses’. The most ‘acceptable’ to them – trending on Facebook – seems to be a January 19 article by Bobby Naqvi, Editor of XPRESS (a sister paper of Gulf News), in Gulf News. It has this to say:
Why BJP may want to lose Delhi
There are enough signs to indicate what you see in Delhi may not be true at all. There is something going on behind closed doors and is not known outside a tiny group in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)… But what will BJP gain from losing Delhi? A lot actually…More importantly, Kejriwal’s victory will divert attention of the people who are getting restless from Modi’s inability to deliver on his election promises…Kejriwal will have no honeymoon period, both media and voters will demand immediate results, at least on corruption, power tariffs, VAT (value added tax), health hotline and WiFi…The media spotlight on Kejriwal government will allow Jaitley to quietly to push through unpopular reforms – disinvestment of PSUs (public sector undertakings), budget cuts in health, education – in his attempt to cut budget deficit….away from media spotlight, the right-wing Sangh Parivar machinery can then unleash its foot soldiers to polarise voters with low-intensity disturbances ahead of the two big battles – Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar…BJP’s top brass is aware that even if the party wins Delhi, the state will remain a headache – partly due to intra-party bickerings and partly because of impatient voters who expect immediate results and good governance, something the BJP is unsure of delivering. BJP has controlled the city-state’s civic bodies for years but has failed miserably. Losing Delhi won’t be such a bad idea!
FG Note: That BJP seems incapable (deliberately or otherwise) of delivering immediate results, we have now seen. But is it unsure/incapable of delivering even good governance? And are we to believe that Amit Shah had planned his son’s wedding to time (to the day) the fall of the BJP in Delhi?!