Reacting in panic on almost every development that began with the campaign launch rally of January 10 . The ‘Abhinandan Rally’ was marketed in the name of Narendra Modi with big media push but turned out a letdown. The expected range of crowd, in the range of one lakh, was a morale busting 30,000-40,000. Since then, BJP has been changing its strategy regularly and the local leadership has been virtually disengaged from campaigning.
Not setting its Delhi house in order even if there was enough time, a year, between Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation in February 2014 and assembly polls in February 2015. Delhi BJP was a divided house with factions furthering their agenda. This factionalism was evident when none of the MPs took active interest in mobilizing public for the Abhinandan Rally. Delhi BJP remains a divided house even when the polls are just four days away.
Para-dropping Kiran Bedi to address these concerns, looking at her as someone a panacea for all BJP woes in Delhi. And before doing that, senior BJP leaders were not taken into confidence.
Considering Kiran Bedi a masterstroke when there were equal chances that the decision could backfire also. Kiran Bedi, before it, was never tested politically, and did not have the privilege of an absolutely clean figure. She had her fair share of controversies like allegations of inflated airfare bills, controversy on her daughter’s admission in a medical college, her U-turn on not joining politics, her U-turn on Narendra Modi and controversies related to her career as an IPS officer including the spat with lawyers in Delhi that make her an un-middle class personality as well.
BJP miscalculated on Kiran Bedi’s appeal thinking it could be linked to Narendra Modi’s mass appeal and could well be used as an alternative, local face for BJP.
BJP miscalculated that it could take on an activist-turned politician with another activist-turned politician hoping their days when they worked together would give the party strategists insight into countering Kejriwal’s campaign more effectively – pinning Kejriwal in his own way.
BJP’s para-dropping of Kiran Bedi just 22 days before the polls in front of an established player who was enjoying consistently higher popularity ratings with virtually no opposition on the scale. Kiran Bedi did not have the time even to re-compose herself, let alone the basic essentials like reading the politics of Delhi in the context of an AAP Vs BJP contest, speaking the political language and thus making moves accordingly. Instead, she kept on speaking like a police officer, narrowed down by her administrative experience and remaining confined to that when the need was to widen politically, when the canvas was not the certain defined realms of a professional obligation but an undefined, political landscape open to the dynamic changes as the campaigning progressed. That could have worked for an activist but certainly not for a politician.
BJP’s central leadership hijacked the campaign totally, dispelling the local leadership. Now, these bombarded ministers, MPs and workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (to target the voters with Eastern UP and Bihar roots) and leaders from other states are strangers for the local voters. And when the local line of connect, the field worker in the assembly constituencies, starts acting disenchanted, the exercise becomes counterproductive wiping out in the process any advantage that it could have accrued. And we have good enough number of reports talking about the disconnect of the dissatisfied field workers of BJP. Clearly, they are adding to the negativity on BJP’s chances adding thus to the prospects of AAP and Arvind Kejriwal as evident by the two pre-poll projections today that gave (ABP-Nielsen and HT-C Voter) AAP clear majority averaging around 40 seats.
BJP resorted to a negative campaign. It had fought the Lok Sabha election on development plank with a campaign that was largely positive. The ad with Anna Hazare’s photo or the ad with ‘upadravi gotra’ were unnecessary given the fact that there is no anti-incumbency against AAP’s government. Like Narendra Modi was central target of the opponents in the Lok Sabha polls that helped him ultimately, increasing his visibility when others failed to declare a credible name against him. But the party failed to realize it here and did the same thing with Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is the target of his political opponents and he is the only credible CM face so far with Kiran Bedi’s dull show so far and there are no days left for Kiran Bedi to spring a surprise.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–/