Delhi polls: It's advantage BJP

Sudhanshu MittalIf we carefully observe the Assembly and Lok Sabha poll results since 2012 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, there has been a paradigm shift in the way Indian voters have been voting. “Hope and aspiration” are the guiding factors for the electorate. One of the reasons it has fuelled the rise of aspirational voter as the "deciding factor" in hard-fought electoral battles is our demographic composition, where the youth comprise a significant part of the population and first-time voters have been playing an important role in BJP’s spate of poll victories.

Young and middle aged voters are flag bearers of the hope and aspiration factor on which BJP is capitalising. Nothing signifies it more than the 2014 Lok Sabha poll results where "hope and aspiration" agenda overrode the traditional agenda of “communalism versus secularism” that was always propped up by the BJP’s rivals. They committed a mistake by doing the same thing without realising that the rules of the game have changed.

The "hope and aspiration" agenda of the BJP is importantly identified with Narendra Modi who has a proven track record as a chief minister and is now setting up new milestones as prime minister. Modi has both style and substance that connects him and the BJP with voters.

We have seen the impact of this hope and aspiration in the Lok Sabha polls 2014 in Delhi where the party doubled its lead over its rivals. The BJP led in 60 Assembly seats in May 2014 compared to 31 in November 2013 assembly polls.

More interestingly, the BJP had lost several of its traditional strongholds to AAP in 2013 Assembly polls. But by May 2014, not only did it retrieve its position but it completely turned the tables. Not only did it win back its traditional strongholds with a huge margin but it also won several AAP strongholds with a huge margin.

To name some of the seats like Shalimar Bagh, Greater Kailash, Hari Nagar and Tilak Nagar which have been traditional strongholds were lost to AAP in November 2013. But in May 2014, the BJP won back Shalimar Bagh with a margin of 25.5 per cent, Greater Kailash by 25.1 per cent, Hari Nagar by 18.1 per cent and Tilak Nagar by around ten per cent. In Greater Kailash, the AAP MLA was a minister in its 49 day government.

In fact, BJP has led by huge margins from the seats represented by the former AAP ministers . The icing on the cake was the BJP’s brilliant performance in New Delhi constituency represented by its party leader Arvind Kejriwal. At New Delhi, the BJP led over its nearest rival party by a 14.1 per cent margin. Similarly on seats represented by former AAP ministers - Mangolpuri, Patparganj, Greater Kailash, Malviya Nagar - the BJP was far ahead of all its rivals in May 2014.

The BJP has gained further since May 2014 when it comes to presenting a credible alternative to realise the hope and aspirations as it is evident from the party’s emphatic victories in Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly polls. The poll results in these states indicate that the people of the country are endorsing the policies and functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On one hand we have BJP which, given an opportunity, is endorsed for making an effort to bring development to the doorsteps of the people. On the other hand, people of Delhi experienced a great disillusionment when Kejriwal ran away from his responsibility after creating chaos in Delhi during his 49-day government. Those 49 days busted the credibility of AAP and its leadership and the refection was evident in May 2014.

There doesn’t seem to be any perceptible change in the situation. The verdict in May 2014 was that both AAP and Congress are not at all equipped to cater to the hopes and aspirations of people in Delhi. The recent Assembly poll results indicate growing support for the BJP for its government’s performance. With a fledgling AAP struggling to gain credibility and a completely demoralised Congress due to its leadership crisis at all levels, the writing on the wall is clear: it's Advantage BJP in Delhi.

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