Delhi, are you rising like a phoenix or falling like the ashes?
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who was being touted as the face of the Delhi (national capital) state elections, has just congratulated Arvind Kejriwal, the candidate fast inching towards absolute majority.
Spoke to @ArvindKejriwal & congratulated him on the win. Assured him Centre’s complete support in the development of Delhi.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 10, 2015
It is déjà vu, similar to the much-publicised general elections held earlier last year, there probably will be no opposition leader in Delhi as well. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is emerging as a clear winner after defeating its main competition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Moreover, Delhi’s favourite Congress party has suffered a severe image hurt.
While it is indeed a smashing victory for Arvind Kejriwal, the chief leader of AAP, a political start-up, they have proven that Modi is not invincible. One might wonder why it is important for the Prime Minister of one of the largest democracies of the world to win elections at a state level. It is important to control the upper house of the Indian parliament where the Modi government lacks a majority. Moreover, the upper house of the parliament holds the key to passing bills and reforms.
Kejriwal has been one of those few leaders in India who, in the recent past, have not shied away from answering questions about his plans and has openly challenged his competitors. That certainly goes to his credit and probably is one of reasons behind his connect with the people at the grass root level. However, AAP has been riding high on its populist policies. The party has promised free water, electricity, zero-tolerance for corruption etc. While Delhi has fallen heads over heels this valentines with Kejriwal. How he keeps his promises, is the million dollar question. But as they say, promises are meant to be broken honey! For, he would need massive funds to bring down inflation and he might cost a lot to the exchequer if electricity and water are distributed free of cost or even at subsidised rates. Where is the money?
At the same time, one party that no one is talking about at the moment is the Congress party. BJP’s main contender has suffered a clean washout–not even a single seat. If Delhi has voted against BJP, the nation has rooted out Congress, probably, marking an end to the Gandhi-dynasty politics. Interestingly, Congress ruled Delhi for over 15 years in a row.
Coming back to Modi’s BJP, why did it fail in these elections? Probably it was the social media effect that AAP was driving this time. Furthermore, BJP loyalists highlight the fact that the party is viewed as a Hindu-biased party. The US President Barack Obama, post his visit to India and meetings with the top brass of the BJP-led central government, said that the country needs to practise religious tolerance. Also, the corporate sector is yet to witness the structural reforms promised by the BJP during the national elections.However, BJP denies that this is in any which way a national referendum.
Delhi still seeks solutions to atrocities against its women, lower pollution levels and better governance. Does Kejriwal have a solution to these? Do the voters feel that Kejriwal for Delhi and Modi for India will bring about the much-needed change? Here is what the Twitter world feels about Delhi’s decision in the state elections.
The Twiterrati is abuzz with cartoons and caricatures.
Meanwhile, else where, Kiran Bedi, BJP’s candidate for the post of chief minister takes responsibility for the defeat.
I lose only when I do not give my 100% to d cause. I gave it all. My party & we will reflect on the causes of defeat! Best wishes for Delhi — Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) February 10, 2015