With Delhi Exit polls not lying, BJP leader Niramala Sitharaman rushed to see the party chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi at her residence on Sunday to assure her not to loose heart over the unseemly developments.
“We are waiting for the results. We are hopeful that we will win,” Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters outside Kiran Bedi’s house a day after the voting for the 70 Delhi assembly seats was held.
According to the exit poll figures, while the AAP is likely to get 31 to 54 seats, the BJP could bag 17 to 35 seats. The Congress, which ruled Delhi for 15 years until December 2013, may be routed, winning no seat or at best four seats.
A month ago, BJP was upbeat and Kiran bedi’s decision to join the BJP was a natural culmination of events in view of PM Narendra Modi’s charisma prevailing all over the country.
But little did the party or Kiran Bedi expect that the brainy heads of AAP, most of them from JNU would turn around the tables when it comes to election strategy and creating a wave against the establishment in a matter of few days.
Nirmala Sitharaman, who herself seen many JNUSU elections closely heading the Free Thinkers, which occasionally won the elections riding on a wave created by brainy heads in the campus against the Marxists, is not new to realise what happened in AAP campaigning this time.
Firstly, she wanted to convince Ms. Bedi who said she would take the blame if the party lost in Delhi that it was not her sole leadership but a bigger picture that went wrong during the elections. “She has given her personal view but we are hopeful the result will go in our favour,” she told the media, notwithstanding the fact the party leadership too is equally responsible for the debacle.
Secondly, Nirmala Sitharaman must have explained Kiran Bedi that everything happens in politics. She must have given one of those post-election introspection to the former police officer. More than the CM candidate, the aura around the person created by her followers would set the winning wave in any elections.
Thirdly, Nirmala Sitharaman must have elaborated the extraneous factors in politics, especially during the elections that may have gone wrong giving an opportunity to the opponents to seize the opportunity and bounce back. In case of Arvind Kejriwal, the remark on his Agarwal community has gone wrong to give a new lease of life to AAP to bounce back. As a matter of fact, many media outlets are owned or funded by them.
Fourthly, the Muslim factor has gone against the party but BJP was always prepared for it and it should not come to anybody as a surprise. However, Bedi, being new to the party, must have been explained how the Muslim vote must have gone in favour of AAP than Congress. If Muslims had voted Congress, then the three-way split would have benefited the ruling party at the Centre.
Fifthly, the swing factor of 2 to 4% makes all the difference in voting pattern and for decades people have voted for the winning party than the trailing party. This experience is not unfamiliar for AAP leader Yogendra Yadav nor for Nirmala Sitharam, both former JNU scholars. The Muslim community had precisely been driven by this factor when its Delhi Imam openly supported AAP, though unsolicited.
Sixthly, media management is an art and all AAP thinkers are adept at manipulating the media opinion. When one small piece against their party was published in any media, they went overboard to rein in on editors to see the other side of the story. The quick reaction and exerting pressure through social media and being constantly on guard against criticism, won them the battle ground half-way through.
In fact, many journalists and editors who supported AAP a year ago were reluctant in the beginning to see the bright side of the story but relented in view of Kejriwal’s clean image in politics. When the major newspaper house began calling the shots supporting him, many smaller outlets unknowingly fell in line and the media creation of a stature for Kejriwal was there to see for all before the election day.
Learning lessons is easy but avoiding past mistakes is more important. Not only BJP but all the major political parties should realise that public opinion can bring about change over a matter of few days and the winner image always wins half the battle. Unless dirty politics is shunned, even the most powerful parties do face the wrath of the common one day or the other.
(Written By N. Sridhar. To send feedback, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org )