Delhi assembly election 2020 in my eyes

Delhi assembly election 2020 again shocked both opponents BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) and INC (Indian National Congress). Like Delhi assembly election 2015 with 67 seats, again AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) gets the massive victory in Delhi assembly election 2020 with 62 seats. However, as per election commission statistics, BJP vote share increased by nearly 6% to 7% and got 38.5% vote share with 67 seats in 2020.

On the other hand, AAP got nearly a 53% vote share with 62 seats in 2020. We would look up six questions in this article – Does it victory of developmental politics?, How did voters behave in Delhi politics?, Representative polity in India is reality or misnomer? Has Kejriwal given New politics? What are the reasons behind the complete sweep of congress? and Why BJP is unable to crack Delhi?

Does it victory of developmental politics?

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sought votes on the name of development for assembly election 2020 in Delhi instead of conventional blame game politics. That was the first positive step of AAP. I think there are some reasons behind it. First, AAP knows very well that their political base is neither Muslim appeasement nor Hyper nationalism. Second, His work in the field of education, health, and water has been significant.

Third, AAP knows well that concentrating on local issues can prevent them from derailing from their path for which people vote them. Fourth, On national issues, their views seem closer to the conventional Indian politics which is still ambiguous. Fifth, the Political base of AAP is the lower middle and lower class. Development is the only language through which he can connect with them.

There is no doubt about the governance done by the Delhi Government. I believe that Delhi Model is the third comparative model vis-a-vis Kerala and Gujrat model. There are some indicators which suggest so – First, the Performance of Delhi government school is higher than the national average and now exceed the performance of private schools in Delhi. Adequate spending has been done on education.

Second, ‘Mohalla clinics’ have been set up in poor colonies to provide accessible health at affordable prices. Third, ‘The Hindu’ reports that the share of unauthorized colonies provided with piped water has increased from 55% to 93% in just 5 years. Fourth, Among the Indian metros, Delhi provides the cheapest electricity.

These things show that political intent and a citizen-centric approach can bring changes. Thus, the Victory of AAP in Delhi is nothing but the victory of developmental politics, unlike the last UP assembly election.

How did voters behave in Delhi politics?

It breaks the myth of the direct relationship between education and democracy. It is often claimed that educated people involve in democracy more actively than illiterate people. But data given by the election commission break this myth. As per survey 2011 (for literacy rate) and election commission statistics (for vote%), Delhi with an 87% literacy rate is voted by only 62%. While Chhattisgarh with a 71% literacy rate was voted by 77% in the last assembly election.

It also brought out a new dimension of women’s politics. E.g. AXIS MY INDIA exit poll agency shows that if 53% of male voters voted for AAP, then 59% of female voters favored AAP. This 6% vote gap is decisive for the mammoth victory of AAP. 

The politics of hate has been temporarily defeated by the people of Delhi. It will certainly give a positive message across the country. It was observed that “Goli Maro…” rhetoric, a negative campaign of BJP, and “India-Pakistan…” rhetoric has successfully been defeated in Delhi. But one of the important aspects was forgotten by the people of Delhi – The criminalization of politics.

Winner of Okhla constituency, Amanatullah Khan, whose bail was once denied by the court and called as history-sheeters. Like him, many politicians have won the election with serious criminal charges as claimed by Delhi Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report.

It is estimated that Muslims constitute nearly 13% of Delhi. It is believed by the political scientists that Muslims generally vote in the bulk. Muslims voted for a party that is in a position to defeat the BJP. Election commission data justifies my statement. First, In the Matia Mahal constituency which is the Muslim majority, SHOAIB IQBAL (AAP) won with a difference of 50241 votes against the BJP candidate.

Second, Since 1993, the Muslim-majority Okhla constituency has never been won by a non-Muslim. AMANATULLAH KHAN (AAP), a fringe politician, won with the difference of nearly 71,000 votes against the BJP candidate. A similar trend is seen in Ballimaran, Mustafabad, Babarpur, and Chandnichowk constituency. 

Representative polity in India is reality or a misnomer? 

On the line of the general election, territorial Indian polity is a misnomer and one-man personality cult-based polity is reality. Voting pattern is witnessed in general election around the personality cult of Narendra Modi. The actual process is that people should choose their own local representative based on local demands. But in reality, people are in the temptation to choose one face. A similar kind of pattern is witnessed in the Delhi Assembly election 2020.

For example, Adarsh Shastri and Alka Lamba who went to INC (Indian National Congress) from AAP are nowhere in the race, even not in the second position, but Parade Singh who shifted himself to AAP from INC has won. It’s all because of the projected face of Kejriwal. In two consecutive Lok Sabha elections, 2014 and 2019, BJP won all 7 seats on the face of Narendra Modi. Similarly in two consecutive assembly elections, 2015 and 2020, AAP won massive mandates with 67 seats and 62 seats respectively.

The biggest disadvantage of first past the post-politics is that the party doesn’t get the seat as per the consensus of the people. E.g., in the 2014 general election, BSP (Bahujan Samajwadi Party) became the third-largest national party of India in terms of vote percentage, having 4.2% of the vote across the country but gaining no seats. In 2019, the Indian general election BSP was witnessed as the second-largest party with 19.3% of votes but won ONLY 15 seats (2.75% of total seats of Lok Sabha).

Similarly, In the Delhi assembly election, BJP got a 33% vote share in 2013 with 31 seats, 32% vote share in 2015 but won ONLY 3 seats (4.27% of total seats of Delhi Assembly). This time vote% of BJP has raised from 32% to nearly 39% vote share but seats are merely reached to 8 seats out of 70 (11.42% of total seats of Delhi Assembly). 

Has Kejriwal given New politics?

First, When Arvind Kejriwal came before the people for the vote of thanks, one very peculiar thing is witnessed. It was not digestible that it is the same Kejriwal who used to corner BJP and Congress for Dynasty politics. In the first line of the celebration of victory and paying a vote of thanks, Kejriwal and his all family members were seen in the front line. It is nothing but giving a little push to his children in Indian politics as Lalu Yadav did in Bihar.

Lalu Yadav sidelined all the senior politicians like Abdul Bari Siddiqui and Jagada Nand Singh and gave important ministries including deputy CM post to his son who lacks experience of Indian polity. One day you may see the same in AAP. I remember, during the last election victory, Kejriwal was with Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, and Raghav Chadha in the front line. 

Second, Kejriwal promised the people of India in general and the people of Delhi in particular that he is not fighting elections for conventional politics but he had come to change the conventional political pattern. But statistics of the reliable reports show that his politics are not different from conventional politics. In the first AAP government, according to a report by Delhi Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 23 AAP MLAs had criminal records.

In the 2020 Delhi Assembly, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reports that 42 out of 70 AAP candidates having criminal backgrounds, the party has the highest number of candidates with declared criminal cases against them. Out of this, 36 have declared serious cases against them. Between 2015 and 2020, MLAs with criminal backgrounds have nearly doubled, and serious charges have nearly tripled.  

I remember his speeches of 2013 when he used to say that “It’s my promise that all 70 candidates will be clean in AAP. If by mistake (since we are also human), anyone gets a ticket then let me know, I will vacate the seat but won’t field any wrong candidate”. I hope Kejriwal would know that the court had refused to grant bail to Amanatullah Khan due to serious charges. I hope Kejriwal would have well knowledge of ADR report findings. Third, unlike the 2015 election, ‘Lok Pal’ promises were seen in the cold bag.

He followed convention populist politics like no-cost bus, installations of CCTV cameras and metro rides to women and students in the last six months. On the line of the general election for Narendra Modi, the TINA factor worked well for Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi. “There is no alternative” (shortened as TINA) was a slogan often used by the Conservative British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

What are the reasons behind the complete sweep of congress?

Delhi assembly 2020 is its third consecutive poor performance. Delhi was a state for congress which ruled for three successful terms under late Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Even all seven MPs used to be from INC. But in the last two consecutive Lok Sabha elections, 2014 and 2019, all the seven seats were won by the BJP. Similarly, in the last two consecutive Delhi assembly elections, 2015 and 2019, congress failed to win even one seat.

INC is not even at runner-up position in all 70 seats. It is again appealing to the Indian national congress (INC) to restructure its leadership which is directionless and uninspiring. There have been various reasons which led to a complete sweep of congress. 

First, a Lack of engagement is seen in Delhi politics between 2015 and 2020. Unlike congress, in between BJP used to come up with opposing AAP even with three seats. It shows that congress leadership both in Delhi, as well as local level, lacks perseverance. They didn’t come out of the shock congress got in the 2015 election. Second, Lack of confidence in congress can be understood by accepting the debacle of its candidate from Vikaspuri, Mukesh Sharma even as only postal ballots were being counted.

Third, INC failed to connect the people of Delhi. Even their manifesto is looking like the answer sheet of the schoolboy. Fourth, INC fails in internal management. Rivalries like Kamal Nath-Jyotiraditya Scindia rivalry in Rajasthan and Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot rivalry in Madhya Pradesh also exists in Delhi. 

Congress will have to shift its leadership. One bitter truth that all congress politicians know but don’t accept that voters are reluctant to look at Congress with Rahul Gandhi as the leader. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the exceptions because their local politicians are still strong enough to challenge BJP due to good traction and mass base. After Shiela Dixit is in Delhi, congress doesn’t have a strong face in Delhi.

There was one face on the name of Ajay Makan which was largely seen absent in the Delhi assembly election 2020. One face was seen on the name of Arvinder Singh Lovely who was found absent between 2015 to 2020. Congress should learn from Smriti Irani. Even after the debacle, you have to go to the ground and work over there. Then only you can win the confidence of the people. 

Why BJP is unable to crack Delhi?

First, BJP committed the mistake of attacking AAP personally. Calling a served C.M. as a terrorist was not entertained by the people of Delhi. In fact, it should not be. AAP turned BJP candidate, Kapil Mishra made a local election as India-Pakistan match. Even, BJP president tried to connect it with Shaheen Bagh protests and make it a national election. This is nothing but the negative campaign which contributed significantly to the debacle of BJP. Even BJP minister, through “Goli Maro…” rhetoric tried to divert the election campaign didn’t please the people of Delhi. These kinds of negative campaigns directly or indirectly harmed BJP in the Delhi assembly election 2020. 

Second, BJP knows very well that today people vote on the face, not on the territorial notion. Despite knowing the fact, BJP didn’t announce a chief ministerial candidate in Delhi. Fielding CM candidate through parachute means like Kiran Bedi in 2015 or not fielding CM candidate in 2020, will not work anymore. You have to put forward the local, old and reliable candidate from Delhi itself as a CM candidate.

It is so because the idea of without CM has worked in a state till the effect of Narendra Modi was witnessed. With time its nature of democracy that popularity of a politician decreases. BJP must also know that they can’t use Narendra for all elections again and again. BJP will have to find a new pole for leadership. The face of Narendra Modi can’t be a panacea and ultimate means to win all elections.

Third, over-confidence of the BJP is also one of the major reasons. After a massive victory in the 2019 general election followed by the enactment of Triple Talaq, enactment of citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) without a majority in Rajya Sabha, Abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, and Supreme Court order in favor of Ram Mandir made the BJP believe that the consolidation of Hindu vote would lead them to an easy victory in Delhi.

But in reality, it’s not. Fourth, AAP had smartly conveyed to Delhi’s voters that the BJP did not have an able candidate to replace Kejriwal and prevent themselves from derailing from the main track ‘agenda of development’. Fifth, BJP was seen in a hurry and tried to cover more ground in a very few days which didn’t work for them.

Most prominent thing is that Kejriwal has learned conventional Indian politics. He has become more mature and smarter not only than before but also than others. Kejriwal did not even try to engage with Narendra Modi and refrain from personal attacks. Definitely, disciplined campaign, refrain from derailing from local issue, propagating the achievements and finally mistakes of the opposition along with TINA factor contributed AAP to achieve the massive victory in Delhi Assembly election 2020.

Footnotes

  1. Daily hunt | 36 Of 70 AAP Candidates Have Serious Criminal Cases Against Them: ADR Report
  2. The Hindu | AAP sweeps Delhi with 62 seats
  3. Hindustan Times | Delhi ranked 2nd best in literacy rate, Sisodia praises his education team
  4. India Today | AAP 1st choice for women and first-time voters, shows India Today exit poll
  5. India.com | Matia Mahal Assembly Election 2020 Result: Aam Aadmi Party’s Shoaib Iqbal Wins With 50241 Votes
  6. Business Standard | AAP’s Amanatullah Khan wins Okhla seat with a margin of 71,000 votes
  7. Scroll.in | Union minister Anurag Thakur leads ‘goli maaro saalon ko’ slogans at rally
  8. The Print | ‘Shaheen Bagh, Pakistan’ fail in Delhi as BJP motormouths Bagga and Mishra set to lose
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