BJP's strategy for Delhi Polls

BJP and AAP are locked in a tight fight in Delhi. While AAP has silently started its campaign long back with nukkad sabhas, BJP has countered it with panna pramukh meetings. BJP formally launched its campaign with a massive Modi rally at Ramlila Grounds. The rally jittered AAP and Kejriwal held a press conference in the evening alleging BJP was getting nervous, that's why it roped in the Prime Minister. To some people it appeared that actually he and AAP were getting nervous.

Modi's speech at the Abhinandan rally details the BJP strategy for Delhi elections. Modi realises and correctly so that AAP is BJP's main contender and he took a pot shot at them without naming them directly. He conveniently ignored Congress.

Modi attacked the very basic philosophy of AAP - their claim on the aam aadmi tag. Who is aam aadmi / common man? What does it mean? Is AAP the only thekedaar of the aam aadmi? Modi highlighted that most of the BJP chief ministers are from very humble / middle class backgrounds and lead very simple lives. None of them was born with a silver spoon and are not political heirs of a dynasty, but they do not advertise this. The way AAP has claimed that its leaders are very aam has almost trivialised the entire matter. In fact Modi himself for that matter comes from a very humble background. So it's not only AAP which is full of Aam Aadmi, BJP too is filled with such people, is what PM conveyed. AAP's Aam Aadmi theory could have worked against Congress but not BJP.

Modi then compared the novice, less experienced AAP with BJP’s extensive record. BJP has had a great record in states that it governs and has been re-elected many times showing that public has faith in BJP. Honesty is not the only criteria for becoming a Chief Minister and running the government. The way AAP resigned in 49 days shows its leadership lacks maturity.

Modi attacked the anarchist Kejriwal. How can an anarchist run a state government? This was done deliberately to remind people of the dharnas carried out by Kejriwal which was clearly unbecoming of a chief minister. Kejriwal forgot that he was the ruling party and not in opposition. India is a democratic county and there is no place for anarchy in the civil society.

Modi also clearly made a pitch to the people living in slums (representing - 50% of the total voters). This has been a traditional vote bank of Congress which slipped to AAP. AAP created them a vote bank by promising free water and reduction in power tariffs. But BJP by deciding to regularise the unauthorised colonies has tried to wean them away. The focus of his speech was upliftment of the poor people living in these slums. A sizable number of migrants live in these slums.

BJP is working on the slogan which worked wonders for it in the 4 states which went to polls - same government in the state and the centre - will lead to greater development of the state. It will rely on whirlwind Modi rallies and seek votes in the name of development. Modi factor, his appeal among young voters and his development agenda where he wants to make Delhi a world class city is what BJP is banking on. About 22% of Delhi voters today are Poorvanchalis.

BJP knows very well that Delhi has a high migrant population from Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Haryana, Punjab etc. These migrant voters are mostly from states where it has done very well recently. It expects to win these votes through election campaigns by leaders of these states. As per a Lokniti report 16 constituencies have a sizable population of migrants from Bihar / UP, 17 constituencies have sizable population from Punjab and 11% have sizable population of Jats and Gujjars from Haryana.

BJP strategy will also be to consolidate its vote bank (61% upper castes, 68% Sikhs) and work on ways to break the Dalit vote bank of AAP. It would also hope that Muslim vote (11%) continues to be split equally between AAP and Congress. If AAP weans away Congress Muslim vote bank it would create problems for BJP. It is noted that Muslims can influence the result in 8 of the 70 constituencies. Half of these seats were won by Congress in 2013. BJP here will use the Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas to get Muslim voters on its side. BJP won 45 / 87 Lok Sabha seats where Muslims have a sizeable population in 2014 general elections. So all is not lost here as we'll -     campaign by some community leaders like Shazia Ilmi would help.

BJP recently admitted Kiran Bedi into the party. Kiran Bedi has an unblemished record as top cop of Delhi and a rich 40 years of administrative experience. Strategy is to play up the 40 years experience of Kiran Bedi vs 49 days of Kejriwal. BJP also wants to portray that Kejriwal is not the sole political heir of the Anna andolan. Also AAP is not the only party consisting of honest people, BJP has plenty. Shazia Ilmi is expected to join the party too. She has given a call to expose AAP. So tit for tat policy for Kejriwal. BJP will hit back at him and his autocratic ways through Shazia. BJP is trying to portray all is not well in AAP camp. Kiran Bedi, though, may not be named as CM candidate. This helps, otherwise, it could lead to factionalism in Delhi BJP. All in all positive for BJP. It gets a credible face for its otherwise faceless campaign. Also helps to divert attention from AAP attack on Satish Upadhaya. Because now AAP will day in and out target Bedi and Ilmi.

The charter plan of Delhi BJP is ready. In a month we will know whether it was successful or not. In the entire roller coaster ride of Modi from state elections before Lok Sabha to General elections to state elections after Lok Sabha, not winning Delhi would be his only regret. He won't leave any stone unturned this time.

Courtesy Niti Central



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