Delhi debacle’s current for BJP to travel far beyond

Delhi debacle’s current for BJP to travel far beyond

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. (PTI Photo)

The tremors of Delhi debacle for BJP will be felt far beyond as the second successive defeat for the ruling party coming within eight months of its landslide victory in Lok Sabha takes away much of the aura surrounding the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo.

The realisation that the absence of a local leader did the BJP in has led to some soul-searching in the party. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday underlined the need to “build leaders, who are strong and have support” at the state-level.

The absence of a local face has plagued the BJP in Delhi since the demise of its former chief ministers Madan Lal Khurana and Sahib Singh Verma. There has been fierce infighting among its second-rung leaders.

While the BJP is into a contemplative mood post the poll result, the Delhi results have come as a morale booster for non-BJP parties, that were numbed after second stupendous Lok Sabha win of BJP.

A spectacle of opposition unity, particularly of regional parties, will be visible on Sunday when Arvind Kejriwal takes oath for the third consecutive term as the chief minister.

Soon after results indicated AAP sweeping Delhi, greetings poured in from regional leaders like Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, DMK leader M K Stalin, S P leader Akhilesh Yadav, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav and others. They hailed Kejriwal’s victory as "befitting reply to BJP’s politics of hate and violence" and a rejection of "politics of golis (bullets) and gaalis (abuses)". Many of them will attend the swearing-in ceremony.

The loss in Delhi is the second such defeat of BJP after it lost Jharkhand, and raises questions on the winnability of the BJP in state polls. 

The BJP could not rule Maharashtra last year despite emerging as the single largest party as its oldest ally Shiv Sena chose to break the alliance over the issue of chief minister's seat. The BJP lost three states in 2018, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, to Congress. While Rajasthan has been alternating between the two parties traditionally, the loss in BJP strongholds of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the party was in power for the last 15 years, still rankles it.

The BJP has realised that a state election is not Lok Sabha poll where the opposition is facing Narendra Modi. The BJP needs to find strong local leadership because the voters are taking into account local issues and local leaders in the state. Upcoming polls in Bihar and West Bengal will be a test for the BJP on this front.