Congratulations to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for their resounding victory in the 2015 Delhi assembly elections. The ‘broom’ literally swept the capital clean. No pundit, opinion poll or exit poll, predicted the magnitude of their victory. A new chapter has been written in Indian politics which writes in bold and capital, that you don’t need to rely on communal polarization, dynasty and hundreds and thousands of crores to fight and win an election.
The following are the five biggest takeaways from this election:
1.) Be Humble and Apologize.
A masterstroke by Kejriwal. He apologized to the nation umpteen number of times for running away from power after just 49 days. There was genuineness in his apology and the decisive verdict proves, that people were willing to give him a second chance.
2.) Modi-Shah duo is no longer infallible.
The biggest takeaway from this election. It demolished the invincible aura that the duo enjoyed. The hubris that exuded from the BJP’s demeanour too would’ve been shattered. In a way, this is a good thing for the ruling party as well as the Indian democracy. Too much of centralized and concentrated power at the hands of a few, will always be detrimental in the long run. The winning streak and the public mandate that they enjoyed, gave them a garb to hide under, whenever questions were raised regarding the increasing communal tensions. Hopefully, the BJP will gracefully swallow the bitter pill and get back to their original agenda and promise of ‘acche din’, development and good governance.
3.) Caustic and negative campaigns don’t work.
The BJP made the same mistake which the congress did in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. They should’ve realized from the congress’s puerile strategy, that vitriolic campaigns targeting an individual doesn’t really work. On the contrary, the constant accusations and name calling like ‘bhagoda’, ‘Back stabber’, ‘Naxalite’, ‘Anarchist’ etc. evoked sympathy among the voters and turned Kejriwal from a ‘bhagoda’ to a ‘bechara’.
4.) State elections are about micro issues, not macro.
The AAP was accused of playing agitational politics and being inept at governance. To counter this, they released a detailed and meticulously etched out manifesto to deal with the electricity, water and infrastructural problems. The BJP on the other hand was content with just a vision document which doesn’t mean anything.
Throughout their rallies, the BJP went overboard in selling their ‘centre-state-same-party’ logic, but barely addressed the local issues that plague the people day in and day out. I saw a YouTube video of Amit Shah’s rally, wherein all he doing was extolling the governance of the BJP in the last nine months, the falling oil prices, the Obama visit and India’s deterring response to Pakistan’s ceasefire violations and infiltrations.
5.) Don’t parachute land your leaders at the last moment.
Kiran Bedi is a classic example of why you shouldn’t parachute land your leaders at the last moment. Instead, strengthen your state organisational unit, empower and groom the local leaders. Harsh Vardhan should’ve been the ideal candidate as he won the BJP 32 seats in the last assembly elections. But Amit Shah & Co. tried to be too clever by half and the end result was 19 Ministers, 120 MPs and a mute Bedi against one man.
AAP regrouped after their debacle in the Lok Sabha elections and began their campaign well in advance with the Delhi dialogues. By the time the BJP took stock of the situation, it was already too late.