The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership is concerned about the Delhi Assembly elections and it has every reason to do so.
Though the saffron party may be on top of the scene in Haryana and Maharashtra, which are scheduled to go to polls on October 21, and may also win there, it has to put up a strong fight against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi. In fact, the BJP’s plate is full of problems when it comes to Delhi.
Though the polls are still five months away, BJP president Amit Shah has already drawn up a strategy and union minister Prakash Javadekar is holding district-wise meetings on daily basis, seeking suggestions to formulate a winning strategy. Javadekar has also advised the local leaders not to unnecessarily criticise Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s welfare schemes.
Javadekar had also advised a BJP leader, who sought relief for residents of unauthorised colonies, not to speak to the media about the issue. But, he said that the government was aware of it. Unauthorised colonies are a major vote bank in Delhi as they are home to 30-35% of the city’s population.
He has also directed the local leadership to launch an all-out attack on the Congress over issues related to corruption and jailed leader P Chidambaram, the poster boy of the Congress party. The BJP suspects that Congress and the AAP have some tacit understanding and wants to convert it into an opportunity.
In the past 21 years, the BJP has not won the Assembly polls in Delhi even once. And now, the challenge before the party is to come up with a strategy to counter the sops and freebies being offered by Kejriwal.
Moreover, the level of anti-incumbency against the Kejriwal government is still being assessed. The BJP is also baffled over Kejriwal not criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi by name for the past two months. The AAP has even voted in favour of abrogation of Article 370 in Parliament and also supported the new Motor Vehicles Act.
Another serious problem that the BJP is facing is whether it should fight the Assembly polls projecting a chief ministerial candidate or keep it a simple BJP versus Kejriwal battle. The saffron party had burnt its fingers when it projected Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate and lost badly in January 2015.