Millennium Post

Perky Kejriwal and Delhi’s poll dance

Delhi has been without an elected government for the last eleven months. The election to the sixth Delhi Assembly is likely to be held in the month of February 2015. The election notification may be issued sometimes in the last week of December 2014, i.e. immediately after announcement of results to the polls in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand. With some time to go before the polls, election fever will become visible after a month or so in the national capital. However former chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal has started preparations for the ensuing election. He would strive hard to win at any cost. His preparations have become visible apart from being talk of the town. 

Kejriwal utilised his valuable six months to assure people about his commitment of not repeating his so called earlier mistake of quitting office in a huff after he failed to get along the sense of the Assembly on the issue of Jan Lok Pal Bill, inherited to him due to his proximity with Anna Hazare. Former CM Arvind Kejriwal resigned on 14 February, 2013 after his theatrics during his 49 day tenure were badly exposed.

Kejriwal has been contemplating a good yield in the three-cornered electoral battle in the national capital. He is desperate enough to at least remerge as leader of the largest party in the house of 70 members, in case it is not possible to secure an absolute majority. Out of the three major contestants i.e. the Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party, the later has been efficiently utilising the zero periods; the duration prior to announcement of election schedule, wherein the expenditure incurred by any individual/would be candidate and political party is not counted in the permissible expenditure limit. He has covered a lot by putting hoardings over bus stops across Delhi apart from spending a huge amount on air time on FM radio.

The other two parties have failed in stealing any benefit out of this lull period and hence generating a favourable wave.  Moreover the wily Kejriwal possesses a rich experience of taking crowd alongside him with the aid of  self-devised tricks. Despite losing his close estranged associates like Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi, a few earlier elected party MLAs, the present Assembly Speaker and moreover his credibility, Kejriwal is not yet shattered, scared or even discouraged, as he continues to function in his own inimitable style. Kejriwal has been managing a similar show, which became famous during golden era of the Aam Aadmi Party in New Delhi. Elections to the 6th Delhi Assembly are crucial to the BJP and AAP.  It is a do or die situation for AAP and probably the last opportunity for the BJP to grab power in Delhi, failing which it would become almost impossible to accomplish this after losing its fifth consecutive electoral battle. The third player, Congress has nothing at stake in the ensuing elections. The party may just gain or lose a few seats, as it has taken note of the writing on the wall.

Kejriwal’s style and pitch of electioneering in presenting a one-man army in the party, would compel the BJP to announce its chief ministerial candidate.  This way, Kejriwal is trying to establish an unassailable lead in the race by mischievously comparing himself with Jagdish Mukhi, whose candidature as BJP‘s claimant to the post has been decided by himself. This has been aimed at creating confusion in the minds of Delhiites. AAP workers have been put up small hoardings on the poles stating 70 % popularity for Kejriwal and just 10% for Mukhi. Kejriwal would do everything to make it a direct contest between the two candidates in Delhi, as Modi had restricted the choice between himself and Rahul in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Kejriwal has also been inciting the BJP to immediately announce its CM candidate, hence putting party in an awkward position. The BJP has reiterated its intention of banking upon Modi wave to avoid any clash amongst CM aspirants a number of times. Fierce campaigning by Kejriwal will definitely force the BJP to consider announcing its CM candidate.  Moreover in view Kejriwal’s expertise in campaigning right up to the doors of the residents and even in the narrow and muddy lanes nearly 18 hours a day, the BJP would not like to turn the contest between Kejariwal and Modi.

Despite riding high on Modi wave the BJP is still not sure of reaching the magic figure of 35 seats.  
The choice before the BJP is going to become difficult. Aspirants like Satish Upadhyay, Vijay Goel, Vijender Gupta, Prakash Jha and others  are being referred in the media. The names of Harshvardhan, Smriti Irani and Kiran Bedi will lengthen the list of potential candidates. Seemingly it looks certain that there would be a direct contest between two personalities. It is for the BJP to decide its face at the earliest in order to cash in on the Modi wave. It is time for the party to harness the fertile and fine available opportunity in Delhi.
The author is a communication consultant
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