AAP wins Delhi election: It's time both Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi worked together to make NCT world class city

  • Delhi has chosen to retain the same combination as it did five-six years ago — Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister and Narendra Modi as prime minister

  • Perhaps, in Modi and Kejriwal Delhiites see a silver lining in their aspiration to turn Delhi as a world-class city and decided to retain the same combo

  • With the election results out, the realisation should dawn on both sides that they are here for the long haul, have solid social constituency and a lot of popular expectations ride on them

  • Kejriwal went into the election with a perception of a changed man, a man who was focused on development, a man who prefers cooperation over conflict, now is the time to prove it

People of Delhi have made a unique choice. Poll results on Tuesday left no scope for any ambiguity in the message they intended to convey — a Hanuman bhakt as chief minister and a Rama bhakt at the Centre as Prime Minister. The idea behind this obvious preference one assume could be only one, usher a Ram Rajya in the city.

Lord Hanuman is the most ardent believer and follower of Lord Rama. That part of mythology is known to everyone. Going by that theme Hanuman bhakt Kejriwal leading Delhi government should ensure that no harm or harassment is caused to Rama bhakt Modi who rules the Centre. Hypothetically a combination of these two, even as they are from rival political parties, should herald an ideal city life for all the residents of the National Capital Territory. The co-incidence of Delhi Assembly election results were declared on Tuesday becomes interesting for many.

 AAP wins Delhi election: Its time both Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi worked together to make NCT world class city

File image of Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi. PTI

But then the real world is different from the mythological world. The twist in the tale was more than evident in the last five years. The Hanuman bhakt had been very critical of the Ram bhakt, calling all sorts of names to the latter, consistently trying to paint him and the Centre as the villain in peace.

It’s not that Delhiites have not been watching this, for all this was in full public view. One can say that the National Capital has chosen the same combination despite being aware of it, in the same way as it did five-six years ago — the NCT gave seven seats to Modi’s BJP in the parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2019, while it gave 67 out of 70 seats to Kejriwal in 2015 and 62 seats in 2020 Assembly elections.

One explanation of what they did could be this: in the last six-eight months (post parliamentary election) they saw a silver lining in their aspiration to turn Delhi as a world-class city and decided to retain the same combo, which the BJP during election campaigns in other parts of the country fondly called "double engine" government. It should be noted that Kejriwal made overt gestures, met Modi on his return to power and issued categorical statements he would work in close coordination with the Centre for the development of Delhi. He didn't name Modi in the run-up to the Delhi election, nor was he critical of the Centre. That was though a smart political strategy for obvious reasons but people like that. They didn’t go in the debate whether this truce was tactical or had permanent value. They chose to take it on face value.

On the ground, Kejriwal made few attempts to show his intents in this regard were real. For instance, take the launch of an ambitious project to conserve rainwater in floodplains of river Yamuna to meet drinking water needs of the capital. The pilot project was jointly launched by Kejriwal and union Jalshakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. He supported the Modi government on the abolition of Article 370 and expressed faith that Modi would do things to improve the economic situation.

Under the circumstances, a healthy exchange of notes on Twitter between Modi and Kejriwal becomes significant. Immediately after the declaration of results when Modi congratulated Kejriwal on his victory, the AAP convener responded warmly saying he was looking forward to working closely with the Centre to make Delhi a truly world-class city.

Now that the Modi government is in power at the Centre for a second consecutive term with increased majority and Kejriwal too has returned to power with 90 percent of the seats in the Delhi Assembly, a realisation should dawn on both sides that they are there for the long haul, they have solid social constituency and a lot of popular expectations ride on them. Thus they should work in close coordination. As Kejriwal has mentioned in his tweet, the Centre should go by its professed spirit of co-operative federalism.

The coming weeks and months would be watched closely by people. To begin with, the onus will be on Kejriwal to prove that gone are the days when he chose confrontation over conciliation. He went into the election with a perception of a changed man, a man who was focused on development, a man who prefers cooperation over conflict and was not in a permanent challenger mode to Modi.

If he could do that, he would go a long way in fulfilling popular expectations that are riding on him for the next five years. Mythical Ram Rajya would find a modern-day meaning, to whatever extent possible. After all, for centuries they have been calling the city of Delhi as 'dilwalon ki Dilli'.

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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2020 21:26:31 IST