"Acche Beete 5 Saal, Lage Raho Kejriwal", Aam Admi Party’s catch phrase for 8 February Delhi assembly polls may be a lift from Raj Kumar Hirani’s blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai but no one can deny that it is straight, simple and catchy and leaves an impression on the minds of voters.
The slogan is sequel to AAP's 2015 catch phrase, 'Paanch Saal Kejriwal'. For 2020 Assembly polls too, the poll strategists and slogan writers have put a premium on Kejriwal’s name. After all, five years ago AAP without a organisational base in Delhi had scored an unprecedented victory in the national capital in Kejriwal’s name. His name personifies AAP.
The other advantage of putting Kejriwal in the limelight is that the BJP in Delhi does not have a single credible face whose recall value in terms of leadership or oratorial skills that could compete with the AAP chief. The BJP is undecided on projecting any of its leader as face of Delhi election, a chief ministerial candidate who as a challenger would take on the incumbent chief minister. In fact, BJP leader and RS member Vijay Goel tweeted this soon after EC announced the dates for Delhi elections.
जनता का हर आदमी हमारा मुख्यमंत्री का चेहरा है, अब जनता ही आम आदमी पार्टी से उनके किये गए कामों का जवाब मांगेगी। #DelhiElections2020
— Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) January 6, 2020
Kejriwal and his team is trying to captialise this opportunity. In the last Assembly elections, AAP used the photo of BJP’s Jagadish Mukhi, despite the fact that Mukhi was nowhere in the reckoning for the post. This time around AAP is going sarcastic messaging. Through posters and banners put up in various parts of Delhi it greeted, "seven chief ministerial candidates of BJP". The party tweeted, asking "but the question is who will contest against Arvind Kejriwal":
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) January 2, 2020
Aam Admi Party strategists think, and rightly so, that this gives them an edge over their rivals. It should be noted that Congress, which ruled Delhi for 15 continuous years prior to Kejriwal’s onset in political arena, is immaterial for both the AAP and the BJP.
For BJP, Congress’s relevance in these election is only to the extent as to how much percentage of votes it could retain, particularly among Muslim community. For AAP, Congress' relevance is to the extent that latter generally banks on anti-BJP votes and thus the challenge is to sway those votes in AAP's favour.
It will be interesting to see how Congress’s new-found aggression against the protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, particularly in terms of messaging to the Muslim community, works in terms of political capital. The party, which ironically does not have any prospects in these elections, is still marred by factional feuds and ego clashes.
That makes Delhi election a direct fight between ruling AAP and opposition BJP. It should be noted that after a complete washout in 2019 parliamentary elections, Kejriwal changed his strategy — from a strident critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to portraying himself as the man focused on developmental work in Delhi. After EC announced the poll schedule, Kejriwal tweeted:
ये चुनाव काम पर होगा
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 6, 2020
His tweets on violence in JNU have been mature. He didn’t jump to conclusions or indulge in Modi or BJP bashing as he used to earlier. His remarks on the ongoing anti-CAA protests have been measured, as well. He had supported Modi government in Parliament on abrogation of Article 370 and even talked about co-operation with the Centre for all round development of Delhi.
In his latest FM radio advertisement, he talks at length about women safety and how families should talk to their sons and pledge that if they misbehave or harass women then the family would have no link with the boy concerned.
On face of it, Kejriwal seem to have distinct advantage over his rivals in February 2020 elections but he knows this time it is not going to be easy. After serving for five years as the Delhi chief minister, anti-incumbency is one of the factors riding against AAP.
In the last parliamentary elections, AAP finished third in terms of poll percentage – BJP over 56 percent, Congress over 22 percent and AAP close to 15 percent. Last municipal election results, in all three corporations too had surprised AAP. The BJP not only won all three municipal Corporations but also improved its numbers and vote percentage vis-à-vis 2012 municipal and 2015 Assembly polls. In that election, BJP polled 37 percent, AAP 26 percent and Congress 21 percent.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Jan 20, 2020 12:40:21 IST