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Rediff.com  » News » After victorious Sunday, BJP now wary of AAP's spread

After victorious Sunday, BJP now wary of AAP's spread

December 11, 2013 13:01 IST

After victorious Sunday, BJP now wary of AAP's spread

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

Says a senior BJP leader: “If the AAP had Congress or BJP-type polling agents they would have easily got three-fourth majority in Delhi, there is no question about it. It was not Kejriwal or the AAP that got the vote. People went all out with a resolve to defeat what we call ‘the system’.”

Sheela Bhatt reports on how the AAP’s cornering of the anti-establishment vote has forced the BJP to rethink its strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.

The Delhi assembly election results have brought multiple worries for the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

A senior BJP leader told Rediff.com, “Our understanding is that the vote for the Aam Aadmi Party is nothing short of a revolution. It was the people’s determination to vote against the political establishment, not merely an anti-Congress vote.”

The assessment of the BJP at the highest level is that Arvind Kejriwal and his team will affect some 300 seats all over the country in the Lok Sabha election when “the bug of anti-political establishment” will spread if they decide to contest the elections, he said.

A more serious implication is likely to be seen in Uttar Pradesh, where the complete rout of the Congress will create a stir among the Muslim voters. The BJP’s preliminary assessment is that UP’s Muslims may back Mulayam Singh Yadav once again. They will rethink their strategy, says the BJP leader.

This, in short, is the unintended fallout of the Delhi vote, he says. The BJP’s assessment before the day of counting of votes was that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party was on the comeback trail and would be emerge as a major challenger to the BJP, but now it believes the Congress’s extraordinary drubbing may rally the Muslims en masse behind the Samajwadi Party.

The BJP’s hope of a division of Muslim votes among the Congress, SP and BSP may not happen as the Congress will be rudely rejected due to the ripple effect from the state polls in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In the Lok Sabha seats the battle now will be intense, particularly in eastern UP where the SP is directly pitted against the BJP. 

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After victorious Sunday, BJP now wary of AAP's spread

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Sheela Bhatt

The senior BJP leader, talking off the record, said that in New Delhi except senior leader Arun Jaitley no national leader had much of a clue about the AAP’s actual strength. The source said as voting day came closer the party found that its Delhi party infrastructure was “completely discredited”. From Vijay Goel, Aarti Mehra and Vijay Jolly to district chiefs down, they were all finding it difficult to stand strong against the popularity and "innocence" of the AAP candidates. Normally many of the BJP’s block-level office-bearers are builders, small-time operators or real estate agents, and not hardcore politicians.

Some 15 days before the voting Jaitley had informed his party’s senior leaders that the AAP will get more than 20 seats. He said the voter’s mood was as much against the BJP as it was against the Congress.

However, the party’s top leadership was divided on playing the Modi card when they got it right that the AAP was attracting both the anti-BJP and anti-Congress votes. After intense deliberations the top leadership decided to arrest the BJP’s slide by planning half a dozen last-minute rallies by Narendra Modi. It was a gamble, and Modi had to do it.   

The senior leader, who was privy to the tension among the BJP leadership after realizing the real threat from the AAP, said, “We had to seriously study the AAP. We actually went and met some of their candidates to know what the AAP was and what it stands for! We saw that some of their candidates were staying in 10x10 square feet house. We also saw that Kejriwal was working without expecting the fruits of success. He was working solely for the cause, to bring about change in society. We take his intentions seriously.”

However, after praising Kejriwal thus, he said, "His mission is unlikely to succeed because Indian society has deteriorated beyond imagination." 

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Photographs: BJP.org

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After victorious Sunday, BJP now wary of AAP's spread

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Sheela Bhatt

A senior BJP leader, in a surprising admission, told Rediff.com, “If the AAP had Congress or BJP-type polling agents they would have easily got three-fourth majority in Delhi, there is no question about it. It was not Kejriwal or the AAP that got the vote. People went all out with a resolve to defeat what we call ‘the system’.”

He said the AAP did not have enough workers at the booth level to help the voters. People themselves found their way to the booth and voted, expressing anger against the political system.

The BJP insider says it was to the BJP’s credit that it could still emerge as the largest party when there was an unprecedented anti-political establishment vote rarely seen in Indian society.

Arvind Kejriwal, while talking to Rediff.com, agrees that they were very close to getting a majority of their own. He said, “Our voters were cheated in the last few days. There were eight constituencies where we lost because our adversaries helped independents to cut into our votes. Some independent candidates were propped up with the ‘torch’ symbol, which confused our votes about our symbol of ‘broom’. In Kalkaji our candidate lost by some 2000 votes while the independent candidate with the ‘torch’ symbol got around 3000 votes. In Janakpuri our candidate lost because an independent got around 4000 votes. We lost some eight seats due to such fake independent candidates."

Despite winning a historic verdict Kejriwal is still functioning out of his home. He is suffering from chronic cough and diabetes. His high blood sugar level is kept under control with the help of insulin, but the cough is an “annual event" for Kejriwal, and it does not respond to allopathy, homeopathy or ayurveda.

Kejriwal told Rediff.com that his party was planning to contest the Lok Sabha poll next yaer, and once again ruled out any truck with the BJP or Congress to form the government.  

He also said, “On December 4 polling went on till late, till 9 pm. Some 170,000 votes were polled after the deadline of 5 pm. I am surprised that in spite of ongoing polling ABP TV channel and others came out with an exit poll giving a majority to the BJP. How is this possible? The India Today-ORG poll gave the BJP 41 seats and AAP only six seats. We feel in the last three days a lot of cheating took place, which cost us dearly."

Kejriwal reiterated, “I don’t see any way out of the current situation. We will not take any help from the Congress or the BJP. Let’s wait and see.”


Image: Arvind Kejriwal says the AAP's voters were cheated in the last days of the Delhi election campaign
Photographs: BJP.org

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