'The boy has remained so simple. Still wearing that sweater and light pants. He doesn't even have a decent pair of shoes! So much like one of us! How can we not give him another chance?'
'And what is Modi Sir doing? He changes clothes three times a day and wears designer clothes. He isn't the son of a simple chaiwallah we voted for.'
Sudhir Bisht hears reasons for the BJP debacle on the Delhi Metro.
The results of the Delhi state elections are pouring in and it is certain that Arvind Kejriwal, the Fallen Hero of not so long ago, has risen again.
And the mighty BJP has lost its plot at the election that may look least important numerically, but could be the most significant in terms of reversing its winning streak.
The exit polls had already predicted that the BJP was losing it in Delhi, but we all know that these exit polls can go haywire too, given the small sample size as compared to the sets of population(s) these exit poll surveys cover. So I decided to check it out myself.
You can call it a columnist's validation of the exit poll results in a rather crude manner. I spent the 7th and the 8th travelling on several Metro trains, talking to as many different people as I could talk to.
One thing was clear in my head at the end of my little exercise and that was that the exit polls were spot on. The results have validated the same hypothesis.
An overwhelming majority of my respondents told me that the BJP would lose these elections. Now that the results are almost declared, I reproduce the reasons put forth by the common man of Delhi on why the BJP lost.
Where were the Vijay Goels, the Vijendra Guptas and Vijay Kumar Malhotras of the BJP in this election?
Do you recall the Modi rallies in Delhi during the parliamentary elections? Well if your memory is frail, let me remind you that Modi declared that he had Three Vijays (Victories) in Delhi: Vijay Goel, Vijendra Gupta and Vijay Kumar Malhotra in the Delhi BJP! Not to forget that Vijay Jolly too was one of the most vociferous campaigners in 2014.
Did you hear these names in 2015?
The 3 Vijays along with Harsh Vardhan are the four top BJP leaders in Delhi.
They were all upset at being upstaged, with Kiran Bedi being parachuted from nowhere and made the CM candidate.
These four stalwarts command huge respect among the BJP's Delhi cadres which quite dislikes the complete takeover of the party machinery by the Gujarati twosome.
The BJP's rank and file didn't work to win these elections. Plain and simple.
Kiran Bedi was the WRONG choice to start with
If there was one man who could be compared with Arvind Kejriwal in terms of probity in public life, it was Dr Harsh Vardhan.
One young fellow traveler had some very searching questions to ask 'his' party. He asked, "Why was Dr Harsh Vardhan not named the chief ministerial candidate? Why was he shifted from the health ministry to whichever ministry he heads now?"
The BJP's rank and file doesn't like Kiran Bedi.
Another fellow traveler on the Yellow line asked, "What has Kiran Bedi achieved till now in public life? Just a reputation of being a confrontationist tough cop! How are her achievements greater than that of Dr Harsh Vardhan, the man who eradicated polio?"
How is the BJP different from the Congress?
Another middle-aged fellow traveler took out the Hindustan Times and showed me two half and two quarter page advertisements of the Modi government's print propaganda. Each advert had a prominent picture of our PM, Narendra Modi!
He asked me, "Didn't the PM make explicit remarks about his aversion for his picture being included in the advertisements? Was he serious? If yes, then why is it that his mug shot is splattered all over the dailies?"
A businessman (I learnt later that he had definite right-wing leanings) said, "Sudhirbhai, this government is no different than the Congress government. MGNREGA, the useless dole-giving scheme, is in full flow. The much maligned UID Aadhar card programme is intact."
"The Planning Commission has a new name and it is some NITI Aayaog. The relationship between India and the USA, between India and China and between India and Pakistan remains the same. The ministry of corporate affairs and the registrar of companies still remain their dormant selves," he continued.
"What has changed? Really nothing."
It is all about Arvind's humility versus the BJP's ostentatious behaviour
The thin looking man who politely offered his seat to an elderly gentleman told me, "Sudhirji. Look at Arvind Kejriwal. He is apologising for the mistakes he committed last time. How many leaders have the guts to apologise? He says he is sorry and asks for forgiveness. And it isn't artificial!"
"How can we not trust a man who seeks forgiveness? The boy has remained so simple. Still wearing that middle size, red-coloured, sweater and the light pants. He doesn't even have a decent pair of shoes! He wears thick socks and then over that he wears 200 rupee sandals. So much like one of us! How can we not give him another chance?"
"And what is Modi Sir doing? He changes clothes three times a day (I swear he said it) and wears designer clothes. He isn't the son of a simple chaiwallah we voted for. He has become a style icon!"
Congress-mukht Bharat didn't mean replacing a Gandhi by a Modi
The most telling comment came from a very young girl who is in her first year of college. I learnt that she is studying sociology at Delhi university.
"Uncleji, if the BJP wins, the BJPwallahs would say that people have reposed their trust and their faith in the prime minister. But if the BJP loses, the chamchas will attribute it to the local leadership!"
"Is it not how Congressmen have shielded their Rahulbaba? So how is the BJP culture different from the Congress culture?"
This defeat could be the best thing that could happen to the BJP. It could stop its transformation into another Congress-like party.
I also hope it will tell BJP think-tanks to take the people more seriously. Only empty promises of 'so many smart cities' and 'so much of black money repatriation' won't work. And just by being a buddy of Obama (or 'Barack') won't help.
It is time to deliver on tall promises.
It is time to dismantle the PR juggernaut and the publicity blitzkrieg.
It is Delivery time, Mr Prime Minister.
Image: Kiran Bedi, left, and Satish Upadhaya greet Shazia Ilmi, right, as she joins the BJP.