Delhi Elections: Mamata May Find It Tough To Replicate Kejriwal’s Strategy, Says Yogendra Yadav
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s return to power in Delhi riding on a development-focused campaign is believed to have offered a template to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party’s nationalism and religion-based narrative. But according to psephologist-turned-politician Yogendra Yadav, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has a tougher job on her hands when that state goes to polls in 2021.
There is a history of deep communal polarisation in West Bengal which is much more muted in Delhi, Yadav, president of Swaraj India, told BloombergQuint in an interview. “In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee might find it much more difficult [to fight on local issues].”
It is the existence of emotive issues, the presence of Bangladeshis and Hindu-Muslim tensions in the eastern state that are likely to play to the BJP’s advantage, said Yadav, a founding member of the AAP who later quit the party. “This as opposed to a three-tier structure in Delhi which often militates against the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won 18 out of 42 parliamentary seats in its best performance in West Bengal. And it’s expected to mount an aggressive campaign for the next assembly polls, focusing on the National Citizen Register and the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Even in the last two weeks of the campaign in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party focused on the two emotive issues, and the protests they evoked in Muslim-dominated Shaheen Bagh area. Anurag Thakur, a minister in Modi’s cabinet, called for “shooting down the traitors”, while Parvesh Verma, a BJP MP, said protesters were “rapists and murderers”.
Kejriwal’s AAP, however, stuck to issues like water supply, education, free electricity and bus rides for women. The party either won or was leading on 62 of the 70 assembly seats in Delhi, according to numbers updated as of 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The BJP won or led in eight.
The most important thing about this election nationally is that it indicates that a vitriolic campaign, one of naked communal mobilisation indulged by the BJP, does not succeed. This, fortunately, will not become a national template, which it could have become if the BJP had succeeded with the kind of campaign that it did.Yogendra Yadav, President, Swaraj India
According to Yadav, the era of Modi magic is nearly over and the BJP must rethink its poll strategy. Delhi is the ninth consecutive state polls where the BJP was a serious contender and lost, he pointed out.
He said the AAP has come a long way from being an insurgent in the existing political structure to a party which has been able to retain power with dominance, it must expand its ground. “But limitations of one individual (party leader) could come in the way of becoming a dominant player in other states.”
Watch the full interview with Yadav here: