I live in East Delhi and vote in the Patparganj constituency. My three-year-old son breaks into the Paanch Saal Kejriwal jingle every now and then. He has heard this number a hundred times over the past few weeks. He has not heard anything else. Neither has his father.
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I am not exaggerating, but till I walked into the booth to vote on Saturday, me the voter did not know who the BJP candidate was in my seat. Me the journalist knew it was Vinod Kumar Binny… that’s my job. But I would be surprised if more than a handful of people in my society knew their BJP candidate, same for the rest of the constituency. Just for the record, I live just by the main road that cuts through this constituency.
Where I saw the BJP was on TV. And their visibility on television was much more than what it was on the ground. But on the small screen they came across as a big party… one that was arrogant and often ignorant of what was happening on the ground just kilometers away. But despite their larger than life appearance on television, they did not use it to tell Delhi what they would do. They used it mostly to run down Aam Aadmi Party’s young spokespersons.
Delhi would sleep over one of these debates and wake up to see the same tone in a BJP advertisement splashed on all newspapers the next morning. Did BJP forget this was Delhi where every stream of media gets the maximum traction? Of course, they had an impact, maybe not a positive one though. Except for the day before the election, there was no ad that said what BJP wanted to do, other than give us more Modi. Even Congress did its bit by saying they would give bijli at Rs 1.50 for the poor.
What was your message, BJP? Maybe now you can show your hand.
And when it came to campaigns, every word that Kiran Bedi said on the trail was a vote, or many, lost for the BJP. Yes, the party realised it, but maybe a bit too late. By the time Bedi finally got laryngitis, Delhi knew that this awe-inspiring policewoman and flag-waving activist, might not make a great chief minister.
Yes, there might be much more to the BJP defeat, including the groundwork of its rival, Delhi’s wish to try something new — for more than 49 days this time — and maybe even a bit of anti-incumbency. But it is hard to overlook the fact that there was something wrong, really wrong with this BJP campaign. And it seems AAP just got that bit right.