By: Biswajit Mohanty & Jyoti Mishra
Many political commentators have emphasised the differences in ideology and policy platforms between AAP, BJP and Congress to explain the outcome.
Ideologies matter, and people do consider poll promises, but our post-poll surveys show leadership may have been the verdict’s single largest determinant.
All about Kejriwal: The party was a consideration, but the CM candidate emerged the important factor, particularly for those who voted for the AAP. In contrast to the BJP’s party-centric voting pattern, AAP voters chose AAP mostly because of Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal vs Modi: Kejriwal’s personality during the Delhi election proved a stronger factor than Modi’s personality during the Lok Sabha election. While 33 per cent of BJP voters in 2014 had said they would not have voted for BJP had Modi not been the PM candidate, 43 per cent of AAP voters affirmed the same for Kejriwal had he not been CM candidate. Only 18 per cent of the BJP voters said they would have voted for a different party had Kiran Bedi not been the CM candidate.
Bedi backfired: Kiran Bedi’s eleventh-hour projection may have hurt the BJP — 58 percent of those who had voted for the BJP in 2014 were of the view that by selecting Bedi, the BJP had ignored other leaders. Nearly half of them went on to vote for the AAP.
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Janata’s CM: Kejriwal was supported by all sections. However, he was most popular amongst Muslims and Dalits. He connected himself to the people by raising issues that affect them. With the ‘Delhi Dialogue’, he remained much ahead of his BJP counterpart in addressing Delhi’s issues. Among the 54 per cent who wanted to see Kejriwal as the CM, most said it was because of his honesty. The Janata’s leader thus stopped the Bedi-Modi aswamedha from conquering Delhi.
Biswajit Mohanty teaches political science at Deshbandhu College, Delhi University; Jyoti Mishra is with Lokniti, CSDS