Riding on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, the BJP seems confident of a victory in Delhi. The new formula — where no state leader is named as the future chief minister and the PM and top national leaders do widespread campaigning, keeping allied at arms length — was successfully applied in Haryana and Maharashtra last month and will be put to test again here. The cadre feels that the PM’s charisma will win the state polls as it did for the Lok Sabha in May when the BJP won all seven seats.
“We know the Modi wave will win us this election. The exercise of mobilising the cadre via jansabhas is to ensure that there be no risk to our victory,” a senior leader said.
It is the first time that the BJP will contest a Delhi Assembly election without a chief ministerial candidate. Unlike last December, when Harsh Vardhan was that face, the party does not want Delhi to slip through its hands because of a “weak” face in the fray. With Modi as the front man, the chances of party’s leaders fighting against one another, as was the case in past elections, is expected to diminish.
“There were always groups who would try to sabotage the election chances of a party candidate as they did not want their rivals to win. With Modi as the face, that will change,” a senior leader said.
One standout point in the party’s pre-poll strategy has been to bring councillors to prominence. While a councillor was appointed as the Delhi unit chief for the first time, two other were given the important posts of the general secretary. Upadhyay had his say in forming the new team and, except Ramesh Bidhuri, none of the MPs form Delhi could make it.
New posts were created to keep on board three MLAs who are said to be close to Upadhyay. Kulwant Rana, Manoj Shokeen and Subhash Sachdeva were made convenors of the three corporations, posts that did not exist in the Delhi unit.
Upadhyay also ensured that responsibility was given to councillors who are expected to play a major role in the forthcoming polls. This is also the first time in that Delhi BJP that a Brahmin has been appointed the party chief. In the past, leaders from the Punjabi and Baniya communities have held the position.
It emerged from the last Assembly polls that the BJP has only one political rival, the AAP. But the state unit has been told to ignore the AAP and focus on connecting directly with voters. “The more we talk about them (AAP), the more credence they get,” a senior BJP leader said.
“Every contestant, be it from the BSP, the SP, the Congress, the AAP or an independent is an equivalent opponent. We will contest against each one of them with the same vigour,” Upadhyay said.