As campaigning enters the final week in the Delhi Assembly elections, the BJP, which was poised to score a landslide victory one month back, seems to find itself on a sticky wicket. A series of setbacks and miscalculations has proved to give much-needed ammunition to its main challenger Aam Aadmi Party, which has intensified its campaign.
Here are some indicators why the BJP may have the going tough in this election.
1. The manifesto blunder
Late on Wednesday, BJP’s chief ministerial nominee spelt out her vision for Delhi on Twitter with the hashtag #kiransblueprint. In tweets one after another, Bedi listed out 25 measures she would implement to ensure women security in the national capital. While her lucid stand on such a sensitive issue is well appreciated, it left her party colleagues wondering as to whether the formal manifesto document, on which they were working, would be relevant when it is released. The tension became palpable today when the party declared that it would not release a manifesto for Delhi. Instead the BJP said it would bring out a vision document. This confusion over the manifesto clearly points to disarray within party ranks.
2. Opinion polls
If opinion polls by different media networks are to be believed. the BJP is fast losing favour with the Delhi electorate. The latest ABP news-Nielsen poll shows that the AAP has a distinct edge over the BJP with around 50 per cent of respondents deciding to vote for AAP. Arvind Kejriwal, chief of the AAP, also remains the most popular chief ministerial contender with 51% support of respondents, way above than Bedi (40%). The Hindustan Times-C fore survey claims that both parties are neck-to-neck in the polls with Kejriwal clearly the favourite among CM nominees.
3. Late in declaring candidates
While the Aam Aadmi Party got a clinical headstart by declaring its candidates well in advance, the BJP took a massive gamble by delaying its candidate selection. In most constituencies, while the voters knew who the AAP and Congress candidate were, they still had no idea about the BJP nominee.
4. Dissent in party
While the induction of Bedi into the party was seen by many as a strategic move to counter Kejriwal, her immediate nomination as the chief ministerial candidate surprised many and led to widespread dissent within the state unit. Manoj Tiwari’s statement that the party needs a leader, not a ‘thanedaar’ was a signal that all’s not well within the saffron party. On the lines of the Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand elections, the BJP could have campaigned under the leadership of Narendra Modi, but there are indications that it took a grave step by nominating a new entrant as its face in the polls.