The Delhi unit president, Manoj Tiwari (read Tiwari’s interview to The Indian Express here), was brought in in 2017 just ahead of the municipal polls. BJP managed to retain its hold on all three corporations and Tiwari’s role in consolidating the “poorvanchal” vote was seen as a crucial factor.
The poorvanchal factor
In Delhi, “poorvanchalis” — those with roots in eastern UP and Bihar — are increasingly viewed as a major vote bank, with AAP in 2015 highlighting how it had given tickets to the highest number of poorvanchali candidates.
The estimated poorvanchali population in Delhi is around 35 per cent. While they were considered a significant block in east and northeast Delhi till a few years ago, the poorvanchali population has spread out across the city over the past two decades, and parts of south and outer Delhi are now considered poorvanchali strongholds.
AAP has managed to consolidate its support in these areas in these polls, with party candidates leading in Narela, Burari, Badli, Rithala, Sultanpur Majra, Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar and Sangam Vihar along with areas in northeast Delhi.
Infighting within BJP
Infighting within BJP — several Delhi leaders have been routinely projected as the face of the party in the city-state — also became clear in November and December, but dissent was clamped down by the central leadership swiftly.
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Setback for BJP’s strategy
With AAP’s win, and presuming AAP completes its 5-year term, BJP will be out of power in the National Capital for a total of 27 years. Winning these polls was also about projecting an image in a city where the central government runs from and where the municipal corporations have seen BJP rule for over 12 years now.
BJP brought to Delhi over 200 MPs, 11 Chief Ministers, several senior party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other Union ministers.
On BJP posters, Modi’s was the only BJP face, but on the ground, the election work was spearheaded by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who held 52 roadshows across the city.
Shaheen Bagh and anti-CAA protests entered BJP’s campaign vocabulary several days into January. Before that, BJP’s campaign revolved around trying to bust AAP’s narrative of work done by it.
However, AAP, by and large, had cemented its narrative of work before the election became about issues of governance versus nationalism.
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