1 The decision to keep Delhi in limbo for five more months till the Assembly was dissolved in October is bound to haunt the BJP. If they had gone to polls soon after the emphatic victory in the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014, as section of Delhi BJP leaders pushed for, the results, many say, would have been different.
Slow off the start
2 When the Delhi Assembly was dissolved late in October, AAP was ready with a new campaign and released its first list of candidates two weeks later. By January, AAP had nominated 62 candidates. In contrast, BJP sat up only after Modi’s poorly-attended rally on January 10.
Kiran Bedi gambit
3 Importing Kiran Bedi, a rank outsider, into the party fold and then dubbing her the party’s CM candidate raised more eyebrows within the BJP than outside. It was a big setback for the old guard that had waited patiently since 1998 and saw their big chance now.
Who’s in charge?
4 Days after Bedi was nominated the CM candidate, BJP commercials still had Modi as the face of the campaign. Even within the state unit, leaders were unclear whose orders they were to follow.
5The new model of campaigning that Amit Shah brought with him, where he controlled state elections down to the booth level, worked in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and J&K. Not in Delhi. Whether it was nomination of candidates or ads, senior leaders sulked on being left out.
6 As AAP went full steam ahead, a worried BJP began bringing leaders from other parties — Krishna Tirath, Shazia Ilmi, etc. While Ilmi did not contest, Tirath and other leaders from Congress and AAP were given tickets from seats of their choice. None of the turncoats won.
7 First signs of trouble in the Delhi BJP came after the party released list of candidates. State leaders such as Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay thronged the BJP national headquarters and state offices chanting slogans against the leadership.
8 When Modi launched the campaign, he clearly singled out AAP as BJP’s opposition. The PM went on to target AAP’s core vote base — the urban poor — and announced power and water sops, issues on which AAP has been campaigning. Senior leaders claimed the BJP tried too hard to beat AAP at its own game instead of focusing on development.
9 While the AAP spoke of sops, promises and WiFi, BJP chose to lampoon its opponents. From radio jingles calling the former Delhi CM a “bhagoda (runaway)” and cartoons attacking Kejriwal personally, the BJP campaign focused on berating AAP and Congress, not deliverables.
Niranjan Jyoti & 200 MPs
10 Weeks before elections were announced, BJP decided to flood Delhi with more than 200 MPs in what was to be a show of strength. But this move soon backfired. Some like Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti shot off their mouths, derailing BJP’s plans.