The Aam Admi Party’s (AAP ) landslide victory in Delhi assembly polls, winning an unprecedented nine-tenth majority, has stunned the opposition BJP as the party’s road to power in 2017 Himachal Assembly Polls might not be as an easy ride.
Despite the Congres being wiped out in the Delhi polls, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is not a worried man. Currently drawing flak from the BJP on charges of poor governance, corruption and deterioration law and order, apart from ‘mafia-rule’, the saffron party’s rout in the national capital has given Virbhadra a reason to rejoice.
CM Virbhadra blamed the BJP for its ‘arrogance’ and accused its state leadership of making attempts to destabilise his government instead of playing the role of a ‘constructive opposition’.
Yet, few congress leaders say Delhi results are a signal for the party in Himachal Pradesh to deliver on its promises and provide a corruption-free government. But it’s now the BJP which faces high stakes as it has been hoping to return to power when Himachal goes to the polls in 2017.
Two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who had led the BJP in the 2012 polls against a beleaguered congress veteran (Virbhadra), is already facing the party’s apathy. During the past two years, he had been a target of the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau that had filed a series of cases against him and his son Anurag Thakur.
Dhumal, during Lok Sabha polls, had predicted that Virbhadra government will not last for more than two months after Narendra Modi becomes prime minister. Contrary to his public claims, Virbhadra completed two years in power in December 2014 and is still going strong. Voices of dissent against CM Virbhadra also remains at a low-pitch, and Modi’s return has not made any difference.
It’s rather Dhumal who has not got the central leadership’s backing to fight his congress rival despite Modi being his political mentor in 1998, when he ( Dhumal) headed a BJP coalition government with Sukh Ram’s backing. The rise of J P Nadda, a new national leader (now union health minister) from Himachal Pradesh in two years time, seems to have eclipsed Dhumal’s chances. Till he gets a clear signal from Delhi to lead the party in 2017, Dhumal will have to bide time.
Yet, before this, AAP’s state convenor and former BJP MP Dr Rajan Sushant has also set his eye to play a spoilsport for the BJP. “Himachal will see a replay of Delhi in 2017. By next few months, the AAP will have its own feet to stand. My focus is to create a strong party structure and thereafter start a mass movement on basic (ground) issues,” he told the Indian Express.
When asked which party is going to be his main target, Sushant said “to me, both are two sides of the same coin. Congress is wiped out of the country and BJP is on its way out. So, it’s BJP which will have to worry more as the party has made false promises to grab power at the centre. It’s being fully exposed now. Delhi results are warning signals.”
When reminded that third-front’s have failed in the state, he said “yes I admit regional parties have failed. AAP is not a regional outfit but a national alternate.”
Meanwhile veteran BJP leader Shanta Kumar has called for a deep self-introspection by the BJP, which despite an outstanding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, have faced a rout. On the contrary, AAP which performed so badly in the Lok Sabha polls, has made a stunning comeback.
“AAP and Arvind Kejriwal deserves appreciation for a marvelous victory and BJP should introspect it’s defeat”, Shanta Kumar said.