New Delhi: Not the provocative speeches by leaders like Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma, but the disconnect of its local councillors and MPs with the masses, under-performance of the MCDs and poor booth management appear to be the immediate causes of the BJP’s crushing defeat in the just concluded Assembly polls in Delhi. It transpired in the brainstorming session held to review the party’s poll debacle that the booth workers of the BJP failed to bring even its traditional voters to the polling centers that essentially led to the defeat. Several BJP functionaries also complained of excessive presence of the national leaders in Delhi during polls which, they felt, was “unnecessary”.
Party leaders, however, unanimously agreed that BJP’s aggressive campaign against the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh resulted in BJP’s biggest vote share in the Assembly polls since 1993. The BJP’s vote share increased to nearly 40%, a rise of nearly 5-6% compared to previous Assembly polls.
Party leaders felt that the party did not handle properly issues such as the AAP government’s freebies and the perception created over the health and education in Delhi. Sources said, the Delhi BJP reacted too late to the AAP’s campaign and gave the ruling party ample space to build on its development narrative.
A BJP leader present in the meeting said the recently concluded membership drive was also questioned as many leaders believed that the same was not translated into votes. The Delhi BJP had claimed to have enrolled nearly 18 lakh members.
“BJP’s dismal performance in West and New Delhi Lok Sabha constituencies gives clear indication that the booth workers failed to bring voters to polling booths. These constituencies comprise largely middle and upper middle class voters that are the core voters of BJP. We clearly lost our traditional voters to AAP,” a party leader said.
Also, poor booth management was blamed for BJP’s loss in 8 Assembly segments that saw close contest with the AAP. This includes the Patparganj Assembly seat where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia managed to win on a thin margin of 3,000 votes after trailing for several rounds.
Several candidates and local functionaries brought up the public displeasure with BJP’s councillors in the MCD and also some MPs. They alleged that some of the BJP MPs were largely missing from their constituencies causing the public anger. They also raised the issue of MCD performance saying it was below the mark in most part of the Delhi and this was one area where the AAP capitalised immensely.
On Friday, the Delhi BJP held a series of meetings to review the poll debacle. The meetings were attended by Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, national general secretaries Arun Singh and Anil Jain and Delhi unit organisation secretary Siddharthan. The meetings were also attended by party candidates, councillors and the local office bearers.
On Thursday, Tiwari met party president J.P. Nadda and general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh for more than two hours at the party headquarters to discuss the Assembly election outcome. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, won 62 of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi, while the BJP bagged the remaining eight seats. The Congress, which had governed the national capital for 15 years before the AAP, failed to win a single seat.