How Kejriwal Won Again !! -
How Kejriwal Won Again !!
Posted 11 Feb 2020 06:02 PM


Arvind Kejriwal is set to take oath as the Delhi chief minister for the third straight time. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has retained power in Delhi on the back of an extremely bitter election campaign.

The BJP, the principal challenger, had gone full throttle with Prime Minister Narendra Modi referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest at Shaheen Bagh had accused the AAP and its leader Kejriwal of supporting anti-national elements.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and a host of leaders -- some of whom made controversial comments inviting the ire of the Election Commission -- were relentless in their campaign in Delhi. But Kejriwal held his sway over Delhi, which had voted for the BJP in all seven Lok Sabha constituencies only eight months ago when the AAP finished at a distant third place in the national election.

So how did Kejriwal turned the tide in his favor?


"Vote for us only if our government has worked over the past five years. Else vote for the BJP." This was how Arvind Kejriwal sought to vote for his AAP during the election campaign in Delhi. Kejriwal cited free electricity, free water, education reforms, better health services, and zero corruption among others as achievements of the AAP government while seeking vote for the party.

In 2013 and 2015 election campaigns, Kejriwal had pitched his AAP as the party that would defeat the BJP and Congress's "design" of increasing electricity rate and school fees and offer free water to every household.

In the past five years, the Kejriwal government made power consumption up to 200 units free, halved the electricity rate for power consumption up to 400 units, gave free water supply up to 20,000 liters and stopped private schools from hiking fees for full five years.

The health services which were better than most of the states in Delhi earlier as well improved further under the Kejriwal government. Kejriwal developed an ecosystem, also involving his party members, to ensure that hospitals under the Delhi government treated patients well and that medicines were made available free to every patient. The prompt ambulance services generated much goodwill among the people for Kejriwal and the AAP.


Hindutva plank has worked for the BJP for years. The Congress tried to go with soft Hindutva with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hopping temples during the Lok Sabha election. But they failed. Their failure was blamed on their strategy to over-attack PM Modi, who has emerged as the biggest vote aggregator. But Modi's appeal seems to be limited to the Lok Sabha election. In the Vidhan Sabha election, it has been a different ball game altogether.

Learning from the tactical mistake made by Rahul Gandhi's Congress, Kejriwal and his AAP always appeared shy of targeting PM Modi directly. Kejriwal, who had in previous assembly elections had rejected the support from religious leaders - Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid of Delhi being the most notable, projected his Hindu identity frequently on and off social media.

In the last lap of the Delhi election campaign, Kejriwal presented himself as a devotee of Lord Hanuman, known in legends and epic Ramayana as an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the most ardent follower of Lord Ram. He also visited a popular Hanuman temple in Delhi.

Kejriwal was criticized for asserting his Hindu identity on social media and at public events but the party insiders said this move countered the BJP's attempt to paint him and the AAP as anti-Hindu. This helped the AAP offset polarisation that the BJP attempted in the Delhi election, the AAP leaders said.


The middle-class had overwhelmingly supported the BJP in the Lok Sabha election. That had given the BJP hope that it could retain the middle-class support in Delhi. Kejriwal went out to the middle-class voters offering freebies concerning their daily-life household needs and presenting a picture of an honest government.

Kejriwal was heard saying at public events that the people have decided "Modi for Centre and Kejriwal for Delhi". In his rallies, election meetings, and TV interviews, Kejriwal cleverly backed this narrative topping it up with a warning that "the BJP would not help you get treatment in hospitals, lessen electricity bills and ensure quality and affordable education" in Delhi. These are the daily worries of middle and lower-middle-class people.

Further, the involvement of a large number of salaried professionals in the volunteer force of the AAP helped the party connect with the voters better. These "educated and well-informed" volunteers of the AAP "explained" to the voters they contacted to focus on factors concerning local government in the Delhi election. This worked for them.


The Delhi election is likely to go a long way in establishing the credibility of the AAP as a serious political party and Arvind Kejriwal among the top political faces of the country with a bright potential in the future. This conclusion from the Delhi election looks more emphatic considering what would have been the future of the AAP and Kejriwal had they lost power in the national capital.

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