BJP's polarising tactics to win Delhi
By Vijaya Pushkarna
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is the lone star in the Bharatiya Janata Party skies as fierce campaigning for the Delhi assembly elections on Feb 8 gathers steam. The party has no tall leader from the Capital territory in the contest, and though confident of victory, and it has shied away from projecting a possible chief minister.
The reason for Shah and not the current BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda leading the charge against incumbent Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party, is a no brainer.
In the past whenever the saffron party worked to throw out opposition parties in state assembly elections, a recurring assertion would be – if the state and the Centre have the same party in office, coordination becomes easy, funds will flow etc. The party, after all , could not tell the voters that if they elected a non-BJP party, the Modi government would not coordinate, would obstruct flow of development funds etc.
This time the BJP does not talk about coordination or flow of funds, despite the adversary being strong—the AAP reduced the BJP to a three member legislature party winning the remaining 67 of the Delhi Capital Territory’s 70 seats.
They don’t point out the coordination that could happen in a three-tier way either-- the BJP won elections to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation , after the last assembly elections.
And so far there has been no confidence showing from the fact that they won all the 7 parliamentary seats in Lok Sabha 2019.
There is a buzz about Kejriwal and the young party and their performance. The BJP has not been able to create anything like it about the way the Delhi Police, the DDA, and everything that is under the Modi government.
Kejriwal is careful to talk only about the achievements of his government in the last five years. The BJP intended to focus on Kejriwal’s constant confrontation with the Centre, and assert that it had led to a fall in the pace of Delhi’s development. They retracted, possibly they had to. The people of Delhi have personally watched the confrontation, and have a fair idea of who would not let who function. That however is not the only reason why the BJP did not make Kejriwal’s behavior as CM, an issue.
The BJP could not jump into the freebies badwagon of subsidized electricity, free water, mohalla clinics, model schools etc, after having opposed them all these years.
But all those points fell off the BJP’s storyboard when the Shaheen Bagh phenomenon happened, and spread across the country. People had dared to oppose Modi and Shah, the BJP and the RSS, in speaking up against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. And as the anti CAA movement gathered momentum in the midst of terrible news on the economic front, all other ills of this government got tagged on. Union Law Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad hit the nail on the head when he commented, “This protest is not just a protest against CAA it is a protest against Modi.”The BJP’s rank and file has always been intolerant of any criticism aimed at the prime minister.
Modi , being the prime minister ,cannot be as brazen as Shah. The Prime Minister saying, “Vote for the BJP to have a Delhi…where there is no Shaheen Bagh” , or “Press the EVM button so hard that the current is felt in Shaheen Bhagh” would make international headlines for all the wrong reasons. But the same, coming from Shah, will have the desired impact: of polarizing voters communally, even as the opposition may ask him who is trying to dismember Shaheen Bagh and show himself as a member of the real “tukde tukde gang”
Yet,the Prime Minister will address many rallies before campaign grinds to a halt. Modi will talk about his party’s achievements --scrapping Art 370, court verdict in favour of Ram temple and the very controversial CAA, on which he will repeat his half-truth.
"The BJP has won elections in the past that seemed very difficult. Our opponents had been happy, and supporters tense. But whenever our cyber warriors got into the act, we came out victorious," Shah said at the 'Jeet Ki Goonj' , a party event a few days ago. This and his other statements that can galvanize the hardened members of the Hindutva, and doubtless provoke communal frenzy.
Shah's Shaheen Bagh obsession betrays the BJP strategist's desperation .