BJP, like in many earlier assembly polls is lagging behind Delhi. It’s time for the party to introspect, understand local issues and put popular and charismatic leaders at the helm. It’s time they realized that Modi magic works at the national level. But they need to approach state elections differently.

By Anil Sharma

With the BJP not being able to win in Delhi assembly polls (till the filing of this report at 11.15 AM when AAP was leading on 56 constituencies and BJP on 14),  even after going all out and putting all its might behind the election campaign, the time has come for the party to devise a strategy which is not based on national issues but local issues.

In fact the party has to change its narrative at least while contesting in state assembly polls. Talking on national issues in assembly elections is not helping BJP in any of these state polls.

In India one clear trend that is emerging is that voters, unlike few years ago, have started to vote differently in assembly polls and parliament elections and time has come for the BJP to realise this.

If we analyse the facts, it’s clear that  BJP since December 2018 when the party lost three important states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh has not been able to perform satisfactorily in assembly polls held after these polls.

So what is going wrong with the party in the assembly polls ?

First is the narrative. Voters in assembly polls are not swayed by issues like Ram Mandir, Article 370, CAA and NRC. While these issues are important at the national level they are not addressing issues that voters face at the local level.

So what are the voters looking at in the assembly polls?  Voters want to hear more on development, mainly on BSP (bijli {electricity}, Sadak{roads), pani (water) and this is where AAP seems to have been able to make a mark in Delhi.

In fact the entire campaign strategy has to be worked around local issues rather than national ones when a party like BJP takes to assembly polls.

Economic  slowdown and  joblessness are also proving to be big issues in the assembly polls. BJP needs to tackle it fast as another important election in Bihar is due before the end of this year.

Whatever one says Delhi was an important election for the BJP and though the party has been able to perform much better than the last polls, the fact is that AAP is still ahead. This is despite the fact the party did put all its might to win the election with CMs of BJP ruled states, home minister Amit Shah,  other cabinet ministers and former CMs canvassing in the state.  Every party does this and no one wants to lose in any poll and nothing is wrong in this. Yet BJP failed to dominate.

Delhi is a big loss because it is a state which has a massive migrant population which includes people from Purvanchal, Uttra Khand, UP, MP, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and other states. Delhi is just like a microcosm of India and it does give a sense of how voters are exercising their franchaise.

The second thing that BJP should consider after these polls in Delhi is the state leadership and not leave everything to Narendra Modi and Shah. Leaders like Manoj Tiwari in Delhi have failed to win over voters.  In spite of him being a Purvanchali he has failed to woo voters from Purvanchal and as per the reports coming in from Purvanchali areas, AAP was ahead in over 70 percent of the constituencies.

AAP or Congress or for that matter other opposition parties like NCP are doing better where they have got strong local satraps or state leaders.

Don’t forget what happened In Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Jharkhand. It was because of strong state leaders like Captain Amrinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot and Kamalnath. Because of these old guards and very popular leaders in their home states, Congress was able to come back to power.

It clearly means that so far opposition parties are doing well only in assembly polls where they havea strong state leadership, but even these local popular state leaders fail when it comes to parliament polls.

A strong leader like maybe Dr. Harsh Vardhan or maybe some other charismatic leader would have helped BJP do better against Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.

As we had mentioned in our previous article, BJP has to go once again to the drawing tableand field more charismatic leaders in assembly polls. This could include leaders like Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan. Raje beyond doubt is the most charismatic BJP leader in Rajasthan and now is the time for the party to give her a free hand so that it can perform better in Rajasthan. Likewise, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and other charismatic leaders should be given a more important role.

Losing assembly elections one by one is certainly a cause of worry for the BJP and the party has to introspect and work out a strategy to win in assembly polls and not only target winning in national polls.

So BJP has to break this myth of performing weak in state elections. And nothing better than winning in forthcoming important assembly polls in Bihar.