Here is a complete list of states in India where BJP has a significant presence: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarkahand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, Jammu and Delhi.
Now think about all the performance of the BJP in all these places since 1998. The BJP is ruling 8 (9 if you count Assam already) of these states currently and in between has had Chief Ministers in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarkhand(twice!), Himachal (twice!) and held Dy. CM post in Bihar for 8 years. It is currently sitting on 21 of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats and only a desperate Mahagahtbandhan could stop them from winning Bihar last year…the BJP in Bihar Assembly is the largest party in vote share, beating its nearest rival the RJD by a solid 6% margin.
The exception is Delhi. Let us briefly recall the record of BJP in Delhi to fully understand just how pathetic it is.
The BJP has had one government in Delhi in the early 90s, during which period they changed 3 Chief Ministers (Madan Lal Khurana, Saheb Singh Verma and Sushma Swaraj).
Since then they lost 3 successive Assembly elections miserably to the Congress party in Delhi.
In both 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, BJP ended up with a BIG ZERO out of Delhi’s 7 Lok Sabha seats.
In 2013, despite the nation being in the grip of a massive anti-Congress wave spearheaded by Modi, the BJP ended up short of a majority with just 32/70 and was upstaged by a raw outsider. Kejriwal formed a party and did in 1 year what the BJP had been struggling to do since 1998.
Even after winning 7-0 in the LS 2014 polls, BJP did not have the confidence to decimate Kejriwal by calling for fresh Assembly elections. Had Delhi elections happened in June 2014, the BJP could have won without a single day of campaigning…
Just 9 months later, Kejriwal beat the Delhi BJP in a knockout punch, getting more than 50% of the vote and reducing the BJP to just 3 seats!
Add to this the fact that Delhi is a pure urban place with a massive middle class presence and minimal caste barriers (compared to other states) and you begin to see the disaster called BJP Delhi unit.
But maybe it’s not just about the BJP Delhi unit. I am beginning to suspect that Delhi as a whole has turned against BJP for a whole generation now. In fact, Delhi is the opposite of Karnataka which is a state that has turned decisively in BJP favor for a generation (I will blog about this separately). In 2014, they were temporarily pacified by Modi’s presence in the game.
In fact, it should be noted that in 2014, the BJP swept Delhi winning 47% of the vote. While that is a fantastic vote share to get, note that Kejriwal swept Delhi in 2015 winning 54% of the vote!
Wait…it gets worse! If you thought 54% was huge, remember that Delhi gave Manmohan Singh 57% in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls!
So, here are the scores in Delhi:
Manmohan Singh : 57%
Arvind Kejriwal : 54%
Narendra Modi: 47%
Yes, the uninspiring Manmohan Singh is the champion of Delhi. The pugnacious Kejriwal comes in 2nd and Modi is last! Even though Delhi did feel the Modi wave in 2014, it was less enthusiastic about Modi than it was at the time it embraced Kejriwal or Manmohan Singh! This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the country where the BJP’s victory margins in most of its core areas were historic... I remember even NDTV anchors shaking their heads at the 2014 margins of the BJP, usually all above 2 lakh votes…one stunned anchor remarked that the margins are so HUGE that the BJP should be awarded 2 seats per seat!
The conclusion is inescapable: Delhi has become a natural Congress state.
Of course, when I say “Congress state”, I don’t mean just the Congress party. I mean that the city has become infected deeply with the sickularist / elitist / anti-Hindu brand of politics represented by the Congress party.
The question is why. Who did this? Delhi had been a hotbed for anti-Congress politics. With Hindu refugees from Pakistan flooding into Delhi after 1947, the Jan Sangh/ BJP used to have massive traction in Delhi. After 1984 anti-Sikh riots, things became worse for the Congress. But what happened since 1998?
And more importantly, can the disaster in Delhi spread to other major cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru?
My guess is no. Delhi IS different from other metropolitan cities in one key aspect. The city is an island, not embedded into a larger state with its own culture. Marathi speaking people my now be a minority in Mumbai itself, but the city remains embedded in the larger culture of Maharashtra. I don’t know the exact demographics of Bengaluru, but it is safe to say that the proportion of non-Kannadigas is growing constantly. But as long as Bengaluru remains capital of Karnataka, it stays rooted in the culture of Karnataka. This is not about specific states or cultures…it is about being rooted.
The Union Territory of Delhi became rootless. Delhi lost touch with its core Indianness. Add to the mix the fake reality created by Delhi based media and the city’s politics came to be dominated by non-Indic thinking.
Yesterday there came the results of bypolls to 13 seats of the MCD. The results were as follows:
Cong 4 (+1 seat won by a Congress rebel who immediately rejoined)
Now, I could chalk up these results to anti-incumbency against the BJP ruled MCD. I could chalk up these results to poor uninspiring leadership of Delhi BJP. But the shocker is in the vote shares. Lakhs of people voted in these elections, so this is better data than any opinion poll:
BJP : 34%
What? How is this even possible? The BJP is by far the largest party in vote share but a poor third in terms of seats! I can give you a couple of examples where the largest party in vote share doesn’t end up with the most seats, but in those the gap is merely 1-1.5%. But here its a clear 5% vote share lead for BJP over its nearest rival AAP in a multi-cornered contest. This should have been a SWEEP for BJP. But by some miracle, BJP has ended up with just 3/13! It’s an electoral paradox so amazing that I will remember it for a long long time…
So, what explains this? The only way to see this is that there is now a solid 55% chunk of Delhi electorate that is dead set against BJP. This vote flows back and forth seamlessly between Congress and AAP and votes tactically to defeat the BJP. I am sure all peacefuls (~10%) are in this 55% but that’s not the problem. Peacefuls vote tactically against BJP everywhere. The problem is the other 45% who are voting tactically against BJP. They are Hindus and Sikhs who have turned deeply anti-Hindu in their political thinking… This is the REAL lesson that the BJP has to think about in Delhi…And elsewhere, if they want to keep the virus from spreading…
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PS: Tamilnad polls have become really interesting. I know nothing about the state, but my guess is a win for Amma. Let’s see tomorrow…