What enabled AAP to defeat BJP in the MCD elections?

Political Analysis on the cause that resulted in massive victory of AAP

by Subhechcha Ganguly
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The Aam Aadmi Party made headway in the MCD elections by focusing on those who benefited from its government’s programmes, making Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal the face of its campaign, and promising a ‘double engine’ of its own with the same party ruling the state and the civic body. These were the main contributing factors.

The BJP had significant anti-incumbency after holding office for three terms, lacked a state leader with the same level of popularity as Kejriwal, and the MCD it led was unable to overcome the impression that it was mired in corruption and marked by ineptitude. Nevertheless, on counting day, it was able to start out strong and scare AAP before eventually falling behind.The win wasn’t “a walkover,” as one senior AAP leader put it. It took six months of very hard work. Without their negative campaigning, in which they talked about sharaab rather than garbage, the BJP’s vote total would have been lower. Their story resonated in affluent neighborhoods, where the BJP already has a base of supporters who rely on stories to cast their ballots. But eventually the charges fell through.

This is supported by data from the Delhi State Election Commission, which shows that while rural areas and portions of Northeast Delhi saw the highest voting percentages on Sunday, posh neighbourhoods in South Delhi saw the lowest.The majority of persons who benefit from the Delhi government’s programmes, from power subsidies to free bus rides for women, reside in poorer neighbourhoods, including unofficial colonies, JJ clusters, and rural peasants. Another AAP lawmaker remarked, “People here know only the Kejriwal government works for them.

Another AAP legislator also brought up the distinction between upscale neighborhoods, where RWAs are in charge, and poorer areas of the city, where problems are more deeply rooted. He claimed that the former are more susceptible to “noise on TV,” and since the MCD elections don’t produce the same level of “noise” as Assembly or Lok Sabha polls, more affluent neighbourhoods tend to miss them.

In fact, a senior BJP official recognised the “lack of imagination” on the part of his party to effectively combat the AAP. “To those who were already gaining from Kejriwal’s plans, we had nothing fresh to give. “Rs 2,000 saved on electricity and Rs 1,000 saved on bus travel add up for someone working in Delhi and sending money back to his village,” he said. “We must compete on Kejriwal’s field of play if we hope to defeat him.”However, the AAP’s promise to middle-class neighbourhoods that having the same councillor and MLA in your region would make it easier to have your problems handled went hand in hand with the campaign’s focus on the marginalised. An AAP leader explained that the slogan “Kejriwal ki sarkar, Kejriwal ka parshad” was framed with these voters in mind: “Colonies where RWAs function, they would often find themselves stuck between our MLAs and BJP councillors.” They forget about ideology once they realise that their voices will be heard more frequently, he claimed.

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