The People’s Mandate
After a high-voltage and rhetoric-ridden campaign involving many political stalwarts of the country and the subsequent elections to the Delhi assembly, the verdict of the people is finally out. The whole nation was eagerly waiting for the results as the election was held in the backdrop of some controversial moves made by the BJP-led NDA government, especially the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Citizenship Amendment Act that triggered protests across the country, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register. What was supposed to be a three-way contest, between the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, became a duel. Surprisingly, Congress that once ruled the Union Territory for three consecutive terms under late Sheila Dikshit, appeared to have lost confidence after the debacle in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, as it put up a half-hearted fight, for which it will have to face an embarrassing defeat. For BJP, it was a crucial election as it needed a win to tell the world that India rallies behind its moves and also to get out of an uncomfortable situation at the national capital where both houses of parliament are located, is ruled by a rival party. As expected, BJP banked on nationalism to win the hearts of the people whereas AAP tried to cash in on the developmental works it had undertaken during its rule.
Political slugfest continued even after the elections with the Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari claiming that the party would win 48 seats, that too, after the election commission raised many eyebrows by delaying the announcement of voter turnout by several hours, causing concern among the rival parties, especially AAP about the possible tampering of the Electronic Voting Machine. The commotion should have been avoided and it is something that should not be repeated. Amid all the fuss, the citizens of Delhi showed the lawmakers their places on Tuesday, forcing some to slip into unusual silence while others into celebration. The AAP got the mandate of the people once again, winning three straight elections and Arvind Kejriwal is set to become chief minister of the national capital for the third time. It was a huge victory.
The verdict has sent out a resounding message loud and clear that development and accountability are what people want. BJP paid a huge price for resorting to rhetoric instead of assuring the people that it would address real issues like the growing unemployment and economic slowdown besides basic necessities of the populace. It should learn a lesson from this fiasco; that nationalism has become an overused word and stands no chance against developmental works in the long run. The sooner it realises its mistake, the better. On the other hand, AAP let its works do the talking and controlled anti-incumbency wave that usually blows when a party rules for consecutive terms, which is commendable. Now, the party needs to pull up its socks once again to ensure good governance. It will be more challenging this time around as people will expect more from them. Meanwhile, the Congress party has been reduced to the status of a pawn. It is not a positive development for India, as it is needed like any other political party, for a stronger democracy.