By Sakshi Abrol:
‘Vanity comes before a fall’, goes an old saying, and the despicable fall of BJP in the power-packed revolutionary Delhi elections testifies to it.
‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’, goes another antiquated saying and the phenomenal victory of the Aam Aadmi Party with a spectacular majority testifies to it.
What the Delhi Voters were Quick to See:
Psephologists are quick to point out that the histrionics created by BJP in the course of this election did not go too well with Delhiites who are now tired of rhetoric and do not want to be impressed. They do not get enamoured by leaders standing on a higher pedestal basking in the glory of doing ‘big things’. They are neither carried away by the panache with which a leader executes himself during high-profile visits by VVIPs from across the globe. On the contrary, they heap scorn and turn their noses in disdain to a leader who chooses to call himself a ‘leader of the masses’ while ostentatiously dressing up to greet a foreign President, staging a monumental affront to all the people who can barely afford to cover their skins. Clearly, the elitist suit that Modi donned did not go too well with the voters who are no longer delusional but are aspirational. Of course, what Mr. Prime Minister wears is his personal choice and since he is on the losing end, there will be all sorts of allegations raised against him including the one criticizing his attire! The fact, however, is that there was a greater metaphorical meaning attached to such actions by the Prime Minister that mere symbolism can narrate and the mature voters of Delhi were quick to pick it up.
What the BJP ought to have Avoided:
The man who was seen as a humble ‘son of a chai-wala’ and an outsider to the establishment during the Lok Sabha elections had suddenly become a ‘superior being’ talking from the top while his opponent was reduced to being an ‘ordinary man’ speaking from amongst the people. The ‘Pradhan Sevak’ for whom the people voted in the Lok Sabha had suddenly become arrogant and elitist and the people chose to find refuge in a party that seems to offer an alternate form of politics. A form of politics sans the exclusionary VIP culture, coming from the people, where there is no hierarchical relationship between the ‘governing class’ and those who are ‘being governed’; this was what the AAP came to be associated with.
The Mature Electorate:
It is not just the BJP but also our dexterous psephologists who couldn’t gauge the voter sentiment correctly. It was assumed that the battle would be neck-to-neck between BJP and AAP but as it turned out to be, the victory for AAP was decisive. A crystal clear mandate coming from the voters is an articulation of the fact that they do not want to repeat the previous mistakes and lose out a year. The political maturity exhibited by the denizens of Delhi is something to cheer about. The last few weeks in Delhi have been electric and have given people the much needed entertainment relief. They cheered and laughed along when the self-proclaimed gurus and saadhvis reduced Hindu women to child bearing machines and spoke about ‘gharvapsi’. It is always fun to listen to fanatics speaking but you can’t take them seriously, can you? Calling Kejriwal names and coming out with colourful posters castigating AAP only helped BJP make Delhi voters laugh at those silly jokes. It clearly did not do anything to change their minds in favour of the celebrated face of BJP in Delhi- Madam Kiran Bedi. The voters of Delhi were smart enough to let this be an entertaining affair for them while BJP thought it would woo them with histrionics alone.
Hope in the Politics of AAP:
AAP on the other hand was structured on a more resonating spirit of ‘volunteerism’, the same spirit that RSS was once a champion of. AAP valiantly mastered the art of ‘positive campaigning’ with a number of vision documents, mandates, Delhi durbar etc., which none other party could clearly do. BJP tried to build castles in mid-air while its local political unit in Delhi lay in shambles. The volunteers of AAP on the other hand, came from within the people and thus reached out to them. Political analysts may regard this as a revolution in Indian politics.
An ordinary Delhiite is not interested in such hypothesis. Most people just want a safe and clean city with sufficient drinking water, affordable electricity, less congested roads, co-operative police officials who do not demand bribes and are more approachable. They don’t have much to do with changing political consciousness of a rising social democracy and hence they have pinned their hopes on the Aam Aadmi Party. The elections could or could not be a revolution yet, but can definitely be the beginning of one in the capital of India.