By Anindya Banerjee New Delhi, Feb 14 : The BJP on Friday held a day-long meeting at its Delhi headquarters where it found one main reason for its debacle and a solution. There was a unanimity over Congress “going silent” in the last few of days of polling, a fact that could have cost the BJP. Yet it was decided to plan ahead for 2025 Delhi polls, keeping the Congress out of mind.
A BJP general secretary said, “We have come to realize that the Congress, by cedeing its remaining space and minority vote bank to the Aam Aadmi Party, has committed suicide. The Congress can’t take back the vote share it ceded. On the other hand, we have secured almost 39% vote share. In 2025, we will work to make it 50% of the vote share. That should be our target.”
The BJP may have faced a humiliating defeat in Delhi, but its vote share has gone up significantly, making it the highest in the last 27 years. In 1993, the BJP had nearly 48% of total votes polled. The 2020 performance, has been its next best in terms of vote share, ever since.
“It’s too early. We have been getting feedback from those who worked on the ground. But 50% vote share is something we will have to aim at next time to win the state,” he added. In a way, the BJP is readying itself for a situation where it won’t have to depend on Congress playing spoilsport to AAP.
“We may not like it, but Congress would have been BJP’s best bet to success, or so we thought. In the last leg, the party not only went completely silent, but some of our ‘booth prabharis’ told us that in some booths, Congress representatives guided voters towards the AAP desk,” said a senior BJP leader who was present at the BJP review meeting.
“In one instance, according to our karyakartas (workers) present, an old man and a diehard Congress supporter was told by a Congress booth worker at a polling station to vote for AAP,” said a senior BJP leader. The veracity of his claim could not be verified.
This is in sync with the BJP’s Delhi in-charge and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar reportedly pinning the blame on “sudden disappearance” of the Congress. “The (BJP’s) defeat in Delhi elections was because of the sudden disappearance of the Congress. It is a different subject whether the Congress disappeared (on its own), people made it disappear or whether their votes got transferred (to AAP),” Javadekar said at a press conference.
Though there are many other factors such as non-availability of a chief ministerial face, overstretching Shaheen Bagh, bickering in the Delhi unit and inability to sell regularisation of more than 1,700 illegal colonies; ‘Congress’ factor emerged as the primary reason for its poll debacle in Friday’s postmortem.
Friday’s meeting was attended by Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari, national general secretary Arun Singh and Anil Jain among others. The meeting was not only attended by BJP candidates who couldn’t make it but also by counsellors, zonal leaders and even booth level workers.
The review came a day after Tiwari, with whom the BJP seems not to be very happy with, had a long meeting with BJP’s national President J.P. Nadda and General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santosh.
(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)