File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The results of the Delhi assembly polls were somewhat foretold in the statement of RSS top functionary Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi, who just a day earlier had mentioned that those opposing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were not necessarily opposing the Hindus. He also said the BJP was just a political party and it should not be equated with Hindu being.
The resounding victory of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the just-concluded Delhi polls has shown that a majority of Hindus living in the nation’s Capital have decided to vote against the BJP. The apparatchiks and the propagandists for the BJP are already blaming the “selfish Delhi voters” for having overlooked the “need to care for nation’s security and Hindus safety”.
Unfortunately, the BJP and its sympathisers don’t have to look farther than their own actions in the past three months in the Capital for their rout. The three major campuses in the national Capital — Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Delhi University — have been facing an unrest for the past three months. To a great extent, this has proved to be the major cause for BJP’s thrashing at the hustling.
The campuses have been traumatised by actions of three very incompetent administrators — Delhi police which brutally raided the Jamia campus; Delhi University vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi who has remained non-functional doing little to arrest the brewing unrest on the campus; and JNU vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, who has spent all his energy in acts of subterfuge against his own students and faculty.
The government, committed a grave error of judgment when they thought that these instances of turmoil were limited to just three campuses. If they thought that browbeating the youth was possible through the acts of aggression by the state and non-state players, they should now must have found the answer in the Delhi assembly poll results.
Raiding campuses with cops caning students inside libraries and lavatories and women’s hostels being overrun by masked hoodlums makes for poor optics, something which the ruling party’s media planners should have realised.
These campuses have students not just from Delhi but from across the country; and obviously the harangued students carried with them their tales of horror at the hands of the establishment. A large number of these students come from the areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which have been regaled by BJP’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari for the past several years by his ability of singing and dancing on Bhojpuri tunes.
Tiwari would have won respect of the people had he come to the rescue of these students being hounded out, which had a fairly large number coming from the majority community. He did little on this count and allowed anti-social elements to run amok, threatening even the closure of these campuses, the high and respected seats of learning.
The BJP ostensibly draws a lot of inspiration from ‘Sanatan’ literature but did little to realise that our ancient scriptures are surfeit with texts on student uprisings from the campuses. Bakhtiyar Khilji is a much-hated personality in our history for not having defeated some Hindu king but for having burnt down the Nalanda University.
In an interview with Network18 in October last year, Home Minister Amit Shah had talked with aplomb about his party’s chances in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, the states then going to polls before Delhi, and about West Bengal — the citadel which he envisages to breach. When he was asked about party’s chances in Delhi, he had not unveil a very convincing roadmap.
At first, he had avoided a direct answer if the party would go to polls in with a chief ministerial face, saying it could be the case. But in the same breath he had added that it should not be forgotten that the party, after its debacle in 2015 assembly polls, had won the municipal polls in 2017 and also the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
He had also said these victories in 2017 and 2019 were possible because people were fed up with the governance of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the BJP would be the natural beneficiary of the anti-incumbency factor. The benefit transfer which Shah talked about proved to be easy to claim but insurmountable to achieve.
The Delhi BJP is today an orphaned unit. None of its MPs, with the exception of Dr Harsh Vardhan and to an extent Ramesh Bidhuri, have been involved in the natural growth of the party. Its other MPs, including Manoj Tiwari, are para-dropped leaders who may float well when there is a wave for Narendra Modi but can’t swim when it comes to individual skills.
Kejriwal managed to beat anti-incumbency by an intelligent media and campaign plan, which was complemented by the bouquet of freebies he offered to a large number of voters. Realising that they had little to offer as counter on this count, the BJP went berserk with its aggressive Hinduvta campaign, which at times included brutalising the youth and the students’ community.
Kejriwal could not have asked for a better counter lobbed at him. He smashed it down playing the victim card with style, consolidating the Muslims and Dalits and weaning away the Hindu voters who are not exactly enamoured by BJP’s acts of aggression to overcome its follies of poor governance, especially the state of the economy.
(The writer is a senior journalist and political analyst. Views expressed are personal)
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.