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BJP faced with task of finding out reasons for debacle in Delhi polls as AAP marches to victory

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The BJP was trounced in the Delhi assembly polls against the expectations of its top leaders, as the saffron party trailed far behind the AAP that returned to power with 62 seats in the 70-member legislature.

Although the BJP managed to improve its vote share to over 39 percent as compared to 32.19 percent in the 2015 elections, the increase did not materialise in sufficient number of seats to bring the party back to power after a gap of over two decades.

The party managed to win 8 seats, registering a slight increase from the three it had bagged in 2015.

In the over three-week long high voltage campaign for the polls, the BJP leadership including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi assailed AAP and Kejriwal over a host of issues including the Shaheen Bagh protest against the amended citizenship law and their alleged failure to come up with schools, hospitals and other facilities promised by them.

Shah would end his election speeches by appealing to people to press the electronic voting machine (EVM) buttons with such anger that its "current" was felt at Shaheen Bagh.

Objectionable statements also came from BJP leaders like MP Parvesh Verma and Union minister Anurag Thakur resulting in the Election Commission imposing temporary bans on campaigning by them.

The opposition AAP and Congress accused the BJP of running a campaign of "division and hatred" in the elections.

A section of Delhi BJP leaders held that the party went "overboard" while focusing on its agenda of "Hindutva and nationalism" in the campaign.

"With party leaders seen prompting slogans like 'shoot the traitor' and giving speeches and terming a chief minister as terrorist in election campaign, you cannot expect to have a positive response from the masses," said a top BJP leader.

However Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari rejected the charge of opposition parties that his party fought the polls on a "divisive" agenda.

"We do not practice of hatred, our principle is 'sabka saath sabka vikas'. In elections much is talked about as per emerging developments. But, we would never want that some people block a road for protest and cause problems to others. We opposed it (Shaheen Bagh road block) in the past and still do," Tiwari said.

Some BJP leaders also cited lack of a chief ministerial face, organisational shortcomings, failure to reach out to voters in unauthorised colonies and JJ clusters, and differences of leaders in Delhi party unit as possible reasons for the party's "humiliating" defeat.

Tiwari, however, said the causes of BJP's debacle will be "reviewed" on the party forum.

BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain alleged that the party's poor show was due to Congress "shifting" its votes to the AAP in the elections.

"BJP is the only party which has gained and our seat tally increased while even the number of AAP seats has gone down. Congress shifted its vote to the AAP yet we gave a good fight," Hussain told reporters at the Delhi BJP office.

The results have come as a rude shock to the BJP that had fought the Delhi polls under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.

Shah, who had spearheaded the party's poll campaign, had predicted that BJP would win more than 45 seats. Tiwari had tweeted that BJP will form the government in Delhi by winning 48 seats and had even dared people to save his tweet.

The BJP has been out of power in Delhi for over two decades.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 11 2020. 19:54 IST
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