BJP leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has analysed the Delhi 2013 election results with less than fair conclusions. Jaitley's Facebook post is lacking on a few fronts. Here's how:
|Clever with the whole truth|
Jaitley: The AAP may have got lesser votes and seats than the BJP. However, that is not a ground for satisfaction for the BJP.
Fact: Yes. The BJP vote share has gone down this time. In hindsight, it appears that Narendra Modi may have stemmed the slide considerably with his multiple interventions and rallies.
Jaitley: The BJP’s march to comfortable majority has been interrupted by AAP.
Fact: Yes. Much of the liberal vote went to the AAP. Some BJP voters too may have chosen the AAP.
Jaitley: The lesson of the 32 constituencies that the BJP has won clearly reveals that most candidates who were well grounded in the constituencies and appeared to be electorally acceptable have won.
Fact: The figure of 32 includes an Akali Dal MLA from Rajouri Garden in west Delhi where the AAP had withdrawn its candidate for dishonesty, an unprecedented move in recent times. Not all the BJP nominees won on work alone. They benefited from an anti-Congress mood.
Jaitley: The lesson for the BJP of these results is that the credibility-quotient counts in an election.
Fact: Yes. This is largely because of the AAP. The Left parties used to say this in the past.
Jaitley: The image of the leadership, as also of the candidate, must inspire confidence amongst the voters.
Fact: Not entirely true. Sheila Dikshit was the best chief minister in Delhi's history but it didn't matter. For perspective, Harsh Vardhan would have been a minister in Dikshit's cabinet. Not her rival.
Jaitley: The announcement of Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s name as the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate helped the BJP.
Fact: Yes. He is the least oily in the Delhi BJP.
Jaitley: Those who have a track record of serving their constituency well, have a better chance of being elected.
Fact: Yes, although Dikshit would be wondering about this now. She actively transformed Delhi - from a mofussil town living off its political primacy to a global metropolis brimming with energy.
Jaitley: Just getting a party nomination even in a stronghold is not enough.
Fact: Yes. It's an old truth.
Jaitley: The days of conventional politics are now over.
Fact: Yes. The AAP has demonstrated this beyond doubt. This is where the AAP may be different from other new parties like the Praja Rajyam Party, which took the old, traditional route and merged with a bigger party for gain. Btw, Rahul Gandhi has been saying the same thing for the past few years.
Jaitley: Is the AAP merely a freak phenomenon?
Fact: No. It's the result of superb planning and political architecture swiftly built on the goodwill generated by the Jan Lok Pal movement. Jaitley is being too clever here. The BJP too was looked down upon for many years. Jaitley lacks the objective touch here.
Jaitley: Or is it [AAP] going to be a lasting experiment?
Fact: Too early to even raise this doubt. The BJP and the Congress have continually minimised the relevance of the AAP. They first said the movement would fizzle out. Then, they dared them to enter mainstream politics. Now, they wonder if they would last. Much of this was said of the BJP too.
Jaitley: This party is unconventional.
Fact: No. The birth and growth of the AAP mirrors the birth and growth of the Indian National Congress. The Congress was built on a movement and benefited from the popular support it generated. The AAP too has been erected on a popular movement and has benefited from it. It's a time-tested method.
Jaitley: It has attempted to exploit the general mood of cynicism.
Fact: The BJP does so more than any other party. The BJP aggressively stokes anger and resentment in people. Its campaign has been hugely negative for the past decade. Much of the cynicism in the India of today comes from the BJP. Not the AAP.
Jaitley: It has made unrealistic promises and does not want to sit in a position of responsibility where it has to walk its talk.
Fact: No. The AAP is looking for a bigger victory so it can form a government in Delhi. The AAP is perhaps the most government-ready party in Delhi at the moment.
Jaitley: The very suggestion of being in government to implement its policy and promises appears to be scary for this party.
Fact: No. Of all the parties in Delhi, the AAP has put in the maximum effort to think things through. They have acquired a better sense of Delhi than the older parties in a much shorter time.
Jaitley: In a democracy, the voters vote in order to elect the government.
Fact: No. Indians tend to vote negatively most of the time. They look to punish a party. They seek to express anger. It is only now that a few governments [other than the Left Front in West Bengal] have begun to win repeat terms.
Jaitley: When there are no clear majorities, the government formation is an art of the possible.
Fact: This is the worst of Jaitley's lines. This is a clever masking of the bitter truth. Big parties, the BJP included, have paid enormous sums of money to win support when they didn't have the necessary numbers. The 'art of the possible' is exactly what the voter doesn't want in Delhi. AAP's success indicates that the voter may be looking for the art of truth. The voter could respond even more angrily to immoral attempts to form a government - and the huge monetary payoffs that breed corruption.
Jaitley: The Congress Party can give the AAP outside support in order to form a government.
Fact: It cannot. It is not the responsibility of the Congress to help anyone else form a government. This is a low attempt to tar both the AAP and the Congress. If anything, the RSS and the BJP helped the Jan Lok Pal movement.
Jaitley: In power, such a party would be like a fish out of water.
Fact: No. There's a first time for everybody. The AAP has superb talent in its ranks. Prashant Bhushan, for instance, is a match to Jaitley in matters of the law.
Jaitley: It is possible to make exaggerated promises, and capture the imagination of a few by making unimplementable promises.
Fact: Yes. The BJP and Narendra Modi do it more than anyone else in India. The Congress has been fumbling to even tell people of its achievements like the RTI and the RTE.
Jaitley: The strategy of the party is to avoid power rather than be in a position to implement the unimplementable.
Fact: No. The AAP is thinking right. It will have none of the past methods of garnering a majority in the House. The chances are that the AAP could get close to 40 seats if another election is held in Delhi.
Vijay Simha is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Mail him here.