Mahendra Kumar Sanpal, a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the contemporary headman of the Sindhi Cell of the BJP’s Delhi state unit, proved to be a snollygoster and opportunist when he was voluntarily inducted in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the presence of its supremo and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal on the afternoon of 29th March. Sanpal has been a sedulous member of the BJP for the last three decades, working from Gujarat to Delhi, and has held numerous esteemed positions in the party’s hierarchy in the prior decades. This comes as an anomalous, unprecedented, and unanticipated jolt to the enfeebled, shattered, unorganized, and leadership-meager state unit of the BJP. Conjectures are at their zenith, that the protracted experience of Mr. Sanpal could aid and dilate the gamut of aspirations and election-winning hankering of the AAP in Delhi as well as in Gujarat, where it could vanquish the Indian National Congress (INC) in the forthcoming assembly election in 2022 and emerge as the largest opposition party, if not the ruling one. The results of the recent civic body polls in Gujarat endorse my surmise to a possible extent.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha General Election, amid the massive adoration, acclaim, and marketability of PM Modi after the Balakot Air-strike, the BJP bagged all the 7 seats, and Delhi saw senior leaders and acclaimed government-education-reformist of the AAP like Atishi being trounced by a landslide majority from the newly inducted neophyte-to-politics candidate like the ex-cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir who became triumphant by an overwhelming mandate.
But, less than a year in February 2020, the gigantic swing with the pro-AAP proclivity in the polls corroborated that the people of Delhi are literate and sophisticated as they want to see Narendra Damodardas Modi as the Prime Minister of India, but for Chief Minister, they certainly yearn for the erudite, assiduous and charismatic Arvind Kejriwal, whom they perceive as the messiah and politician from the grassroots who rendered them with cost-effective electricity, buses, world-class government schools which set a new paragon in the rest of the country, Mohalla Clinics, ration, and many other amenities, schemes, provisions, and infrastructures. The results also startled the political pundits, as they observed that the local issues in the case of Delhi defy national, patriotic, communal, and religious issues such as the CAA, NRC, and the NPR, Abolition of Article 370, or the erection of the stupendous Shri Ramjanmbhoomi Temple at Ayodhya shrine. Albeit, BJP escalated from 3 seats in the previous election to 8 seats and also, the Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia had a close shave in the high-profile assembly seat of Patparganj where he managed to thwart the popularity of BJP’s Ravi Negi by merely 3000 votes, exhibiting the discontentment and rage among the assembly’s population towards him and the AAP.
Earlier this month, the results of the municipal by-poll elections were proclaimed in which the AAP won four wards and astonishingly, even the Congress, which had failed to increase its cipher tally in the assembly elections, bagged one from the AAP. And the BJP, which has been ruling the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the last 15 years, drew a blank and lost its bastion ward of Shalimar Bagh to the AAP. This by-poll result is an alarm bell and a cause of trepidation that the next year, in a full-fledged election for all the wards, the marvel of the AAP under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, will triumph over the BJP, and it would certainly have to abdicate the rein of the MCD.
Due to the dearth of a state-unit leadership and zest in the cadre, and with the induction of contentious faces like Kapil Mishra, Tejinder Bagga, and illiterate, defamed and once a Samajwadi Party (SP) stooge actor-singer-cum-ideology-scarce politician Manoj Tiwari, the BJP has nearly lost its ground in Delhi state politics. In the last year, dozens of BJP leaders, ward councilors, and former MLA’s have jumped the ship and perched on the lap of AAP. Kejriwal is akin to PM Modi in certain terms, such as the style of politics, ferocious-oratory, and the mobilization of the targeted throng. Kejriwal is for Delhi, what Modi is for India. Among several crucial factors, the paucity of a credible opposition face is a reason Modi sweeps India in the polls. And in Delhi, the scantiness of a robust, habile, and relentless opposition face is among the several other factors, why Kejriwal sweeps Delhi in the polls. Kejriwal emulated and imbibed Modi’s attributes and political sacraments and swiftly and fiercely built rungs to reach the throne of the Chief Minister, consolidating the mass from all religious and ideological ambit.
The erstwhile and the present president of the state unit of the BJP, i.e., Manoj Tiwari and Adesh Kumar Gupta, both are incompetent in terms of persuasion and mass-mobilization. The former is famed for the renowned Bhojpuri song ‘Rinkiya Ke Papa’ and, we now know the latter for conducting, heading, and being the torchbearer of the vandalization which took place in the office of Raghav Chadha, an eminent youth leader, vice-chairperson of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and MLA from Rajinder Nagar assembly constituency.
To escape this forlorn and state of tumult, the BJP needs to field a young and competent leader like Tejasvi Surya, who could compel, appeal and appease the Hindu vote bank to cast its vote to the BJP. Also, they need to abhor the politics of religion and cult, and at least be disguised to be following the politics of development, healthcare, education, ration, and infrastructure. And they must refrain from passing contentious remarks, like declaring Kejriwal a terrorist or an arsonist and intertwining his party with the Shaheen Bagh Protests. War-mongering in Delhi needs to be abated for a positive projection of the party. Derogatory remarks against the dissenter diminish the cachet of the party. They need to accentuate the cons, alleged corruptions, and the non-fulfilments of the AAP and should frequently interface with the citizenry to regain its lost authority over the realm of modern Delhi.