Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Signs of Desperation

The 2015 round of Assembly Elections have kicked off with a fire in Delhi, with the BJP being forced to abandon its Modi-centric approach that yielded rich dividends in 2014 and induct a host of new faces, the most prominent of them being Kiran Bedi. After looking at the prospect of Kejriwal coming out stronger in a Modi vs Kejriwal contest, that too after the former decisively defeated the latter by a record margin in Varanasi last May, the party has gone in for some desperate measures, albeit with a level of brilliance that has come to be expected from Amit Shah.

Let's be clear - it's not a question of whether the BJP or AAP will be on top. There is no question of the fact that the BJP will have the most seats in the Assembly, by sheer virtue of its stronger base. The real test will be forming a majority government, with enough seats to cross the halfway mark. It is for that challenge that Bedi was roped in, to provide a counter to Kejriwal's rhetoric and win over some of his voters. Indeed, AAP has been unable to tap into the BJP's committed voters, for whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still the most popular leader in the country, and its gains are mostly that of the Congress' voters.

Speaking of the Congress, it is currently putting on a one-man shadow-show, with Ajay Maken attempting to project himself as the face of the party while the party pulls out its top vote-getters from the fray. This strategy is clearly in line with Rahul Gandhi's suicidal strategy of ensuring an AAP victory to stop the Modi juggernaut, even at the cost of the Congress itself. So low has the former 'default OS of India' fallen that it has to work for the victory of a much smaller party to simply counter the BJP. Ajay Maken is just there confuse the shrill media campaign and hide the Congress' true strategy.

For all the media hype though, Delhi is hardly and important contest. It does not represent India in any way, the issues (or lack of them) are entirely different and it is the only place where the English media can actually influence anything. It is not even a full state. The true test of 2015 will be Bihar towards the end of the year - that Amit Shah must capture at all costs. 

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