The Battle for the Capital

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Politics

A preview to the Delhi elections.

Delhi is preparing itself for yet another election. It shouldn't have been expected for another few more years. But thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and his 'commitment phobia' as some would like to call it, it's going to happen a lot sooner than expected. The mercurial rise of the Aam Admi Party over the past few years has been phenomenal. Their rise can be attributed to mainly two things; The Congress Party's inability to keep a clean chit and some of BJP's controversial leaders.

Now that Delhi is at the cusp of having a new Chief Minister, we have Kiran Bedi as BJP's CM candidate, Arvind Kejriwal for the AAP and Ajay Maken for the INC. Recent voting trend suggests that Ajay Maken won't even be in the picture. A two-way tussle between Bedi and Kejriwal looks very likely.

Unlike the rest of the states in India, Delhi is in fact not a state nor a Union Territory. It's called the National Capital Territory of Delhi. And like what the name suggests the ties with state and the national governments are very strong. So the possibility of Kiran Bedi and BJP being favoured is definitely on the cards. But Kejriwal won't go down without a fight. The AAP has a much larger manifesto with so many ideas put into it, which they claim they will be fully committed to this time around.

Kiran Bedi's life is well documented in our country. And there is more than enough stuff to make a blockbuster movie out of it. A multiple time junior National Tennis champion, the first woman IPS officer and a career highlighted by forward thinking and pragmatic reforms. An unblemished career despite a few hiccups with her superiors and politicians from time to time. But her decision to join the BJP has raised a few eyebrows. Especially after tweeting a few anti-Modi tweets a few years ago; all of which have since been deleted of course. And then there is the fact that the BJP loathed her for many reasons during her time as a cop. Another interesting thing is that both Bedi and Kejriwal were part of 'team Anna Hazare' as recently as 2012. So the question begs, is Kiran Bedi an opportunist? Should the fact that she discarded her views and ideologies with the blink of an eye for a possible CM seat in the capital be taken into account come Feb 7th?

Arvind Kejriwal on the other hand is another highly qualified candidate, an IIT graduate, a former Joint Commissioner of the Income Tax department and of course the previous incumbent of the CM's post in Delhi. When Kejriwal came into power in Dec 2013, a lot was expected of him. He huffed and puffed, but after just 49 days he gave in his resignation. Kejriwal argues that the BJP's and Congress Party's stance against the Jan Lokpal Bill was the main reason behind his refusal to continue in power. To some extent it might be true. Or maybe he thought he could go one better and aim for the top job; the PM's seat. But eventually it all backfired after the BJP completely dominated the national elections and culminated in Narendra Modi becoming the PM. Kejriwal has since admitted that it was a mistake to resign and that he would fulfill the promises given to the people of Delhi if he was given another chance.                         

Ajay Maken a former Union Minister himself is fighting a lost cause. The anti-Congress sentiment in Delhi is at an all-time high. It would be a miracle if the Congress Party manages to come out on top against the BJP or the AAP. Maken, to be fair to him is trying everything to get the people's attention.

When Kejriwal challenged Bedi to a debate, Maken took opportunity to put his name in the reckoning by challenging both Kejriwal and Bedi to a debate. To be honest, the INC doesn't deserve to be there. It's like they have forgotten how to play the game. The general consensus is that it will be Bedi vs Kejriwal, and people seem to have forgotten about the INC altogether. It's time they regroup and start from scratch, if they hope to make any sort of impression in the future.

When Modi came into power it wasn't a fluke. They spent millions on campaigning and marketing their brand name. They completely dominated social media and told the things what people wanted to hear, and they carefully selected and filtered their image to the general public. It was all well planned and they executed it to perfection with ruthless efficiency. As Feb 7th nears, there is growing belief that a hung assembly is on the cards yet again. Delhi is preparing itself to witness yet another drama unfold.


written by
Ryan Gomez