Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has swept all the 3 civic bodies in Delhi giving a reason for the saffron party to rejoice and, possibly, an occasion for the party’s legislators to worry.
The elections carry wider national ramifications as an emphatic victory for the BJP will only add to its image of invincibility and leave a divided opposition further demoralised in the run-up to the national elections in 2019.
The BJP has held the Capital’s municipal corporations for last 10 years and managed to beat the anti-incumbency by dropping all its sitting councillors.
The strategy to cut on the personal anti-incumbency of the councillors, which might have pulled down the party, worked as the BJP maintained its majority in all the 3 corporations.
As Gujarat chief minister, Modi first used this tactic to win 3 consecutive assembly elections in 2002, 2007 and 2012. Every time, nearly about one-fourths of sitting legislators were replaced. Gujarat has been under uninterrupted BJP rule since 1998 and it will go to polls again later this year.
The BJP might fall back on Modi’s tested and successful tactic to win the western state, which will go to poll simultaneously with the hill state of Himachal Pradesh that the BJP lost to the Congress in 2012.
Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura will have assembly elections between February and April next year. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan will go to polls in December, before the bells ring for the next Lok Sabha election.