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Capital punishment for BJP

india Updated: May 17, 2009 04:30 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It is the most humiliating rout for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Capital since 1984 — the last time it had lost all seven seats to the Congress.

So much so, that Saturday’s verdict has left many within the Delhi BJP, wondering — is it the end of the road for the party in Delhi?

Even as senior BJP leaders went into a huddle to analyse the reason for the dismal performance, political analysts said the result should serve as a warning bell for the BJP.

“The BJP’s result in Delhi is very worrisome,” said party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad. “It does not augur well for the party in the Capital.”

Local leaders cite a host of reasons that have, over the last few years, resulted in the BJP slowly losing its hold on Delhi.

No charismatic leaders

Political observers say the BJP’s failure to groom young, charismatic leaders in Delhi cost it the Capital.

“The BJP’s old guard — be it Madan Lal Khurana or V.K. Malhotra — are past their political prime,” said a BJP leader who did not wish to be named. “After them, there is no second rung of leaders of that stature.” Delhi mayor Arti Mehra (45) said: “It’s time to groom a new generation.”

Infighting

In the run-up to ticket distribution for the Delhi seats, infighting led to the party delaying its decision to announce candidates from two crucial seats — New Delhi and West Delhi. Senior leader Vijay Goel and Delhi BJP president O.P. Kohli walked out of a meeting after their candidates were refused tickets.

No credible issues

Observers say over the years, the BJP has failed to raise credible local issues in the city.

“Being the main Opposition, people expected them to raise issues that concern them —be it bad roads or rising cost of essential commodities. But leaders just failed to capitalise on any issue,” said the leader.