The RSS, the ruling BJP’s ideological mentor, has questioned the decision to project former IPS officer Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate for the Delhi assembly polls and listed reasons for the party’s drubbing in the elections.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in a three-part cover story in the latest issue of its fortnightly publication Panchjanya, listed the sidelining of dedicated party workers and leaders as one of the possible reasons for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s loss in Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi Party had been projected to win the Delhi assembly polls but it stunned other political parties by bagging all but three of the seats in the 70-member House. The BJP won the remaining seats. This was the party’s first major electoral defeat since Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to victory in last year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Even before the poll results were declared on February 10, the Organiser, the English journal of the RSS, had said in an article that Bedi’s induction as the chief ministerial candidate had caused “resentment among a section within the state unit” of the BJP. Bedi lost from Krishna Nagar constituency, for long a stronghold for the BJP.
The Panchjanya’s cover story said: “The question is why did the BJP lose? Was the decision to make Kiran Bedi the chief ministerial candidate correct? Would the results have been different if Harsh Vardhan or any other BJP member from Delhi had been chosen as the chief ministerial candidate?”
One part of the article, titled “Akankshaon ki udaan' (Flight of aspirations)” and written by Hitesh Shankar, questioned the BJP leadership’s role in the debacle and called for introspection.
"BJP leaders will have to answer if they have any asset other than ideology and party workers who remain committed in all circumstances. If some people in the organization and the government think that the BJP is some kind of machine that can act at their whims, then this wrong impression should be dispelled after these results,” the article said.
“It is the result of the BJP workers' dedication and commitment to the ideology that the ground did not move for the BJP,” it added.
Another part of the cover story written by Manoj Varma questioned whether the BJP failed to take the achievements of its government at the centre to the people and whether the party was too dependent on the “Modi wave”.
In a tacit reference to disquiet within the BJP over the induction of Bedi, the article said, "Or did BJP lose because of the lack of unity in the organization, planning and, most importantly, respect for the sentiments of workers?”
BJP leaders have reacted to the poll results by saying that the responsibility for the loss will have to be shared collectively and that the party is still analyzing the reasons for its defeat.
The article further questioned whether AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal would be able to deliver on the promises made by his party during the election campaign. “In fact, one big question coming to the people's mind is will Kejriwal and his party be able to fulfill all the promises they made during the campaigning?” it said.
It contended that Kejriwal could blame the Union government for not supporting the Delhi administration in meeting challenges and even become part of “non-Congress, non-BJP parties” to put pressure on Modi.
The article, however, concluded that everything was not lost for the BJP, which won 280 seats in parliament in last year’s general election.