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BJP's defeat puts question mark on Capital's favourite politician

BJP's defeat has put a question mark on the future of Dehi's favourite politician -- Madan Lal Khurana -- who has won more elections here than any other leader.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2003 20:15 IST
Pankaj Vohra
Pankaj Vohra

The saddest part about the BJP's defeat in the capital is that it has put a question mark on the political future of the city's favourite politician -- Madan Lal Khurana -- who has won more elections here than any other leader, past or present.

The victory of the Congress here was not as much because of the lack of effort by the street fighter as he is known as it was due to a strong anti incumbency against the Centre exploited fully by the present CM, Sheila Dikshit. But in any case, it will be difficult to determine whether the verdict in the capital was a Capital punishment for Khurana or the Central government.

Khurana -- who has won 10 out of 11 elections -- he has contested including four to the Lok Sabha was unable throughout to keep pace with factors he had never encountered before. For one he had never faced a rival like Dikshit who represented the aspirations of the new Delhi and at the same time wrested the middle class constituency from right under the BJP's nose.

All the same he decided to take the Congress head on and took out a Parivartan Yatra which took him accross the entire city covering virtually all the 70 assembly segments. He took personal interest in working out permutations and combinations at the constituency level and set up friendly independents to cut into the Congress vote bank.

His calculation was that he would be able to repeat the 1993 experiment where the third front had helped the BJP to come to power in Delhi. This apparently has not happened. Obviously, there was a miscalculation somewhere.

The question which arises is that whether Khurana's style of politics has become outdated with demographic and other changes taking place so rapidly or has he become a victim of the high voltage media propoganda which went totally in favour of his opponent.

Khurana no doubt in every debate he had with Dikshit was clearly the winner if one went by the exchanges on issues but the perception continued to favour her probably because of her TV presence and appeal to the opinion makers as against those whose cause the BJP leader was trying to espouse.

Like Chaudhury Brehm Perkash (Delhi's first CM) and H.K.L.Bhagat, Khurana's name is synonymous with Delhi. His heart beats for the capital and arguably he could have done more for the city than any other leader.

But his comeback attempts to get to the CM's chair fell on the wayside due to his inability to see the changing times where marketing perhaps matters more than performance, freshness more than battle scars and image more than experience. It is anybody's guess but his plight could have been better if the electronic media had not evolved so rapidly in his capital.

While many of his colleagues fell by the wayside in this battle, Khurana held on to his own and romped home victorious. His inability to become the CM could mean that the Punjabi stranglehold over the city to which they migrated as refugees after the unfortunate partition maybe coming to an end.

New migrants and new power seekers may eventually fill the vaccum. While it is for Khurana and his party to decide on his political future, the journey of a man who made a humble beginning from a small room in Paharganj to become the Chief Minister and then a Union Minister seems to be at cross roads. BJP has lost but if it had not been for Khurana, it would have disappeared from Delhi in this election.

First Published: Dec 04, 2003 20:13 IST