Within one hour of the beginning of MCD election counting today, it has become clear that BJP is heading for a huge win. Until 10.50, the BJP was leading in around 180 seats, Congress on 40, and AAP on 37. The leads show a decline in AAP’s popularity, while the Congress appears to be in a comeback mode but not in the way Ajay Maken-led party would have expected. It is probably for the first time in the country when the election to civic bodies — SDMC, EDMC, and NDMC — hogged national limelight and issues of national concern were also raised during the campaign.
Being the national capital of India, everything that happens in Delhi gets the attention of the people of the country. One explanation often given for this is that most of the national media houses are present in and around Delhi. However, there is more to it. Being the political capital of the country, it is but natural that politics in Delhi is talked about across the country and often plays a crucial role in the performance of parties in elections. For instance, chances of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Punjab and Goa were very much affected by the controversies and performance of AAP in the national Capital.
— BJP Delhi (@BJP4Delhi) April 26, 2017
The result of MCD elections 2017, hence, would have an impact not only on the politics of Delhi but also the country. Here are at least four ways in which this is likely to happen:
Trigger AAP’s rapid decline, loss of face
The MCD election results 2017 may trigger the rapid decline of AAP. Moreover, the party appears adamant not to accept its own follies but blames EVMs for its loss in the recent polls. Even today, AAP leaders blamed the EVMs for BJP’s massive leads when counting started. There have also been talks of an internal rift among AAP leaders. All of this including the unnecessary controversy over EVMs may trigger AAP’s decline fast and loss of face of the party as well as leaders including Kejriwal.
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Keep Congress alive as a force in Delhi and elsewhere
With AAP’s possible decline, Congress would remain alive as the national as well as a local alternative to the BJP in Delhi. In MCD election 2017, Congress is expected to win around 35 seats out of 272. This number may be too small, but if Congress manages to correct its internal affairs, the Grand Old Party would easily manage to get back all voters who opted for AAP in 2015 Assembly elections.
End of Kejriwal’s ambition to become an alternative to PM Narendra Modi
Ever since becoming Delhi CM, Kejriwal has tried to position himself as the national alternative to PM Modi and AAP as the national party. However, it seems Kejriwal and AAP were trying to achieve too much too soon. Coming in the backdrop of AAP’s loss in Punjab and Goa, the MCD loss would certainly mark the end of Kejriwal’s national ambition until he does some miraculous changes in his politics and wins people’s trust.
Make Modi’s win in 2019 easy
If BJP performs its duties in the MCD and manages to address problems faced by people of the state, it would automatically attract media coverage and praise on a daily basis. This would further boost Modi’s image as a man committed to development. However, a poor performance by BJP councilors may dent Modi’s and BJP’s chances in 2019.