If only, if only the Delhi BJP had put up Smriti Irani as the party's chief ministerial candidate, it would not have faced such an ignominious defeat. Leading in 4 seats? From 33 to 4 is like a screeching halt with both feet slamming the brakes. Imagine, this election was even-stevens until in one sudden instant of extra-suicidal instinct, the BJP put its foot in its mouth by choosing the very genial, auntie-superpower-figure Kiran Bedi, whose earnestness and helpful nature begins to grate any sane TV viewer's patience. Further, when has the electorate ever voted for a honest cop as chief minister, as an astute observer said within my earshot.
If that was the face you went to canvass votes with, God save you. Even Amit Shah and Narendra Modi couldn't help. Modi had a heavy duty rally in Ambedkar Nagar on February 5 where he spoke of the media that ran opinion polls as a saleable item available for any price. He said don't vote for an unstable government referring to AAP but that very party has become such a huge force in this very election. A true King Kong. More attempts were made with allegations of funding from dubious sources including the nudge, nudge moneybags from Dubai, usually parroted to imply the underworld. Ambedkar Nagar is the recipient of the world-famous BRT which the residents hate and is general cause for acute discomfort for South Delhi.
It also houses an enormous migrant labour population.
Modi dismissed the gaffe in the party's Vision Document 2050 (since the usual manifesto just wouldn't do for such great vision that was rapped soundly by the Delhi voters) where people from the Northeast were tagged immigrants, which would mean they were foreigners, instead of the correct migrant. He told the Ambedkar Nagar rally that a molehill was being made into a mountain. He told the people that all was well. February 10 shows they didn't. The ease with which every mistake was glossed over, each U-turn dismissed as media creation was jarring for the people. Let's assume people didn't take offence to all this. They came, in dwindling numbers, then they went home and decided to vote AAP.
BJP leaders have been on the quick to say that this Delhi election is not a referendum on the Modi government. But, surprise, surprise, the enormity of the verdict has just underlined it with red felt pen. The people want change from the self-titled chowkidaar, mere rhetoric and falling oil prices are not enough. That suit he wore when he met Obama also did some damage.
But despite all this, Smriti Irani would have made some difference. She's a Delhi girl and a major TV star, her persona would have made a more direct connect with the people of Delhi. You don't need degrees for that.