63/70: In Delhi, development trumps hate

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Editorial

“Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they”

The epic words of Dylan Thomas could not be more apt for the period the Indian democracy is cruising through. After the spate of violence, Pakistan bashing, and the chaotic political narrative, the Delhi Assembly election results are a ray of hope. After a high-decibel and vicious campaign by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the results indicate that people still value work over hollow rhetorics and have chosen it in the face of Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party(AAP).

Also read: Delhi Elections: ‘Thank you Delhi for protecting India’s soul’, tweets Prashant Kishor after AAP takes leads

The BJP had mounted a massive campaign under Amit Shah, who relegated Shaheen Bagh to Pakistan, while his colleagues called the sitting chief minister, a terrorist. The campaign and the pitch fell flat on February 11. Exhibit A: Okhla constituency, which encompasses Shaheen Bagh voted for Amanthullah Khan (AAP) with a massive margin of nearly one lakh. The saffron party, however, improved its tally from 2015 all thanks to an unstoppable home minister, who touched every nook and corner of the NCT to re-energise his core voter shying away from the party. Not only he shifted the campaign narrative from development to India-Pakistan hatred, also successfully rallied the entire brass of the party to camp in Delhi.

Also read: Delhi Elections: AAP’s Manish Sisodia wins after big scare in Delhi elections

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A major takeaway from the polls is the consistent decimation of the Congress, which might need another “rehaul”. The poor campaigning, lack of leadership and growing faultlines within the state unit worsened the grand old party’s conditions in the state and national politics. While the party can revel in the fact that BJP could not ascend to power, there is a need for a complete overhaul and structural reform to boost the cadre’s spirit, which at the moment is broken.

As Kejriwal makes a hat-trick at the helm of affairs, the party has emerged as the alternative to Congress, completely capitalising on the party’s votes in the city. The attitude change and the tweak in the strategy of ending its confrontational stance with the Centre have paid dividends for AAP which needs to be maintained when necessary.  The party, now, has a mammoth task at hand to sustain the developmental track it has taken. The mandate is a testament to people’s aspirations of getting a better education, cheaper electricity, cleaner air, and drinkable water, and Kejriwal will have to deliver.

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The results reinvigorate hope for the Indian democracy, which has seen divisive tacts, dark rhetoric, and a violent approach but manages to keep on as Thomas in his poem says, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

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