Bharatiya Janata party is set for a sweeping victory in Delhi Civic Polls with as counting of votes till 11 pm shows the saffron party taking a decisive lead in all three corporations. As per the latest reports, BJP is leading at 184 seats while AAP and Congress have been left far behind at 37 and 40 seats respectively.
BJP’s win could be attributed to various factors. From People’s disenchantment towards the Aam Aadmi Party to party’s decision to not field any sitting councillor in order to beat the anti-incumbency factor. BJP is in power at MCD for 10 years and have also faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement. However, BJP chief Amit Shah’s decision to appoint Bhojpuri-superstar turned politician Manoj Tiwari as Delhi BJP chief was a major game-changer.
For the BJP leadership in Delhi has long been dominated by Punjabi or Punjabi community. Leaders like Vijay Goel, Vijender Gupta, Harsh Vardhan, Saheb Singh Verma, Madan Lal Khurrana have been at the helm of party affairs in the capital. So the shift was not easy. However, BJP’s drubbing in 2014 Delhi assembly polls and subsequent civic-by elections in May 2016 where it secured only 13 seats paved the way for elevation of Tiwary.
Even as Tiwari is a Lok Sabha MP from North-East Delhi, he was looked as an outsider in Delhi BJP. However, due credit should be given to Shah for seeing Tiwary’s huge popularity among migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh settled in the Capital. There are an estimated 40 lakh Poorvanchal voters in Delhi. Tiwary has regularly participated in programmes celebrating Poorvanchal culture. Notedly, the migrant voters were major contributor to Aam Aadmi Party’s victory in 2014.
Along with all-day long road shows, Tiwari also reached out to the voters in Jhuggis and unauthorised colonies, largely considered a stronghold of AAP. He also spent nights there hearing their grievances.
His famous dialogue referring to Hanuman’s surgical strike in Lanka during Ramleela also saw him gaining ground in Delhi. Tiwari’s singing skills also came in handy, his natural streak to musically make out his point has also made him a darling of masses.
Tiwari was also able to roll-out star campaigners for the civic polls, From Textile minister Smriti Irani to actress-turned BJP MP Hema Malini, he left no stone unturned to woo Delhi voters. He was also successful in highlighting the failure of Aam Aadmi Party government. His open challenge for a public debate to Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (a tactic long been practised by AAP chief himself) over development works in the city also positioned him as a strong opponent to AAP.