EVM tampering row: What if Arvind Kejriwal wins MCD Elections 2017?

Vaibhav Tiwari
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is celebrating his 49th birthday on August 16, 2017. Here's a look at how Kejriwal has gone from direct criticism of the Modi government to subtle indirect attacks in the past one year.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s convenor Arvind Kejriwal has been declaring that if the electronic voting machines are used for the upcoming Delhi Municipal Elections 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party will win as the machines that are brought for the polls have been tampered with to ensure BJP’s win. On Monday, he took the fight to a mythological level. The mercurial leader, in trademark melodramatic style, equated the Bharatiya Janata Party with Duryodhana (a mythological character), whereas the Election Commission with Dhritarashtra. The analogy is outright funny, only that Kejriwal is not joking.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has been producing stellar performances in assembly elections for the past three years. However, ever since the party won in Uttar Pradesh, Arvind Kejriwal is leveling serious charges at the Election Commission that it is aiding the party in power at the Centre to sweep polls. Arvind Kejriwal had demanded that ballot paper should be brought back. After the EC didn’t entertain his demand, he demanded that the poll should be deferred to accommodate his demand of a paper ballot. He has pressed the gas on the issue, while not highlighting the Aam Aadmi Party government’s policies in the state or even the poll promises. He is keeping the heat on the issue, emphatically predicting that the Bharatiya Janata Party will win with the existing system. It is a dangerous statement to make before the elections.

Arvind Kejriwal had demanded that ballot paper should be brought back. After the EC didn’t entertain his demand, he demanded that the poll should be deferred to accommodate his demand of a paper ballot. He has pressed the gas on the issue, while not highlighting the Aam Aadmi Party government’s policies in the state or even the poll promises. He is keeping the heat on the issue, emphatically predicting that the Bharatiya Janata Party will win with the existing system. It is a dangerous statement to make before the elections.

Political parties never admit that they would not win. Politics is all about fighting, and accepting defeat before elections is a sure shot defeat. In fact, some parties don’t even accept defeat after being trounced by rivals. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP and Mayawati’s BSP are prime examples. Both leaders had dismissed their defeats as EVM tampering. However, Mayawati will never say before elections that she is losing. But Kejriwal is not thinking twice these days before making sweeping comments. (Also read: Arvind Kejriwal compares Election Commission to ‘Dhritarashtra’, says commission using every trick to bring ‘Duryodhana’ to power)

Even as Arvind Kejriwal is continually making sharp comments at the Election Commission, his party leaders are busy campaigning for the MCD polls across the national capital. This contradicts Arvind Kejriwal’s rhetoric that the Bharatiya Janata Party would win. Notwithstanding the EVM tampering row, the AAP is contesting the elections and is hopeful for a win. The big question is: What if, somehow, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP wins MCD polls?

When the Aam Aadmi Party defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015 in Delhi, they were in a jubilant mood and the question of EVM tampering didn’t arise. However, when they couldn’t get the expected result in Punjab and Goa in 2017, the party’s only analysis was that they lost due to EVM tampering. It must be noted that the early gains that the party made in Punjab in the run up to assembly elections in Punjab, were lost after its infighting. Analysts say the fallout of talks with Sidhu and the absence of a chief ministerial face also contributed to the party’s win. However, the AAP didn’t come up with any reason for its loss. It pinned the entire blame on the EVMs. The party will have a tough time explaining if it wins. It should be asked from Arvind Kejriwal, what action would he take if he wins MCD polls?

Attacking the Election Commission is a carefully crafted strategy. The party completely shifted the onus of Punjab defeat and hence it helped to keep the morale of its volunteers high. If it wins the elections, Kejriwal would claim the credit for his party’s stupendous work. If he loses, he would pin the blame on the EVMs to snatch the credit from the BJP for the win.

Whether AAP wins or loses, the biggest losers will be the people who voted Arvind Kejriwal to power thinking he was the political alternative they had been searching for. The Shunglu committee report hurt the AAP’s image of a political party with a difference as the committee talked about the misuse of their official position. Its chief, Arvind Kejriwal was trying to pass off the personal legal bill as governments. The self-proclaimed political alternative has become as mainstream as other parties.

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