AAP makes BJP reflect: Credibility counts
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Alongside the Aam Aadmi Party's performance in Delhi, what has given BJP a cause for introspection is the performance of a candidate the AAP had fielded and then withdrawn support to. By the time the AAP decided not to back Prit Pal Singh from Rajouri Garden, it was too late to withdraw his nomination. His name remained on the EVM, alongside the broom symbol. Such was the impression the broom had created that Prit Pal Singh secured 17,022 votes and finished third even though he had lost the AAP's support.
The importance of image and credibility is a lesson the BJP has acknowledged. "The BJP's march to comfortable majority has not been interrupted by the Congress. It has been interrupted by AAP," Arun Jaitley noted in a post Monday on Facebook. "The lesson for the BJP of these results is that the credibility-quotient counts in an election. The image of the leadership, as also of the candidate, must inspire confidence amongst the voters. Those who have a track record of serving their constituency well, have a better chance of being elected."
A party functionary who campaigned in Delhi conceded the party had failed to select candidates on these counts. "What do you expect when we repeat almost 50 of our candidates from the previous elections without verifying their image and work? We even gave tickets to relatives of party leaders. This was unacceptable when Narendra Modi is going to town taunting 'Shehzade'. Only one of these won, while half our sitting MLAs lost," the leader said.
A party MP, who too campaigned in parts of Delhi, acknowledged the AAP's success will force the party to go back to its original thrust — look at the candidate's conduct first. "(Presumed) winnability and resources for contesting elections appeared to have been the major factors in selecting the candidates," said the MP. "The AAP's performance will force a rethink and restore the primacy of the image of the candidate."