Dear Messrs Modi and Shah
I am a BJP voter, as are members of my family. On 16 May, we were over the moon. On 7 February, I voted Nota.
My Modi-bhakt mother voted BJP in her constituency, but only because the candidate is a family friend. The vote was for the individual, not the party. If I had been in that constituency, I would also have voted for the person, not the BJP.
The in-laws of a close friend are not just strong BJP supporters, but have a strong association with the RSS. All of them, except one, voted AAP — even the 85-plus father-in-law, who would switch channels whenever Arvind Kejriwalcame on the TV screen. He thinks you, Mr Modi, have become too arrogant.
We are angry with you. Very angry. And it is this anger which has led to this wipe-out of the party in Delhi. Forget the spin you are putting that the BJP vote share is intact. The fact is many of us refrained from voting for you in some form or the other.
Angry because you appeared to be taking Delhi voters for granted. That just because we gave you seven Lok Sabha seats, we would continue to vote for you even if you did not work to woo us. That you only had to come and address a few election rallies, throw around a few catch phrases and we will all line up and vote BJP.
What else could explain why you did not call for elections in Delhi along with that of other state assemblies? Kejriwal and AAP had started working for assembly elections almost as soon as the Lok Sabha elections were over. We could all see the party working on the ground and were apprehensive that they would recover lost ground. But you ignored those signals. You could have called elections after the BJP did exceedingly well in those state assembly elections. Delhi elections could have been called along with Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand elections. But you did nothing and allowed AAP working quietly but surely to gain strength.
What else could explain why you did not address the many civic issues Delhi faces — especially issues related to the lower middle class that AAP targets – even though Delhi was under central rule and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was dominated by your party? You had eight months, control of the Delhi government and the urban local body and you did zilch. Sheila Dixit asked "who is Arvind Kejriwal" and paid the price. Neither of you used such words, but completely ignoring the AAP was something very similar and now you have paid the price.
I am angry because of the humiliation of Delhi’s leaders who have devoted their lives to working for the party. Many of these people have built up personal relations with their constituents. When Harsh Vardhan was shifted out of the health ministry, many of us were glad that he is being freed up for the Delhi elections. But that did not happen. You put him in an insignificant portfolio and kept him there. And on top of that you parachute Kiran Bedi as chief ministerial candidate. I decided on Nota that very day. My mother got completely put off when Bedi summoned BJP MPs and councillors for a meeting and started talking as if she were already chief minister. She may not even have gone to vote if it were not for personal relations with the candidate.
You may now blame it on internal sabotage. There was no need for sabotage. That one act had completely demoralised party workers and put off steady supporters/sympathisers. And this kind of mood spreads.
Perhaps Bedi was brought in because of the squabbling in the Delhi unit of the party. But it doesn’t say very much for either of you if you have failed to put an end to this wrangling. Many of the young-ish upstarts would not have dared to openly jockey for the chief minister’s post if you had put your weight behind older leaders who inspired confidence among many of us. But you did not do so.
I am angry with your taking in people from AAP, especially Shazia Ilmi and Kiran Bedi. Shazia Ilmi had attacked you, Mr Modi, savagely when she was in AAP. How could she be allowed into the party?
I am also angry with you for your failure to check the Hindutva fringe elements and condemn 'ramzadon vs haramzadon' kind of remarks. Your statement in Parliament seeking to rationalise the remark in the light of the minister’s background was shameful. Like I said, I come from a BJP supporting family, but such remarks do not go down well with many like us. This kind of polarisation may work in the hinterlands of large states, not in a city like Delhi.
I was also puzzled by your silence on the church attacks. When the first attack in Trilokpuri happened, I sensed something fishy. The Jan Sangh and the BJP have been in a dominant position in Delhi ever since I can remember, but churches have never been targeted. Why was it happening suddenly now? This was clearly a mischievous attempt at communal polarisation and to show that minorities were in danger under a BJP government. But there was no attempt to show up the people behind these attacks. Which led to either of two conclusions. One, that some Hindu fringe outfits were behind these attacks and that is why you were silent. Two, the government’s intelligence machinery was not up to the task. Neither of the two scenarios inspired any confidence in your government.
Or did you hope that even though Hindu groups were not behind the attacks, your silence would reap you some electoral gains from the Hindus? If you did, that was a mistake. Because that lost you a lot of votes that would otherwise have gone to the Congress. Some Christian friends of mine had voted for you in May. That is another reason I am angry. You should have gone aggressively after the Congress votes immediately after the Lok Sabha elections, but you chose to ignore Delhi and focus on other states.
In your effort for a Congress-mukt Bharat, what you gave us was a BJP-mukt Delhi.
None of us expected the BJP to do so badly. We are not deriving vicarious pleasure out of this, as Congress sympathisers are. But there is a certain indifference to the BJP’s plight, a sense that this was inevitable given the way the two of you treated Delhi-ites – as a little child that would rush to oblige you whenever you asked. That was your big mistake.
An angry Delhi BJP voter