New Delhi, Jan 31: The Delhi Assembly election has become a question of credibility for the Bharatiya Janata Party. This is the first time since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not the face of the party. The Delhi elections have completely been Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal versus Home Minister Amit Shah. Interestingly, this has happened at a time when Shah is not the party president.
In fact, during Shah's tenure as the party chief after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has faced Assembly elections in almost all states. In some of these states, the Chief Ministers were the face of the party, whereas in most states Modi was synonymous with the BJP.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Chief Ministers were the face of the BJP while the party showed confidence in B.S. Yediyurappa in Karnataka and Kiran Bedi in Delhi.
However, in the rest of the states Modi was the facade of the party.
After the Lok Sabha elections, the party once again joined the poll fray in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand with schemes from the Central government and Modi.
Due to the unpopularity of the local leadership, Shah took over the reins of the Delhi elections.
Shah gave a nationalism turn to the polls after the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Shaheen Bagh. This is for the first time in the last five years that the opposition is targeting Shah instead of Modi.
After the Lok Sabha elections, Shah has suddenly emerged as a nationalist face in the party.
After the repeal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill even in the absence of a majority in the Rajya Sabha, Shah has suddenly emerged as the new face of Hindutva in the party. If Shah wins the Delhi election then the BJP will not have to project PM Modi in every poll.
But why did Amit Shah become an unannounced face in Delhi?
"Modi is the only face of the BJP and the party is contesting Delhi election putting him in front. But Shah has emerged as the 'main architect' this time. His strategies, hold on the entire organisation, his popularity among party cadre, way of work and leadership quality always attract party workers," said Manoj Yadav, who is looking after the media management of the party for this election.
Shah voluntarily took over all the responsibilities with the announcement of the elections and is working with full force. According to his close aides, Shah is spending around 18 hours every day in making strategies and campaigning.
PM Modi, who generally plays a vital role for the BJP in every election, is now keeping away from the campaigning. He has not addressed even a single rally since the announcement of the elections in Delhi. However, he is scheduled to address two rallies on February 3 and 4.
Actually, the BJP follows a strategy of not giving responsibilities to leaders above 75 years of age. This means, the party will contest the final election under the leadership of PM Modi in 2024. Modi will be celebrating his 75th birthday in 2025.