Narendra Modi and Kiran Bedi
Narendra Modi (R) gestures to India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministerial candidate for Delhi Kiran Bedi upon his arrival at a campaign rally ahead of state assembly elections in New Delhi.Reuters

As the results of the Delhi assembly elections unfolded on Tuesday, indicating a clear victory for the Aam Aadmi Party, what must have further hurt the Bharatiya Janata Party's ego is the fact that the ruling party is trailing in at least 12 seats it had won in the previous elections.

The moot question here for the party, whose winning juggernaut is set to receive a sharp halt in the Capital, is - "What has changed?"

Even BJP's CM hopeful Kiran Bedi is trailing from the party's 'safe seat' of Krishna Nagar, which it has won in every election since 1998, raising questions of whether the BJP's chief ministerial choice itself backfired.

Bedi put her foot in her mouth too often during the election campaigning, leaving voters wondering if she was fit to take up the post. The fact that she was portrayed as the chief ministerial candidate just days after her induction to the party may have dismayed even staunch supporters who would have preferred to see seasoned party leaders take the post. 

Another mistake the party may have made was to bring in Prime Minister Narendra Modi to endorse the party. While Delhi had voted generously for Modi in last year's Lok Sabha election, the headless city was looking for a credible chief minister this time, and apparently has not bought into the Modi mania.

"Delhi is stand alone," Bedi herself declared from her balcony on Tuesday, suggesting that the results will not be a referendum for the prime minster.

What may have further turned the tables on the BJP is the same anti-Congress sentiment that propelled it to power in the general elections. With Congress losing in almost all seats it has contested from, the votes have in turn gone to AAP instead of BJP, which has pushed the young party further ahead in the race.

Thus a vast portion of the 24% votes that went to the Congress in the 2013 assembly elections have now switched to AAP.

Even Muslims and dalits who had voted for Congress in the last state elections have done "tactical voting" to choose AAP this time, according to Hindustan Times.

Some reports also hold BJP's 'negative' campaign strategy responsible for the poor show, often targeting AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal personally in several of its posters.

Overall, the BJP has much introspection to do after the Delhi elections, something the party may not have done over a year of victorious elections. 

Also read