New Delhi: Was it the choice of V K Malhotra as its chief ministerial candidate or was it the negative campaigning that cost the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dearly in Delhi? The BJP will now have enough time to analyse the reasons behind its third consecutive defeat in the Delhi assembly elections.
The most apt statement summing up the disappointment in the BJP camp came from party president Rajnath Singh who said the results in Delhi were "quite unexpected and shocking".
The BJP was heavily relying on the anti-incumbency factor to dethrone the Congress that has been ruling the national capital for the last 10 years.
LOSING THE BATTLE: V K Malhotra's long career or clean image didn't manage to help him win.
Political analysts, however, had a different viewpoint.
"The Congress has done quite a lot in the past 10 years. I think more than the Congress, people trusted (Chief Minister) Sheila Dikshit to deliver. The people in Delhi voted for good governance and development," Sudha Pai, professor of political science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University here, told IANS.
"The people in Delhi were put off a little by the advertisements on terrorism that the BJP brought out. The BJP also didn't put forward any alternative policy for Delhi's development," she said.
"Don't ask why the BJP lost, instead ask why the Congress won. The Congress won because of the development process," said Niraja Gopal Jayal, professor at JNU's Centre for Study of Law and Governance.
Political analyst N. Bhaskar Rao said: "They (the BJP) peaked out their campaign very early. They had no positive agenda to put forward to Delhiites."
The defeat has again shifted focus on the lack of consensus among party leaders over projecting Malhotra as the chief ministerial candidate - something many analysts too consider as a reason behind the BJP's defeat.
"Personally, I think Arun Jaitley would have been a better choice as the party's chief ministerial candidate. The result in Delhi has been disappointing," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Another BJP leader, Vijay Goel, described the defeat as a golden opportunity lost.
Though he didn't name Malhotra directly, he indirectly attacked the veteran leader who is a five-time parliamentarian and deputy leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.
"Every leader has his own vision. Elections are won on the basis of vision and will power," said Goel.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the selection of the candidates also played a role in the final outcome.