December 13, 2013

Let AAP be the Strongest Alternative!

Aam Aadmi Party was counted off as nothing more than an apostate rebel group – as had been done many times before in the past – that could achieve nothing more than being a minor irritant to the national parties. This perception has undoubtedly been proved wrong in the recently held Delhi state elections. But hold on! AAP is still not there yet. True, they won in Delhi significantly, but there are many more factors. The national capital accounts for nothing more than six Lok Sabha seats and voting in Delhi doesn’t at all represent the prevalent national mood. The fact that the average Delhiite is more politically conscious than voters in other cities (with the exception of Kolkata) and the vast hinterland and rural belt that characterize the real Bharat, tells us the future will be a tougher climb for AAP. Each state has its own issues, their own unique problems that their people are concerned about; and these problems are not necessarily related to the issue of corruption – the most important stand of AAP’s existence – more so given the fact that in India, the corruption plank has mostly not been associated with significantly influencing electoral performance.

Therefore, the preponderance of euphoria and excitement of the urban middle classes behind the success of AAP is fantastic but may not yet be enough. However, based on the perceived image of political parties, AAP stands at the top of the list in terms of its veritably clean image and the role Anna Hazare played as a mentor of the party. The question remains though, is all this enough to win a national election? Typically, AAP has an emotional connect with the urban middle classes; unfortunately, it is only these classes that our media represents. So the euphoria in the media and in the drawing rooms need not necessarily get reflected in the national elections. Realistically speaking, AAP still has to traverse some distance to be recognized as a vital force in the caustic Indian political landscape.

On the other hand, an intellectual mind has every reason to back Kejriwal, indicating the country needs an outfit like AAP. So, how can the void be filled? Instead of dreaming of panacea, a prudent and realistic plan must be chalked out with a targeted timeline. The fact that AAP has won in Delhi has its advantages. Delhi represents, in some way, the culture of Hindi heartland, the key regional segment for any party to win national elections. The fact that the overwhelming majority of Delhi’s population consists of immigrants from the Hindi heartland (including Punjab and Haryana) with many of their relatives residing in these states, is a factor that can be capitalized upon by AAP. The winning of AAP in Delhi is likely to be seen as an exemplar for the North Indian states to follow. However, all this is easier said than done, and AAP would have to work hard and arrange necessary resources to secure their favourable perception in the coming days. At the same time, there is an implicit danger in attempting that. The moment AAP (or any party for that matter) tries to penetrate the rural heartland of India, they would invariably fall into the trap of being compelled to sit on top of corruption and ‘manage’ goons.

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pradyut saha said...

Prof. A.C has rightly pointed out (in 'Let AAP be the strongest alternative', TSI Dec 22) that the AAP's agenda should not only be anti-corruption. The Party needs to come up with a comprehensive economic and social plan to make a better India.

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malleshwar kumar said...

Very right, it just takes one Arvind Kejriwal to change the face of politics. But it's very sad that there is only one.

Dibyanshu Pandey said...

It's sad that AAP is succumbing to the lust of power and luxury. Isn't it too early to declare AAP the most sacrosanct party? Face of the politics has not changed yet, it is yet to change. They emerged as an alternative but are they heading in the right direction? Two flats to Sisodiya, Toyota Innova with VIP numbers to MLAs (They traveled in AUTO and metro to take the oath), Two 5bhk flats to CM? I voted for AAP but the question is will I do it again? The question is- instead of becoming a strong alternative aren't they becoming alter ego of congress and BJP?

Dibyanshu Pandey said...

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