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End Of The Road For AAP? Why The Party Might Not Ever Be Able To Make A Comeback

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By Anusha Sundar:

In the city of Delhi on a cold December morning, one man rose with a ‘jhadu’ in one hand and a Jan Lokpal Bill in the other. Within a few months to come, he captured the eyes and the attention of 25 million Delhiites. The Congress and the BJP were silenced, the common man was awestruck and the country watched. Our media tagged this extraordinary zeal that Mr. Kejriwal and his team produced as the ‘AAP effect.’ Routing the decadent Dikshit administration after 15 long years, the Aam Admi Party formed a minority government at New Delhi after emerging as the second largest party. The AAP had confirmed the power of an empowered citizen’s vote and established the might of a Democracy. They had a golden opportunity and they threw it away. Now with calls for re-elections in the national capital, the AAP hopes to regain its lost foot. However, a closer look at the politics of AAP seems to point towards their exit. Here are a few reasons why the AAP might have to close its chapters:

AAP

Dharna Politics

While AAP’s rallies and fasts might have touched the common man in all of us, its abundant overload is not only irksome but also revealing of a very stubborn and silly mentality. Fasts and protests are a very powerful medium to express one’s dissent with the government and several examples from History stand testimony to this fact. However, its thoughtless exploitation is only suggestive of AAP’s failure to understand this influential instrument. Kejriwal must know, after his few hundredth fasts that the Government is not a tired parent handing over sweets to a howling baby. One would at least assume that after having become the Chief Minister, Kejriwal would prefer discussions and dialogue over dictates and demonstrations. We are growing tired of dharnas, Mr. Kejriwal. Are you not?

The Debacle of 49 days

After having been hailed as a change long needed for the Indian political system, Kejriwal quit the Chief Minister’s office in just 49 days in a spectacularly foolish move. His reason – the Jan Lokpal wasn’t supported by the other parties. Not only was Kejriwal’s resignation a reckless move, considering the hopes Delhi had pinned on him, but also revealing of his one track mind. Sometimes, pet projects don’t come along but that doesn’t mean we stop dead in our tracts.

Fortunately, the AAP did not prove to be a total waste of votes. Within their brief stint as the ruling government, the AAP managed to broadly cover important sectors such as water, electricity and education. Although they seemed to have got the priorities straight, the AAP government was directionless to develop efficiently on these priorities. Promising 20Kl of free water to all Delhi residents for three months was slightly problematic considering most homes do not even have pipeline connection. Transporting water via tankers would only add to the whopping cost already incurred by the government. Similarly, by defying security and entering public places only causes chaos and mayhem. Although it is admirable that they were efforts at demoting VIP culture, Kejriwal must be realistic enough to understand that changes of this magnitude cannot happen overnight.

While the AAP simplified the VAT structure, provided night shelters for the homeless, slashed the electricity rates for users with low consumption in half and launched an anti-corruption helpline, much of what they proposed such as procuring 100 new ambulances, fund allocations for school infrastructure and many others remained merely on paper. Had they been smarter, they would have stuck around to see their policies implemented. Kejriwal on the other hand, struck out at the sight of the first hurdle instead of persuading his opponents to fall in line.

Constant Infighting

After the party performed poorly in the Lok Sabha 2014 elections, all hell broke loose. The party’s top brass Shazia Ilmi and Captain Gopinath resigned after slamming Kejriwal and accused the AAP of having no internal democracy. Ilmi stated that the AAP had been reduced to a ‘crony clique’’ which takes ‘impulsive decisions.’ Yogendra Yadav, an academic and key strategist for the AAP, warned the party of ‘falling prey to personality cults.’ Not only have the statements of these senior party members affected the public image of Kejriwal and his administration but also seriously questions the ideals of the party itself. Why would Delhi vote for a divided, dysfunctional house?

Governance Agenda

What exactly does Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party offer to the people of Delhi? Although the singularly strong anti-corruption stand brought them to the corridors of power, it is hardly expected to do the same this time. The Aam Admi Party has lost its relevance and needs to rethink and reinvent itself according to the needs of the people. The AAP must also remember that it is not a rallying crowd but a political party that must have solutions to the holes they find in the system. The party must also wisely learn from its brief period in power and chose deliberations over demands.

With this disastrous debut, an apology from Kejriwal to the Delhi public is highly unlikely to do the trick. The AAP needs to focus on a substantial agenda that addresses the necessities of the people, learn how to respond to the media like professionals and incorporate their experience as a ruling government to ensure an efficient implementation process. It seems like a long bumpy road ahead for the party and with the BJP at the national and municipal levels, their prospects don’t seem bright.

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  1. Parth Pankaj Tiwary

    That’s what I have been hearing from the paid Indian Media all the time, would have loved to read something more insightful and something that is above the superficiality of the cliches that we have exposed to all the time. I’d rather change the heading of this article to “Set of rules that AAP should abide by in order to become more like BJP and Congress.”

    1. Ramen Das

      @parth What about “Set of obvious points that AAP and its supporters are not seeing”
      Do you realize that the closest resemblance of AAP is the West Bengal parties… they are always good as opposition, raising hue and cry… but abject failures as administrators as the state of WB suggests…

      I also do not agree with the writer that any of AAPs moves were good, especially those like mindlessly slashing electricity rates… how do you think the production costs would have been sustained? they used that as a gimmick because AK knew he was not going to last long… and no he did not resigned for that silly lokpal… his greed and ego made him believe that he can be PM… he was rightly decimated… a narrow escape for the nation I’d say…

      I am by no means saying other parties are saints I am just saying that AAP is as bad as them and comes with some extra irritating qualities

    2. Parth Pankaj Tiwary

      I won’t be wrong in calling it your prejudice, when you label me as a “AAP supporter” and as you do that, you deny me off all the logical things that I am capable of arguing on. Just to clear my stand and my point I would like to put it clearly that, I do not support any party because supporting a party means being affiliated to what their Ideology is and what their MPs and MLAs speak of at any time in their political career. And that is a big deal to fall in sync with, their are some points that I agree with and are in sync with what I think is right.

      I don’t want to start a debate here on who is better than whom and we all know where we’ll end up being, my comment was solely on the article and the way in which it was written and not in support or against someone or some party.

    3. shruti

      @raman
      they are always good as opposition, raising hue and cry… but abject failures as administrators as the state of WB suggests…
      by saying this are you suggesting that parties which have formed govts are not failures.
      @parth i don’t think the parties of today are left with any ideology. It is this bankruptcy and lack of engagement and political will which led to slide of left in India, which to my opinion is not a reason to celebrate but to worry.
      As a polity we are maturing. The discussions on forums such as this will help us understand and engage in the process of democratization in a better way.

  2. shruti chandra

    It would be interesting to see how AAP fares if elections happen in delhi. the media has certainly been complicit to make kejriwal look like a bhagoda. kejriwal’s apology however sincere it is, hasnt really run well with people. the lok sabha election were definitely a modi show. however state elections are a different ball game. the bjp lacks leadership. except for Modi there is no big name. hence the bjp would rely on modi factor for the forthcoming elections.

  3. Gaurav

    Anna Hazare started his campaign for a effective lokpal and congress tried to break them up but could not do it. so then the members of national advisory council which used to report to sonia gandhi were sent to hijack the process and kejriwal made a grand entry initially. then when it came to elections Kejriwal made the following mistakes
    – handing out doles, free water and & electricity. the free water was applicable only for those households which have a meter so no good to the poor people anyways.
    – he supported citizens and asked them not to pay their electricity, he also tampered with meters which he should not do
    – he raised national issues like maoism, islamic terrorism, kashmir, batla house encounters etc
    – he proclaimed that maoists/terrorist were not the culprit
    – he proclaimed batla house terrorist as innocent despite the proof, he never proof to counter the charges
    – he supported maoist directly
    – he decided that india should give kashmir to pakistan
    – he wrote petition after petition for supporting the rapists, specially the muslim rapist.
    – he wrote petition for ajmal kasab
    – he made promises to muslims and later backtracked them
    – he promised he would look into corruption charges against shiela dikshit and then backtracked
    – he swore on his children that he would not give support or take support from congress and again backtracked
    – the mandate was against congress but by taking their support he gave them a backdoor
    – he made charges against industrialist without any proof
    – he resigned in 49 days without making any effort to understand how the system works and trying to find ways to fix it from inside thus making a fool of us all.

  4. Anjan

    I do not know how many movements the author has led or participated in but this article is again a manifestation of passive, hollow, pessimistic attitude like other writers!

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