Challenges and prospects of Aam Admi party
After its spectacular electoral victory in Delhi assembly elections and formation of its government last month, the AAP has declared that it is going to contest coming Lok Sabha polls in 20 states. Media experts, political analysts and seasoned observers of national politics are working overtime to pronounce their assessment of the AAP prospects in the general elections. While some carry conviction that AAP has a bright future ahead of it yet others say that it is bubble which is waiting to burst under public expectations and scrutiny.
Therefore it is worthwhile to probe and analyse its immediate prospects in the coming general elections and its likely impact on the national and states politics. There is no doubt that the unexpected success of the AAP in 2013 Delhi assembly elections and subsequent formation of its government under Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has impacted the politics of the country which had come to be disliked by people at large but particularly by the middle classes and the aspiring younger generations. People’s cynicism had grown to unprecedented levels and it was increasing every day as established political parties and its leaders were being seen and perceived as corrupt, alienated from ground realities and hankering for power at any cost. Politics or political professional had come to be equated with business and industry where one came to make profit and collect personal fortunes. Element of service had almost disappeared from politics.
In this gloomy and depressing political environment, the AAP was born and appeared to be a refreshing change for the people who wanted that democracy survived and flourished with a responsive and responsible political class and its leaders.
The AAP, which sprung out of the civil society movement-India Against Corruption- undoubtedly lacks experience on complex issues of governance, economy, internal and external security etc but the party and its leaders are sincere and have the right intentions. The party has aroused lost of hopes and expectations among ordinary as well as informed people and its ranks are swelling as many are willing to join it in the hope that they too can extend a helping hand. In the process and during early phases of euphoria, many undesi reable elements would also slip in the party but that happens with every social and political movement.
The party has still to evolve its thinking on many crucial national and international issues as was reflected in the comments of one of its founding members Prashant Bhuhsan who supported holding of a people’s referendum on the presence of Army in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Bhushan’s stand created a controversy but this happens in every political formation as different people from diverse backgrounds and circumstances are bound to differ on certain issues and it is here the role of the collective leadership is important.
Similar faux pas are going to be repeated in weeks and months to come but people’s enthusiasm and faith in AAP is not going to wane till the holding of the general elections. Therefore, it is likely to win some Lok Sabha seats and definitely going to poll substantial votes. It is difficult to make a quantitative assessment of its poll performance in the national poll but qualitatively it has already begun to make a huge impact as the AAP has brought the established political parties under lot of pressure to change and reform.
To begin with, both the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been forced to take serious note of and this is going to be reflected in their selection of candidates for the coming parliamentary elections. Though old “win-ability” factor would continue to dominate the selection process of candidates by the political parties but considerations of caste, religion, and parentage would be on declines. More new faces are likely to be fielded by different political parties.
Emergence of the AAP is a serious setback to negative regionalism which was threatening to derail the idea of India as conceived during the freedom movement and the makers of the country’s Constitution.
Once again stress on positive issues and constructive approach towards solution of various national issues are going to be on display at least and that is all because of the AAP.
In coming weeks and months till the holding of general elections, a discourse is bound to occupy the public discourse that a vote for the AAP would be a waste as it would result if further fragmentation of the national polity and the country by this kind of electoral behaviour would be faced with not only political stability but would also be costing the public exchequer in the holding of a mid-term election. .
The BJP is going to be the main advocate to this kind of discourse as the AAP is going to be a formidable roadblock in its pursuit of power. Its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was having a free run as he was attacking the Congress and it was music to the ears of the middle class, professionals, young entrepreneurs, and aspiring urban and semi-urban youth and it was heavily tilting towards Modi.
The Congress is going to lose its vote to the AAP but by appreciating the newest party critically and extending its support to form a government in Delhi; it may succeed in arresting its rapid decline. In any case, a well meaning and well-intentioned political formation is no threat to political stability as stability does not come through numbers but by positive thinking and constructive approach which focuses on the poor, deprived and weak in the country.
The party, formed a year ago, has still to learn a lot and it would have to earn while learning and that may prove its nemesis or a boon depending upon how soon arrogance creeps in while holding leavers of power.