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India- Can the AAP be revived?

, June 27, 2014, 0 Comments

Can AAP be revived-MarketExpress-inThe AAP started with a bang when it garnered seats close to a majority in the Delhi assembly elections. It came to power in Delhi with the outside support of the Congress party. This was a good beginning and sent expectations about the party soaring. But disappointment soon followed. The party could not provide a good leadership for the state for long and the AAP government collapsed in less than two months.

One of the factors that had won votes for the AAP in Delhi elections was its promise of cheap water and electricity for the citizens of Delhi. This cannot be considered to be credible promise which will lead to sustained support for the party at the national level. Providing water and electricity at low rates is a populist measure which is unsustainable in any state in the long run. Such gimmicks cannot be a slogan which wins seats for a party at the national level in the long run. In fact a promise to provide cheap water and electricity is a recipe for disaster which will ruin the economy of the region where the programme is implemented.

What then is the slogan that can sustain a party to victory in the long haul. AAP had initially been formed with the central agenda of fighting corruption and bring about honesty in governance. This should be the central theme for the party if it is to establish itself at the national level.

Many people look forward to AAP to provide honest governance without being tainted by the evils of money power. Herein lies the true strength of AAP. The party should also be using the power of technology in its administrative functioning and in mobilizing finances.

AAP should shed its image of being anti-industry or anti-establishment. It was wrong to taint respected industrialists in black and it was wrong for the Chief Minister of Delhi to sit on dharna close to the venue of an approaching Republic Day parade. These are moves which severely tarnished the image of AAP as being a credible and respectable alternative to the Congress Party and the BJP. Many supporters lost faith in the AAP due to such dramatic overtures from the side of its leader.

Once the party came to power in Delhi it should have proven its credentials as an alternative to the established parties. The party should not have sacrificed Delhi government and diverted all resources to the Lok Sabha elections. There was no need for one of its leaders to conduct a raid on African women in the dead of night. There was no need for its leader to submit resignation due to the fact that his own version of the Lokpal Bill was not being passed by the Delhi Assembly. A Lokpal bill had already been passed in the Parliament and, if need be, amendments could have been brought about in this Law sometime in the future, perhaps when the AAP comes to power at the center.

The AAP also took a wrong step by filing an FIR against a prominent industrialist and the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. In this regard the AAP government was overstepping its sphere of jurisdiction leading to constitutional improprieties. There was also no need of dealing with the former Chief Minister of Delhi as if with a vengeance. If found appropriate, a legal case could have been brought against the former CM in a sober fashion, without dramatizing the whole issue. Such type of tamasha enacted by the leadership of the party is, in hindsight, being viewed by the public as a proof of the immaturity of the party and its leadership.

When the national elections were announced Kejriwal should have continued as the Chief Minister of Delhi. The AAP could have fought the elections at the national level under the leadership of Yogendra Yadav. The AAP at that stage was too young and in fact had very little possibility of emerging victorious at the national level. But the very fact that the party could still win four seats in Punjab is enough proof that AAP cannot be written off lightly and there is still the possibility of a come-back if the cards are played in the right way.

Perhaps the party needs to be led by someone who is more sober than the present one – someone who is known more for his intellectual stature and idealism than for his radicalism. Kejriwal could be a good CM for Delhi. But the party still needs to go in search of a national leader who could aspire to be the Prime Minister of India.