AAP’s emphatic emergence is a wake-up call for others in the fray by Bipin Sharma
The stunning verdict of the 2013 state assembly elections shouldn’t be read as the emergence of the BJP as the single largest party in the four states namely Delhi, Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, but the manner in which the rookie ‘AAP’ (Aam Admi Party) have won the hearts of the Delhites by making a memorable debut on the political turf. For any debutant, this will indubitably get etched as one of the most sensational beginning in the electorate. Ever since AAP jumped in the political fray, it was being widely speculated that they will dent the vote bank of the BJP. The opinion polls as well as the exit polls on their part, gave BJP around 32 seats, while giving Congress around 23+ seats and around 15 to AAP. However, as the election results started pouring in on December 8, (‘Judgement Day’, millions of citizens glued to their TV sets were astounded, and so were the political pundits when results revealed a rather contrarian picture. Much to the dismay and disbelief of thousands of Congress supporters and leaders, AAP handed a shock defeat to some of the “invincible heavyweights” namely the sitting Congress MLAs such as CM Sheila Dikshit, Dr AK Walia, Rajkumar Chauhan, Tarwinder Singh Marwah, Ch. Prem Singh, Dr Kiran Walia, Dr Yoganand Shashtri, Subhash Chopra etc. While the assessment of the surveys indicating that the BJP will eventually manage around 32 seats was correct, the poll results sent shock waves across the length and breadth of the country as the bigger picture showed Congress getting literally decimated in their bastion Delhi. The calculations of the political pundits was thus proved wrong as AAP did more damage to Congress than the BJP. One cannot blame the pundits as no one imagined Congress to fare so poorly atleast in the Delhi Assembly Elections which has always been their stronghold.
The results conclusively not only established the emergence of AAP on the capital city’s political arena, but have also rung the warning bells for the national parties and the regional satraps that minnows can no longer be underestimated.
More significantly, the message which these election results have unmistakably conveyed is the fact that the 21st century citizens will no longer get swayed with the communal card. It is time for parties and their leaders to realize that citizens will pay heed to them if they keep their focus on germane issues such as controlling price rise, women safety, curbing rampant corruption, and commitment of efficient governance. Divisive politics will not hold water with the voters of the capital city.
BJP on the other hand, too needs to learn from the outcome of the Delhi election results as their ineptness in garnering the support of even a handful alliance partners will come back to haunt them in the Lok Sabha Polls of 2014 too. in the present scenario, it takes no rocket science to predict that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party in the 2014 polls. However their real test will be to win coalition partners for forming a NDA led government in the centre.
Not taking anything away from the BJP, the stalwarts of the saffron party must take a pragmatic view of the recently concluded state assembly elections simply because the only cheering factor has been their emphatic victory in Rajasthan, and nothing else. Feeling overjoyed with the election results of the Chhattisgarh and MP would be premature as the mantra of success and sustenance in Indian democracy wrests with a party that has the charisma to allure the support of maximum coalition partners.
One is entitled to use any sort of glorified metaphor such as ‘Modi wave’ or the ‘Modi storm’ to describe the impact of Modi factor in the 2014 elections, but in the end, it will be the scorecard tally that will determine the winner in this epic clash. Time alone will confirm how much of Modi wave gets translated into votes during the real litmus test.
Coming to Kejriwal’s AAP party, they are already the ‘true winners’ irrespective of, whether they sit in the opposition, or decide to form the next Delhi government with the outside support of either BJP or Congress. AAP’s remarkable ascent and their growing clout is bound to make the political parties of the country insecure especially as the countdown to the general elections has already begun. With barely 5 months to go for the Lok Sabha Polls in 2104, the clamour for joining forces with AAP will drastically grow. Following the historic December 8 verdict in the Delhi Assembly elections, myriads of parties would already be contemplating the far reaching gains in case, they chalk out a plan to strike an alliance with the political greenhorns ‘AAP’.
In the wake of the incredible beginning of AAP, it would henceforth be imprudent on the part of the two main national parties namely the Congress and the BJP to dismiss the notion of the ‘Third Front’. While both these parties have often gone on record to say that the notion of the Third Front is a mirage in Indian politics, they would refrain from indulging in the same old rhetoric in the aftermath of the amazing debut by AAP.
In simpler words, the phenomenal performance of AAP in national capital Delhi will send shivers down the spine of not just Congress and the BJP, but also regional satraps like the BSP, SP, JD (U), Leftists, DMK etc who have always been complacent about their traditional bastions.
It all boils down to AAP as they have to decide whether they will expand their base pan India by fielding their candidates in the Lok Sabha elections slated for 2014. Once that happens, regional parties will be left with primarily two options, one brace themselves for the challenge ahead, or either forge an alliance with AAP on the latter’s terms and conditions.
In the current scenario, the third front players will be inspired to forge an alliance with AAP for keeping both the UPA and the NDA out of power.
Albeit AAP have a long road ahead, their solitary good performance in the assembly elections is definitely a watershed moment in the history of Indian democracy simply because the idea of a third front alternative is no longer a distant reality.
With RaGa magic missing in the four state assembly polls, one may see a new tussle that of NaMo vs ArKe.
If that happens, it will undeniably be an extremely absorbing contest especially as both Modi and Kejriwal happen to be charismatic leaders with a huge following.
Whether Kejriwal’s AAP party contests the 2014 polls or not, it is unquestionably a wake-up call for all the mainstream parties to relinquish ‘complacency’ if they wish to sustain them in the next general elections. The writing is on the wall, and the political parties must comprehend that “AAP” has not just arrived, but is here to stay.
AAP’s thumping debut proves that it’s not just cricket, but “politics” too, happens to be a game of glorious uncertainties.
The indomitable Sheila Dikshit who once ruled the Delhi Legislative Assembly for 15 long years has failed to even retain her New Delhi constituency whereas the naïve Arvind Kejriwal has not only handed the sitting Delhi CM one of the most crushing defeats, but is today poised to become the ‘CM’ in his maiden electoral attempt.