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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Is Indian politics changing? A few valid reasons for the AAPs miracle in Delhi!

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

How could AAP, a small, Delhi based new party, take on two most powerful national parties like Congress and BJP, simultaneously and win the poll in Delhi?

Social activities by Arvind Kejriwal first under Anna Hazare and then sustained social work by taking up common causes on his own under anti-corruption movement in Delhi endeared him to the people of the capital who seek honest leadership to serve them with dedication.

Aam Aadmi Party and its founder-leader Arvind Kejriwal, much-maligned by its untimely exit of the 49-day government in Delhi and the mauling in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, started the ground work to regain Delhi's trust. Kejriwal and the Delhiites know each other very closely. Focusing solely on Delhi, the AAP did not take the electoral plunge in any other state elections.

In fact, AAP got up very early and began to campaign in Delhi by mid 2014 October with its volunteers and leaders fanning out across the national poll, as Kejriwal was getting ready with a list of probable candidates for the elections to be held anytime They initiated direct contact with the electorate and visited almost every Delhi voter. The door-to-door campaign and street corner meetings had much more visibility that the high profile rallies of its rivals. The voters felt a direct connect with AAP candidates which are reflected in the superlative show.

Thus Kejriwal started by getting the basics right as he knows the people are indeed fed up corrupt politicians who do not fulfill the poll promises, have taken the voters for granted. Kejriwal tendered an apology to the Delhi voters claiming that he had made just a mistake and not any crime by resigning in 49 days after assuming power and that he had do quit the government because of the pressing circumstances but he and his party is committed to work for the welfare of common people. What was considered by BJP as his biggest handicap soon became his most potent weapon. Delhiites forgave Kejriwal as their own son. Focusing solely on Delhi, the AAP did not take the electoral plunge in any other state elections.

People of Delhi were eager to get Kejriwal back from national, parliamentary scene into Delhi politics and they succeeded. Kejriwal decided to stick with Delhi after the Lok Sabha debacle and strengthened his party which was hit by desertions.

Kejriwal raised constituency and Delhi specific issues eschewing the big talk of BJP and Congress. Problems of power, water, sanitation, women's safety, lack of schools and colleges in some areas were raised prominently and AAP concentrated on explaining how Kejriwal's government would implement the election promises. With petty corruption emerging as one of the biggest electoral issue in Delhi and hitting the common man directly, Kejriwal promised to end it.

Kejriwal struck cords with common masses. AAP's promise to cut down electricity and water tariff was a major draw in unauthorised, resettlement colonies, slums and the poorer sections of the society who came out in large numbers to back Kejriwal.

BJP was a badly divided house in Delhi and its leadership could not project a chief ministerial candidate when they were still in the race giving AAP the headway. The party never came up with a positive agenda believing that it was on a roll and would win Delhi easily riding on the Narendra Modi wave. BJP's advertisement targeting Kejriwal and calling him a “problem” ("upadravi gotra") did not go down well with the voters who are too fond of him, just love him as their own son. The series of questions from BJP to Kejriwal also worked in AAP's favour and the BJP itself had no answer how they would solve Delhi's problems.

People saw a true savior in Kejriwal.

AAP leader stood tall and firm. The Narendra Modi card failed badly in Delhi as his own inner circle could not find a credible solution to face a mighty Kejriwal, emerging the most favorite leader in Delhi state. A man who always leads from the front, Modi addressed poorly attended rally which sent alarm bells ringing in the party. BJP President Amit Shah then brought in an army of 120 MPs, over 20 Union ministers, several state chief ministers and leaders creating the impression that they were in the panic mode.

With Kejriwal going all out to project that BJP did not have a capable leader in Delhi and Modi was not going to become the CM, the party belatedly brought in Kiran Bedi to outsmart Kejriwal. But she proved to be a big disaster creating more divide within the party. A very poor orator, Bedi was seen as a loner and dictator alienating the common BJP worker. Her elevation also ended hopes of other local leaders who kept away from campaigning. Kejriwal challenged Kiran Bedi for a debate but she never replied to it giving out the impression that BJP had no concrete plan for Delhi. BJP was scared of AAP.

Congress party also paraded many of its CM and bigwigs in Delhi, hoping to get more votes and seats this time. With Congress lurching for one electoral defeat to another, the party's traditional vote bank shifted to the AAP. Every section of Delhi voters - the Dalits, Muslims and the poor was seen moving enbloc to AAP, giving the party a major boost.

The voters, accustomed to politicians lying and cheating but unaccustomed to politicians apologising, came to Kejriwal's rescue and decided to give him not none more chance but a strong popular mandate for full term with over 70% of Delhiites voting the AAP, so that Congress and BJP can do nothing even jointly to destabilize Kejriwal government for 5 full years. For, people know about the sincerity of Kejriwal team. That corruption had come down during his brief rule, the Delhi voter flocked to AAP as the party gathered strength.

The image of Arvind Kejriwal as an anti-corruption crusader, apologizing for his mistake, a nature alien to the Indian politician, and AAP going into the election projecting him as the chief ministerial candidate worked for the party.

Delhiites see Arvind Kejriwal as their only hope. When Kejriwal and his followers came out as the cleanest of the lot from any corruption charges, people began liking them more than ever because they do compare him with other leaders available in political markets.

More than anything else, the Delhiites’ trust in Kejriwal and his AAP, rather than their hatred for the usual political parties with hidden agendas, stands out to be the key reason for the return of AAP in Delhi in the most exemplary fashion.

- Asian Tribune -

Arvind Kejriwal Aam Aadmi Party leader stood tall and firm
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