The Rise of the Aam Aadmi and Arvind Kejriwal
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 28 seats, trouncing the ruling party. Arvind Kejriwal became a “giant killer”, after defeating Sheila Dixit with a margin of almost 25,000 votes. Now, this could be observed as similar to what N.T. Rama Rao did in establishing the Telugu Desam Party. He won the elections on two flanks. Those are the pride of the Andhra people, and providing rice at a subsidized rate of Rs 2/Kg.
The Features of the Aam Aadmi Party Manifesto
- They had 70 different manifestos for 70 constituencies. This in turn depicts that they were very specific in their approach. They observed that every constituency had its own problems, which need to be addressed differently.
- They promise to bring in direct democracy, through recall. Recall is a feature wherein post-half the government-term, based on its performance, the leaders are forced to step down. It is already present in the Panchayats of Madhya Pradesh. The AAP wants to get it on a larger scale.
- They promised to reduce the electricity tariff by more than 50 percent, and promised electricity audit.
- They promised to provide 140 liters of water/day, and to ensure women’s safety etc.
- Arvind Kejriwal ensured accountability when he issued a press statement refusing further funds beyond what was required for his election expenditure.
AAP set forth 18 demands in front of the major political parties, the Congress and the BJP. The Congress agreed, to 16 of those. However, they did not agree to the rest, one of which was to retract the FDI policies in the retail sector.
AAP sought for public opinion for whether they should form the government or sit in the opposition. People gave thumbs-up to forming the government, and hence the party came forward for the same.
Delhi election sets an example of the high maturity of the people or the common mass. They didn’t vote for divisive politics, but they sought alternative politics against political alternative.
Reasons for the Congress Debacle
- Congress today is considered as a party of too many leaders. This in turn has let to lot of infighting, and it reflected in the lack of grassroots workers. Everybody considers himself as a leader in the party.
- There is a lot of factionalism. For example, in Madhya Pradesh, there was Jyotiraditya Schindia and the Digvijay Singh group’s, which worked at odds with each other.
- “Dynastic Politics” is considered yet another important reason. The family considers the political party as a private limited company.
- Congress also holds the reputation of being a corrupt party due to their scams like the Commonwealth Games Scam etc.
- It was said that the Congress having ruled Delhi for 15 years, was out of sync with the mood of the capital.
- Besides, the party also failed miserably in implementing its Common Minimum program.
Will they Deliver as Promised?
So will AAP with Congress’ support be able to deliver what they have promised? Here, it is worth mentioning that AAP is weary mainly because of two aspects.
- The common people have high expectations from the AAP, especially because of their election manifesto.
- Besides, the other political parties are waiting for an opportunity where they could point out a mistake committed by the AAP. They are eagerly waiting for any such occurrence that they can cash in, and show that the AAP is no different from them.
- As of now, the AAP government can be considered as a triumph of the participatory democracy over representative democracy.
Will Kejriwal Cope Up or Let go ?
Being a political novice, can Kejriwal cope up and do well with the government formation?
- Although, he lacks political experience, he had been an IRS himself. He has some admin experience, and he well knows how the government works. Hence, this can help him in running the government.
- Besides, it can also be recalled that in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, and other leaders, who were released from the prison, immediately formed the government. They ran the country successfully for more than 2 decades. Hence, this sets an encouraging example.
However, there is no doubt that everyday is going to be an acid test for the Aam Aadmi Party!