Millennium Post

AAP emerging stronger

Delhi will vote on 4 December to elect its government. Traditionally, the fight used to be confined between the BJP and Congress, but now Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal is into the fray as a third force. When Kejriwal announced to enter the fray, BJP was the party to get nervous on the announcement and there was a celebration time in Congress, whose leaders thought that by dividing anti Congress votes, Kejriwal’s AAP would help it to capture power for the fourth consecutive times. But, the celebration is over now and Congress leaders are anxious to avoid a humiliating defeat. The reason is not difficult to see. AAP has been eating into the support base of Congress in a manner not visualised earlier by the Congress leaders.

Depleting support base of Congress among its traditional areas was visible in the election rallies of Rahul Gandhi, which took place in Delhi. In one of the rallies, Rahul had to reschedule his speech, because the people did not turn up in good number at the scheduled time. Congress leaders were pressed into action to gather people and Rahul could give his speech only three hours later. After learning the lesson, Rahul reached his another election rally after three hours from his scheduled time. But once again the meeting was thinly attended and when Rahul started to speak, the crowd started to leave the place not ready to listen to him. The Chief Minister Sheila Dixit was forced to intervene during the speech of Rahul to ask the evaporating crowd to stay at least for 10 minutes and listen to what Rahulji says. But people did not pay heed to the appeal of Sheila Dikshit. They kept deserting the place and Rahul finished his speech in 6 minutes, because the people have left the rally venue.

The place of the flopped rally of Rahul was in the heartland of Congress support base. It was in Dakshinpuri of South Delhi. Choudary Prem Singh is the sitting MLA of the area and the largest slum of the world Sangam Vihar is nearby it. Chaoudhary Prem Singh is a big name of Delhi. He was speaker in the last Assembly and has reputation of not losing any elections, he fought since 1957 from any constituency of Delhi. Even Choudhary Prem Singh could not ensure a decent crowd in the rally and he even failed to prevent people from leaving the venue, when Rahul was speaking.

The rally of Sonia Gandhi, too, is poorly attended despite all efforts by the Congress leaders to gather people from all over Delhi. The failure of Dakshinpuri rally of Rahul only discouraged other Congress candidates to seek Rahul meetings in their constituencies. No Congress candidate can afford a flop rally of Rahul Gandhi in his constituency, that is why they do not want Rahul to campaign for them.
This state of Congress is the result of Kejriwal cutting into the support base of Congress in a big way.

He and his other party leaders are convincing people in a manner, which was never known to the people. He is relating inflation to corruption and promising 50 per cent cut in power tariff and free water supply to all upto 700 litres per household per day. In the era of rising inflation and rising vegetable prices, the doubling of power bill in two years has become a main grouse of people, who used to be the main support base of Congress. In fact, most of these people did not pay electricity bill before the privatization. Hence, the 50 per cent cut in power bill has touched the sentiments of a large section of people and this has given advantage to AAP over its rivals.

BJP has also announced a 30 per cent cut in power tariff, but 30 per cent is less than 50 per cent and people know that it is because of the AAP pressure. Anyway, BJP has its own committed cadres and they are still standing by it, but it has lost a sizable section of its sympathisers to AAP. The reason is, BJP sympathisers and even committed workers were part of Anna movement. AAP has emerged from that movement and those, who took part in the movement has some soft corners for the party of the movement.

Congress and BJP both are attacking AAP in unexpected manner. Because of their attack AAP has become the focal point of Delhi election. Their attacks are making AAP and its leaders the most talked of party and leaders. This is proving beneficial to new party. The team Kejriwal has good expertise to use the media and they are doing it in more professional way. The issue of getting foreign contribution to fight election kept it on lime light for many days. It emerged that by getting donation from NRIs settled outside India, AAP was not doing any illegal act. AAP leaders challenged the government to prosecute them, if they have done anything wrong. Government did not prosecute them and hence Kejriwal and his team emerged winner. Similarly on the controversy over Anna’s letter and CD, Kejriwal had the last laugh. Anna gave him a certificate of being honest. The sting operation on some of its candidates only helped it to prove its honesty and determination against dishonesty. It has left to Election Commission to decide whether its candidates, who were subjected to sting, were involved in unfair practices before the camera of the sting operators.

The rise of AAP as a potent force in Delhi has given rise to the speculation that it may emerge even the single largest party in some corners, though it is a new party and it is always risky for a political analyst to reach such conclusion and express it. But it is safe to predict that the Delhi Assembly may turn out to be hung after election. This, itself, may be a big success for a new party in the national capital. Delhi has been chosen only as an experiment by the leaders of AAP.

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