Millennium Post

AAP vs BJP: Prospects and issues

Unless a miracle doze is administered in a month’s time, the Congress will have no prospects in the ensuing central and state polls. The regional leaders can’t unite and pose as an alternative. That is why the fight now on is really between AAP and BJP.

Performance of BJP has established in no uncertain terms that they are the most formidable contender. Recently, Nomura found BJP more right of centre, pro-business and reform oriented. Advisories from CLSA and Goldman Sachs confirm this and the young India wants such a government.

AAP has established that honesty, ethics and idealism can fuel political success. The new political paradigm espoused by the party has caught the imagination of the erstwhile cynic and emerging India. But the question worrying them is can the party deliver? Is restructuring of the extant political system possible to be made by a bunch of honest sincere and zealous but absolutely inexperienced political party? An astute Santosh Desai therefore observes victory will make AAP just another political party, a slender defeat will keep it hungry.

But how can AAP form a government in Delhi? AAP without diluting its stand can’t accept support from Congress or BJP. AAP has already started having impact. All parties have started making noise at least to disown tainted politicians. AAP’s agenda is to cleanse the terms of politics, to change the rules of game and not to capture power. Not till they can have unfettered freedom with comfortable majority to pursue their governance program. They can force by their threat value other parties to change themselves internally. They don’t have to form government for that, not immediately at least. Look at how the BJP is wary of staking claim at government formation in Delhi. AAP factor has started playing on their mind. They are scared to begin poaching and horse trading, in which they were as adept as any other party. They are feeling the pressure of AAP philosophy.

To that extent, AAP has stepped much forward in achieving its principal objective of cleansing the political system.

However, under pressure from public, AAP could form government in Delhi, with support but absolute non-interference from Congress and try wholesale reform. It should also project itself with the track record of short six months, as a serious contender. In any case, let us try to map the prospects for the two parties at this point in time. Now, BJP is firmly entrenched in Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and Goa. In Chhattisgarh and Delhi, they are the strongest. NDA is strong in Punjab and Maharashtra. They have chances in UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand Kanataka and Andhra and may be Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. AAP on the other hand has hopes in Delhi, Haryana, Maharastra, UP and Karnataka. They may try in Andhra, Himachal Pradesh, and Kerala.

In West Bengal, Jharkhand, J&K, Pudducheri, Tripura, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu, the ruling parties will continue to dominate.

What remains is the northeast who mostly vote for Congress and do not consider BJP an alternative. With the lustre in Congress worn out, AAP can try to impact polling here substantially.

Given such opportunity area for the two parties, the final outcome will be determined essentially by the quality of campaign, leadership and the communication skill of Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal.

In this connection, two findings by Karthik Sashidhar in ‘Analysing the NOTA effect’ in mint on December 10, 2013 are significant. In this poll, in 56 constituencies, the margin of victory was less than the number of votes polled by NOTA ‘none of the above category’. Further, in Chhattisgarh one-sixth of all seats were decided by a margin less than the number of votes polled by NOTA. This means, at least in Chhattisgarh and may be in many other centres, there are substantial undecided voters waiting to be influenced by AAP.

By arrangement with Governance Now
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