Millennium Post

Together in support of aam aadmi

“KHAMOSH” is of course the signature dialogue of the famous cine-star and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha. His off the cuff statements have often caused uneasiness within the BJP. Sinha praised the Chief Ministerial candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party Arvind Kejriwal by describing him as a good man with a clean image. Reportedly, he also stated that the AAP’s prospects were bright and that the BJP’s negative campaign against him was unfortunate.

While comparing BJP’s chief minister candidate Kiran Bedi with Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, Sinha said that the latter would have been a better choice. Was it a gesture of appreciation for Kejariwal just two days before polling in the midst of the election heat? Or was it support for Kejariwal at an individual level that he defiantly stated in public? Anyhow Shatrughan’s words may have prevented the fence sitters from voting for the BJP in the Delhi assembly elections.

Reminiscent of the 2013 Assembly elections in Delhi, Kejriwal opted for an aggressive campaign strategy that went beyond mere electioneering. His campaign this year, in fact, has been more belligerent than 2013. This prompted other political entities to join the AAP bandwagon, intensifying the tone in favour of his party. The latest to join this bandwagon was Trinmool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who urged the people of Delhi to vote for Kejriwal. Mamata also decided not to contest assembly elections in Delhi, although she had fielded candidates during 2014 general elections.

Even Mamata’s arch adversary CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat announced the unconditional support of left parties to Kejriwal in order to stop the BJP. Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati has always been keen to contest all elections in order to raise her party’s vote share and establish a national presence. Even she decided not to address the planned 14 rallies in support of BSP candidates, leaving them in a lurch. The vote bank of both AAP and BSP is the same. Hence any division in votes would have been beneficial to the BJP.

The Janata Dal (United) also decided to support the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi polls, despite fielding six candidates. The JD(U) took this decision at the cost of annoying the RJD and other members of the erstwhile Janata Parivar. These were some of the gestures in favour of AAP.

The indirect gesture of support from the Congress party came with an announcement by Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, urging his party men to concentrate on only those seats in Delhi, where its candidates are involved in a serious contest. This facilitated other Congressmen to transfer their vote share to AAP in those very seats, where the Grand Old Party has lost hope.  

AAP’s stellar performance will certainly galvinise other anti- BJP outfits in taking on the challenge posed by Prime Minister Narenda Modi. It is expected that incidents of positive gestures are going to be manifold in times to come. This time Kejriwal will have to be more cautious in maneuvering AAP’s expansion programmes, which has yet to establish its organisational structure in different states.

Mere ad hoc functioning is not going to help Kejriwal in strengthening the party born out of a Gandhian movement. Moreover the party would have to function like any other recognised political outfit, unlike personality-based parties. Also, political outfits like Indian National Lok Dal, Telugu Desam Party DP, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Akali Dal and TMC, among others, are confined to their respective states with no scope of expansion in other parts of the country.  

Even in Delhi, AAP should learn lessons from the Congress and BJP. The BJP has been struggling hard to regain power at the state level since 1998. The party consecutively lost five Assembly elections and the present defeat will keep it out of power for a little longer. While in power, AAP will have to work seriously without following the BJP style of making crucial decisions. The party must also take cues from the worthy administrative skills of the erstwhile Delhi state government under Sheila Dikshit. Only then will gestures of goodcontinue to pour in.   

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