67 out of 70 seats! ‘Landslide’ is the word being used for Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) victory in Delhi. ‘Comprehensive’ is an understatement, isn't it? I’ve started following politics pretty late, but even those who have been watching this field closely for decades will consider this worthy of being termed ‘historic’.
A disclaimer up front: I am not an AAP supporter. In fact, I am no specific party supporter - I just am anti Congress and pro growth. This is why, as you may have guessed, my current loyalties lie with Narendra Modi. The man has good intent and is working towards making India a better place, although the media conveniently fails to report more than 70% work being done.
I had a ringside view of the Delhi Elections campaigning as I was there from 3rd - 7th February. I watched news channels, spoke to the aam aadmi (common man, not the party volunteers), and witnessed political campaigns at various places. My ears rang with the '5 saal Kejriwal' song being played everywhere.
While Tarun and I agreed that it was better to vote for even the Congress rather than AAP, I am secretly glad that AAP beat the Bharati Janata Party (BJP). Can’t say that I’m happy at the mauling that the BJP received in the results though. Anyway, here is why I am glad that AAP won.
|"Ro lo, behenji"|
- Kiran Bedi would not make a good CMMany people weren’t pleased with the BJP’s decision to bring Bedi onboard as their CM candidate. Obviously the party had its reasons which we don’t know, or it took a wrong call. Happens. But seeing that woman cry on TV saying that she was overwhelmed by the love she received, cooking roti at Gurudwaras and pulling off other antics, most of us said “Yaar, yeh nautanki hai (man, this is drama).” And it’s very hard for people to trust someone fond of drama (Arvind Kejriwal seems to be an exception though). Bedi had a lot of foot-in-mouth situations. If she had become CM, she would’ve done more of it and given BJP haters more chances to ridicule the party, further adding to Modi’s headache.
- I stand to gain, whether I am or wrongI was ecstatic when Kejriwal became Delhi’s CM in 2014. Like everyone, I believed that Delhi had done the right thing. The rest, as we know, is history. Kejriwal then returned to Delhi with promises and strategic campaigning. And Delhi-ites have lapped it up. Now is the time to see how much Arvind Kejriwal lives up to his promises. After all, hasn’t the AAP lambasted Modi the most for failing to keep up to his.Kejriwal’s interviews on TV were interesting. He would never look at the camera, except when he was accusing others. I’m no body language expert, but have the ability to pick subtle hints thanks to reading and observations. And a man who keeps looking elsewhere when someone is talking to him - well, he’s lying.Most TV reporters didn’t grill Kejriwal. Even the #RavishAsksKejriwal interview on NDTV looked staged. They just asked him questions which he could answer easily. No one asked him about how he planned to interact with people whose feet he stepped on in his cameo stint, or the condition he left Delhi in. He talked about populist measures like setting up free WiFi in Delhi for 200 crore (mind you, it’s gonna cost more than that) and free water. He didn’t speak about improving the infrastructure condition in Delhi. And trust me, the condition of roads and traffic in Delhi is depressing. Also, by declaring that they will punish every corrupt person, AAP risks entering the same state as the Congress - policy paralysis. This is because bureaucrats will be terrified of pushing things forward lest they get punished. This is what got the Congress into a rut.Kejriwal kept repeating one thing in all interviews: “The Delhi treasury has ₹5,000 crore in it.” I get the feeling that he has an eye on it, that crony capitalism will occur even with the AAP in power.But you know the advantage of being a pessimist, like I am when it comes to the AAP? You’re either proved right or pleasantly wrong. If AAP proves me wrong, I’ll be glad for the people of Delhi. And if I’m proved right… well, you can expect to read an “I told you so” post.
- The BJP can be an opposition partyYeah yeah. The BJP doesn’t have enough seats to be in the opposition. And the AAP has been really classy in offering the LoP position to them. But hey, this move by the AAP is more tactical than classy. They know the repercussions from the central government for denying the BJP an opposition place. And if you are reading this and saying “Oh come on! This is blackmail”, then snap out of it. Politics is rampant at your workplace, among relatives and friends, everywhere. A state and country are much bigger. Every politician has to take it in his/her stride.
Rather than having to prove their mettle in Delhi like across India, BJP’s party members can simply play devil’s advocate to AAP (don’t know how effective that will be though).
- The BJP won't get complacent
However good the intentions, complacency always creeps in. In fact, it's been an Achilles' Heel in human nature. With victories in many states, complacency could have been creeping into the BJP's ranks. This demolition at the hands of AAP will stifle that. The BJP will know that they can't take anything for granted and have to work towards growth and development to stay in the good books of common man. And that was primarily why people voted for Modi in the 1st place.
Kejriwal has a second chance to prove himself in front of the same people. And that is so rare! Forget the ‘5 saal Kejriwal’ song. Kejriwal’s 1st step will be successfully manage 5 days, and then 5 months. After that, we can wonder what he plans to do for Delhi for 5 years. So all you people rejoicing over AK’s victory, remember, this is just the beginning. The true test lies ahead.