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Rediff.com  » News » Delhi election results: Political pundits don't get it

Delhi election results: Political pundits don't get it

December 11, 2013 14:20 IST

The AAP will face the more determined BJP at the next round in Delhi. Sure it would have to counter a Modi-led campaign but hasn’t it already weathered that? In the re-poll, AAP would not need to bother much about the decimated Congress, down on both moral and image. All it needs to do is stay the ground till then, says Mahesh Vijapurkar.

A joke doing the rounds now catches the essence of the political situation in Delhi. Sheila Dikshit, sullen after the defeat, agrees to be humoured and a person just utters one word, “Delhi”. She says, “I don’t get it”. He responds, “Exactly”. This could be Bharatiya Janata Party-centric too.

Wresting control from the Congress would have been wonderful for the Aam Aadmi Party, but merely denying it to them because of a fractured mandate is just as good. In fact, there are significant aspects not fully appreciated: two crest-fallen mainline parties would now have to woo the voters again.

That the common man would be relishing right now. Given the intractability of the situation, the voter has to perforce go back to the polling stations with perhaps the expectation of a decisive verdict. Chances are the AAP may be favoured again but with better numbers. There is no reason not to.

It is easy to guess how the Delhi voters who saw AAP’s symbol on the electronic voting machines as an alternative to the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option would rejoice at the plight of both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. To them, going back to the polling booths in some time would only be a minor inconvenience.

To suppose, like the Congress has, that its demise in other states was due to price rise, it would only be part of the excuse. The fact that AAP became a surrogate for NOTA because of the widespread corruption has been ignored. People are so restless with graft in all places, that AAP helped sublimate their anger.

The air is dense with political punditry that would have us believe that AAP was running away from a responsibility of forming a government when the same inadequacy of numbers does not seem to apply to the BJP. It is in fact an attempt to measure the AAP with the same yardstick with which politics was judged hitherto.

All such wisdom pouring out in television studios amount to hardly much because the wave of support for AAP stems from a total disdain for politics as practiced by other parties. To ask it to compromise, even form a government despite not having the numbers to have the scope for legislation to pass muster is an intended sabotage.

Suggestions, as have emanated from the voluble Mani Shankar Aiyar for instance, that AAP was shirking its responsibility by not forming a government meant that instead of becoming a political party, it remained an NGO with a proclivity for agitations, is actually a trap. It is a bid to see the AAP floundering and thus lose its sheen.

The same insistence has not been patent with regard to the BJP which is closer to the magic number than the AAP is. Neither, it so happens, it dare break the AAP, for if it were to be even tried at this point in time, the backlash could be as severe as what Congress faced when NT Rama Rao’s government was dismissed in Andhra Pradesh.

By not forming a government with numbers less than an experienced BJP is one of the wisest moves of the AAP, a remarkable exhibition of determination. It stands by its principle of not compromising on the core values it has avowed to uphold. It has also shown how the established parties are at the common people’s mercy.

Revolutions don’t happen just like that. A mass of people join in for ushering in a spring and those who voted for the AAP did so with a vengeance and those who had seen AAP candidates missing -- like Shazia Ilmi -- with less than 400 votes would grieve at the missed opportunity. 

They are more likely to be more aggressive next time. The gains, even if their number fell short of the magic figure of fifty per cent plus one to have a majority, have been nothing short of a wonder. Dethroning the Congress and checking the BJP presumably bolstered by Narendra Modi wave is something.

Arvind Kejriwal who has toned down his past shrillness has now begun to make the point that it was not his victory, nor that of the AAP’s but the peoples’ -- a metaphor so convenient and so expressive -- would appear to be part of the plan to keep voters interested.

It is on this fact that the AAP’s re-poll strategy could be designed for the re-poll to be held in all probability with the elections to the Lok Sabha. It is here that the AAP can hope to gain because it would necessarily have candidates for those constituencies as well. Instead of flagging, the campaign would be re-energised.

Sure, the AAP will face the more determined BJP at the next round in Delhi. Sure it would have to counter a Modi-led campaign but hasn’t it already weathered that? In the re-poll, AAP would not need to bother much about the decimated Congress, down on both moral and image. All it needs to do is stay the ground till then.

And when doing that, some of their leaders need to hold their tongue. Prashant Bhushan needn’t express his personal opinion of a common minimum programme with the BJP as a possible means to form a government. Nor Kiran Bedi, the one-time associate in the anti-graft movement, needs to advocate a relationship with BJP.

These worthies fail to understand that such opinions, voiced simply because a television channel sends an outdoor broadcast van and team to them for a byte, cause confusion and actually detract from their own commitment to an alternative political milieu that AAP hopes to usher in.

Mahesh Vijapurkar