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Beating the BJP in Delhi is doable for AAP

By Ashutosh
November 17, 2014 18:30 IST
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Aam Aadmi Party workersThe AAP has no money; no big business houses to provide unlimited funds. Its posters and slogans will not find space on television and in newspapers; it will also have to face the prejudice in a section of the press. But it has thousands of volunteers and their will to rewrite Indian politics, say Ashutosh.

When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he was asked how it felt. He said, "It is a small step for man but a giant leap for humanity."

Today activists of the Aam Aadmi Party feel the same way. The team was ecstatic when the decision to dissolve the Delhi assembly was announced. The biggest curse is to live in uncertainty. The people of Delhi have been hoping for an elected government for the last eight months but real politics and fear of the ‘known’ kept first the Congress and later the Bharatiya Janata Party nervous and indecisive. One can understand the psyche of the Congress which knew it had met its nemesis in Arvind Kejriwal, but the BJP's case is more curious.

The BJP juggernaut under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was virtually unstoppable, be it in the national elections or the state elections. It has vanquished one and all till now. In the Lok Sabha poll it won all seven seats in Delhi where earlier in December in the assembly elections, Kejriwal had enacted a most dramatic upset in Indian political history and snatched an unexpected victory from the BJP.

The BJP leaders were left waiting for their coronation. But the BJP's sense of timing baffled everyone. It waited for five months. After four abortive attempts at government formation and a reprimand by the Supreme Court, the BJP finally mustered up the courage to go in for elections rather sheepishly. It's a great moral victory for AAP, a party which is yet to celebrate its second birthday. It is truly a Goliath versus David story.

On the face of it, it looks like a small step, may be a mere dot in world history, but it is a giant leap in the sense of stopping a leader and party which look invincible at the moment. That the BJP wanted to form the government in Delhi is no secret. This was of course a reflection of the fact that the BJP was not confident that it would win the assembly elections in Delhi were they to be held. This was the first sign of nervousness in the BJP camp. The second proof was its attempt to delay elections as much as possible. Thanks to the Supreme Court the BJP did not succeed beyond a point and had to surrender before the moral pressure of the highest court of law.

It is a great victory for a party which has no political experience that it did not let its MLAs to be poached by the might and manipulation of the most powerful party. It is not a mean achievement in a polity which is riddled with ungrateful politicians and their deep lust for power.

India in the past has seen some of the most bizarre incidents of MLAs crossing over from one party to another in a rather smooth manner without any regard for democracy and the Constitution. No party, big or small, is untouched by this disease. But the AAP stands tall today. This speaks of a very high level of commitment of its leaders and workers to alternate politics.

But for the AAP it's not a time to rest. A wounded tiger is more dangerous. The BJP and its leadership will wait for the final assault with more brutality and ruthlessness to demystify the enigma that is the AAP.

AAP has to listen to the prophetic words of Max Weber: 'The successful leader has to be independent of the limitations of circumstances and to rely on his own psychological strength and willpower.' Weber further writes, 'He knows only inner determination and inner constraints.'

In Delhi, the AAP has to fight with a party which has no dearth of money and muscle power; which is right now is at the zenith of its power. In the days to follow the people of Delhi will witness a naked dance of unhindered media blitz and PR exercise. Their candidates will have extra money to splash around in their respective constituencies. It will be backed by the most organised force in our memory and their unmatched propaganda machine. The AAP has none of this.

It has no money; no big business houses to provide unlimited funds. Its posters and slogans will not find space on television and in newspapers; it will also have to face the prejudice in a section of the press. But it has thousands of volunteers and their will to rewrite Indian politics. They will walk to each and every conceivable corner of Delhi. These thousands of unknown soldiers of change, many of whom have left their lucrative jobs to create a new dream for new India, will fight the might of establishment with their ‘willpower’ and ‘determination’.

The leadership has to overcome its limitations and constraints. It has to constantly innovate. It has to think all the time to stay ahead of its rivals. It has to force conventional parties to follow and react. It has also to discard a few of its old habits and tactics to keep its rivals guessing. The leadership has to behave like what Friedrich Nietzsche had said about "Overmen" long back. Nietzsche said they are 'valued individuals who could transcend the prevailing ethos of a dull social order and stifling convention and express their moral autonomy and psychological independence from the values and institutions of the modern world.'

If the AAP leadership wants to convert the ‘dot’ into a full ‘chapter’, it has to challenge the conventional wisdom like it did a year back and defeat the BJP in the coming elections. It's doable and will be done. I have intrinsic faith in the spirit of new India which is desperate for a great leap.

Ashutosh is a former journalist who quit to join the Aam Aadmi Party.

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