On 10th Feb, 2015, Aam Aadmi Party created history in Delhi politics by emerging as the single largest party in the State elections. AAP won on 67 seats out of 70. To be honest, I didn’t expect the party to fare this well. It was not because I had any doubts in Kejriwal’s ability as a crowd-puller but, the negative publicity that had been done by the political opposition seemed to have struck a chord with the Delhi common man.
I can only admire Kejriwal’s skills as a human resource manager to revert back from that sort of low where even he was pushed to admit that resigning from the post of Chief Minister was a mistake. He was cornered and there seemed to be no way out. Of course BJP blundered by fielding Kiran Bedi as their CM candidate. Her obnoxious personality beamed through in all her TV interviews. It was not that she was a bad orator. It seemed as if she had sold her soul to the devil and was gung-ho about it.
Yet, something doesn’t add up. There was a strong case for BJP in the wake of this new Modi era where BJP was projected as a saviour from all sorts of evil. Congress will loot you, AAP will abandon you, only BJP can save you. If I am not mistaken, the air was laden with a lot of favouritism toward the Right-Wing. Now, here is the time to sing accolades to the beauty of democracy. You can never take anything for granted.
BJP dug its own grave by keeping mum on controversial ‘ghar-wapsi movement’ and ‘four-children per family statements’. It also stopped talking about development and Modi brand and focused on defaming Kejriwal. Even when there are kids fighting, the kid who keeps quiet usually gets less rebuttal from elders. BJP was the other kid- the tantrum throwing, sulky, brash, annoying kid. I think that is what happened.
Even then, 67 seats to a party which had lost its face. In Lok Sabha elections, AAP had performed poorly and even schoolteachers refrain from giving good grades to a child who has recently flunked. The Delhi voter is no schoolteacher I guess. It patiently watched and weighed its options. I am not saying AAP was a bad choice, it was common sense to vote for AAP but, it is just too shocking to see common sense prevail so widely.
You can convince an urban rich person to vote for AAP because even though its politics has certain flaws, it is not dirty politics. But, to convince the poor that politics can be free of issues relating to religion and mud-slinging; and then convincing them to vote for a relatively new party- it seems tricky.
I am not saying I know the secret of AAP’s success. I am just saying there has to be a way around populist politics which AAP found. It was either the meetings that Kejriwal held in different Delhi localities, or the alluring campaign which focused on clear and direct promises. Whatever it was, it was a work of genius and all I can say is- well done, crusaders.
On a side note, I admire how Kejriwal has a sense of humour about things. Here’s a video by TVF proving that-