In the run up the 2014 general elections, there was a huge anti corruption wave in the Nation. Riding this wave was Arvind Kejriwal, considered the mastermind behind Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement. He was successful in floating his political party, contrary to the views of Anna Hazara who himself was opposed to giving political colors to the movement. Many political experts cited the limitations in party leadership and experience required to float a successful political outfit nonetheless Arvind Kejriwal went ahead, which many termed as a move motivated to cater his personal political ambitions.
With the dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP with its fractured leadership is on a path to further worsen its electoral position in the upcoming 2019 General elections. As per National Approval Ratings, by C-voter and Republic TV, BJP is on a path to sweep Delhi and AAP is on a path of complete political extinction.
Abandoning its core principles on which the party was formed, Arvind Kejriwal has shifted AAP’s focus on caste based vote bank politics much like the traditional parties such as SP, BSP, and others. AAP in trying to emulate politics of SP, BSP, and others through caste politics and minority appeasement, is rapidly losing its voter base. The angry and aspirational middle class which formed the greater part of AAP voter base carried forward from the anti-corruption movement now feels cheated with continuous desecration of values by Arvind Kejriwal for political gains. Leaders leaving AAP citing Arvind’s autocratic behavior substantiate voter’s feelings.
Formed on the basis of its anti-corruption Image, sharing the stage with the same leaders whom AAP was formed against has not played well for the cadre or the voter base of AAP.
Impatience and political ambitions have denied AAP of proper political management. Failing to understand and implement the patron-client relationship that parties like SP took decades to cultivate with its support base, AAP went ahead without forging a long-lasting voter base that could sustain them no matter what.
With PM Modi’s clean and corruption-free government, the sole ‘anti-corruption’ agenda which Arvind Kejriwal used for all the prior elections is now rendered useless. The inclusion of tainted politicians in AAP has further declined the party’s credibility. Recently a controversy involving AAP lawmaker from Uttam Nagar, Naresh Balyan has emerged. Income tax officials seized more than Rs 2 Cr. in cash which was linked to the lawmaker. “Balyan has been detained for questioning after it emerged that the recovered cash had purported links with him. The tax officials are questioning the MLA and others present with him about the source of the money,” a senior official said.
Efforts to appease minorities also seem to be going in vain; Muslim voters despite overarching efforts of minority appeasement by Arvind Kejriwal, are not impressed as they do not consider AAP to be a credible and strong political force to protect their interests.
The departure of senior leaders like Yogendra Yadav and others from the party, has left AAP faceless in other states, therefore, limiting AAP’s presence to Delhi only. The departure of leaders has also caused cadre management issues, ultimately resulting in instability and inefficiency in the party.
Punjab, the state where the party had the best prospects to win a few seats, party’s ambitions have taken a downfall, after the infamous ‘Apology-gate’ where, Arvind Kejriwal apologized to Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, for alleging his involvement in drug trade. Following his apology, Majithia withdrew his defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal. This apology didn’t go down well with Bhagwant Mann.
ਮੈਂ ਆਮ ਆਦਮੀ ਪਾਰਟੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨਗੀ ਦੇ ਅਹੁਦੇ ਤੋਂ ਅਸਤੀਫ਼ਾ ਦੇ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਾਂ ..
I m resigning as a president of AAP Punjab …but my fight against drug mafia and all kind of corruption in Punjab will continue as an “Aam Aadmi “ of Punjab
— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) March 16, 2018
In Delhi, considered the fort of AAP, problems are compounded with constant infighting and alienation of popular leaders like Kumar Vishwas from the party. The lackluster performance of the state government and failed attempt to forge an alliance with Congress in the state has also left the party red faced. As AAP which was created by Arvind Kejriwal on an anti corruption sentiment against Congress, for political ambitions, had to approach the same Congress to save its political ground.
Involvement in ambition driven politics has adversely affected Arvind Kejriwal’s’ credibility and analyzing the current political scenario, many experts believe it to be the last election for AAP.