A successful strategy is one that takes into account the proper analysis of ground realities and plans for every contingencies. Political developments in the past few years clearly demonstrate that the political landscape has undergone a drastic change. New political equations are taking shape. Earlier, Congress used to be the central pivot in every Lok Sabha elections. But now, its political capital is rapidly waning. So, taking into consideration the political developments and trends so far, few things are glaringly visible.
The new political unicorn, AAP, rapidly spreads its wing
AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal has been making great political gains. Within just a decade of its formation (26 November 2012), AAP has formed its government in two states, Delhi and Punjab, both of which punch way above their weight.
Now, the recently concluded elections have proved to be shot in the arm for the party. It has dethroned the incumbent saffron party, BJP, from the Municipal body in Delhi. With the MCD election results 2022 going in its favour, AAP has ended BJP’s continuous run of 15 years in the civic body. Further, AAP has increased its seat share – from 48 (2017) to 134 (2022). Its vote share has also increased from 21.0% (2017) to 42.05% (2022).
However it has suffered a massive drop in its vote share in comparison to Delhi assembly election 2020 (53.6%), but that’s not important in the larger context what we are going to analyse here.
Further, the results of the Gujarat assembly election are also on the positive side for the Aam Aadmi Party. It was desperately trying to make political inroads in Gujarat but didn’t have a solid organisational structure to make it possible. Thus, AAP getting even 5 seats in Gujarat will have a significant bearing in the state as well as national politics in the coming future.
AAP’s 5/182 assembly seats may look meagre but in Indian political domain BJP has demonstrated the power of 2 MPs. From a 2 MP Party it has become the largest political party in world today. So, if 5 MLAs of AAP gets success in furthering the parties interest, eventually it may lead them to become the principal opposition party in the state. And if anti-incumbency catches up on BJP, AAP may become the default choice for governance in that case.
Keeping aside the ungrounded claims or the shoddy politics of AAP leaders, the party’s 12.92% vote share in Gujarat election holds great political significance. It has made the party eligible to be officially registered under the Election Commission of India (ECI) as a national party.
With its government in Delhi and Punjab, it was already a state party in these two states. Additionally, with a vote share of 6.77% (greater than requisite 6%) in Goa, it gained success to become a state party there as well.
Now with a vote share of nearly 13% (greater than requisite 6%), on account of becoming a state party in the fourth state (Gujarat), it will become the newest and the ninth national party in India.
Read the attached article to know more about the prerequisite condition in order to become a national party in India.
Underestimating AAP as a political challenger
Statements and line of attack in election campaigning is one of the best ways to sense the readings of political parties. On proper analyses of these election rallies, a pattern emerges that clearly highlights that till now BJP has been underestimating the AAP threat. Barring the few election speeches during the Delhi state assembly elections, PM Modi, Amit Shah and BJP top brass has been refraining from launching scathing attacks against AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal or even the party.
It seems that till now, BJP as a party believed that by attacking AAP it will provide traction, platform to the new party and that it may be a counter productive move. However the rapid success of AAP, as stated above, clearly demonstrates that this strategy of political restraint and giving easy passes to AAP is not working at all.
Rather, this gave AAP freehand to spread its canard and built a false aura of Delhi model through hefty advertisements. The myth of the success of the Delhi government in the Education sector also owes its credit to this refrained election strategy of the BJP.
In contrast to that, BJP leaders in their political rallies attack Congress party, Rahul Gandhi left, right and centre. Even though PM Modi, doesn’t directly take names but without mincing his words, he too targets Congress and its top brass for their past faulies, policies and corrupt practices.
Furthermore, BJP seems to be lacking a well-thought out plan to counter AAP, as it has for other parties. It has ample amount of issues to corner the AAP governments be it the gory incidents of crime in Punjab, misgovernance and corruption by both state governments, dereliction of duty and pollution issues. Still BJP seems to be caught wanting for a plan against AAP. Plans like social-engineering and welfare policies against freebies could have been pursued aggressively to check the rapid spread of AAP.
Defeating Gandhis-centric Congress a cakewalk for BJP
In the past few Lok Sabha elections, it was a bipolar contest between BJP and Congress. So, in case, the upward trend of AAP halts for unforeseeable reasons, Congress will be a meek opposition. The past election trends clearly highlight that in that case, it will be BJP’s election to lose.
Election statistics suggest that BJP dominates Congress in a direct contest and the phenomenon is pan-India. In head-to-head contests, the track record of the saffron party, BJP is flawless.
Following are the analyses of India today-Axis My India post poll study of 2019 General election. In 2014, BJP got a massive success rate of 88% (166/189 Lok Sabha Seats) in a direct fight with the Congress. In 2019, it bettered its performance and took it to a staggering 92% (176/192).
AAP will replace Congress as the main challenger and its challenges
Except the initial reckless decision of Arvind Kejriwal contesting against Narendra Modi in Kashi, AAP has been following a long term plan. Firstly, it targeted to make inroads in smaller states like Delhi, Uttarakhand, Goa and Himachal Pradesh. Then, it aimed to utilise the states where it has maximum possibility to capitalise the anti-incumbency of those in power. This is nothing but similar to a man sitting beneath a tree in hope of a ripe fruit getting plucked on its own in its kitty. Sympathises with Khalistan was a major reason for its success in Punjab but anti-incumbency against Congress was also a major reason for AAP’s success in Punjab.
Now, it is hoping to achieve the same in Gujarat. BJP has ruled for 27 straight years and has received the public mandate for another five years. But all good runs do come to an end at some point of time, till then AAP is making sure to be the default option by then by just simply replacing a feeble Congress party.
For a better part of our Independent history, ‘liberal’ voters from brahmin, bania, dalit and majority of muslim community used to vote for Congress party. But now, a large chunk of them is shifting towards the Aam Aadmi Party. Further, it has created a niche vote bank through its controversial freebies politics.
It is a given that AAP will get the due recognition of the national party in due course of time and most probably much before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The party can now contest a majority of the 543 Lok Seats or even on all seats with a few left for alliance partners it may add up in the meantime. Contrary to that, Congress doesn’t enjoy this luxury. It has been wiped out from Southern and North-Eastern states while it is second fiddle to its alliance partner in many states like Bihar and Maharashtra.
Although, AAP too has negligible presence in these states but it is on the upswing and doesn’t have baggage, that may give temptations for voters in certain constituencies to vote for AAP.
Furthermore, it has sizable organisational structure in many states like Haryana, Gujarat, Goa, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. There are high chances that it may open its account in terms of electing MPs from these states. Plus, Punjab and Delhi being its home turf now, it has a good chance of getting decent Lok Sabha seats and even surpass Congress if it keeps on self-destructing itself.
These states in which AAP has made its presence felt have 60 plus Lok Sabha seats. Going by Congress inability to keep its flock together, AAP may further consolidate on Congress’ loss and in some more states can completely replace Congress and eclipse its vote bank. It will be a great challenge for the nation if AAP gets the chance to become the second largest party replacing Congress and chances of that happening are visible. And if happens, AAP being AAP it will go on to elect someone like Sanjay Singh or Amanatullah Khan as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and that is a clear threat to nation at large.
Within just days of taking charge in Punjab, AAP completely messed up the state law and order and finances. It has become an open ground for Khalistanis who are getting their due for allegedly lending support to the Aam Aadmi Party.
Keeping that in mind, it will be no less than a sign of doom if Khalistani terror sympathiser and alleged support gets more power and become the principal opposition party. Additionally, AAP is notorious for doing everything possible to get hold on power even cosying up with Khalistani or Islamist elements from and outside India. Unlike Congress, it doesn’t even have an ideology boundations and can warm hands with anyone on any promise or pretext.
There is no internal accountability in the party as well because it is an open secret that AAP is a one man party and those who try to make their presence felt are booted out within a blink of an eye. All these things clearly highlight that it is high time for BJP to properly analyse AAP threat. Pragmatism should always be appreciated over false bravado.
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