If there is an award for political immaturity, I will nominate AAP for that . But that said, I have to give them a standing ovation for changing the fundamentals of election politics in India .
Gutsy all the way
AAP won in Delhi . Then they left in 49 days – which irked many (including me). And then they decided to field more candidates than Congress and BJP. Vast majority of those candidates are political unknowns – yet they believed in a common cause (anti-corruption) and fearlessly fought the battle . I am pretty sure most will lose – but they will lose with heads held high . Common man figured out they can be the change they want to be
AAP came from nowhere – and built up a massive momentum nationwide . Political immaturity made sure they couldn’t capitalize – but they are well set for next Loksabha elections . They were pretty organized in using their volunteer resources to drum up votes
Picking the right Goliath
Arvind Kejriwal is the proverbial David . He needed to pick a Goliath – Modi , Sonia or Rahul . I think he made the best choice possible by fighting against Modi in Varanasi .
This move immediately marginalized an already weak Rahul and Sonia . And Though Varanasi is a BJP friendly place – Modi and AK are both outsiders there . You can’t fight lions in their den – you will just die . But you can fight realistically by drawing the lion outside its den . That is exactly what AK did with Modi .
He might still lose – but he will have enough popularity to carry it for AAP in Delhi state polls . If he wins – then he can question Modi’s credibility to run the country . It is win win either way .
There is surely a flip side . AK was so obsessed with Varanasi that he was barely in the other 425 places where AAP was contesting . Same is true for their other leaders . So in the grand scheme – this might be a failed political strategy for AAP to not do optimal resource allocation .
Most often – there are no real debates in Indian politics . It’s traditionally a game of empty one way promises . AAP changed the game – they made sure other parties had to take stances on issues . That is probably the biggest positive for India in this election . Not only did political parties express their stances on issues – common man felt they could ask questions too .
AK also set a precedent of answering all questions from the press . His answers were not always concise or good or logical – but he did answer everything the best he could . That forced more leaders of other parties to get out of their comfort zones and give real answers . Few more elections of this kind – and Indian politics might look quite different .
When the dust settles
Tomorrow night US time , the results will start pouring in . Modi probably will become PM although a lot of non-Hindu Indians would hate that .
I can only hope that
1. BJP leaves it’s election rhetoric on religion and focuses instead on development of the country as a whole when they form the government
2. AAP wins Delhi state elections and gets some experience running a state and making principled compromises
3. Real debates continue to happen and the citizens of India hold their leaders to a higher standard
4. In the event of hung parliament , leaders of the parties show some strength in forming long term alliances for a stable government