AAP ka paagalpun ya strategy?

By Prabhakar Timble
21 January 2014 06:12 IST

Time and tide is not on the side of the Congress party as the nation gets electrified to constitute the sixteenth Lok Sabha.  The Congress party has nothing in its store room to be filled with pride. The inventory is filled with internal problems and sagging image. BJP is far ahead with a motivated cadre. The regional political outfits have their loyal soldiers for assured numbers. Middle class urbanites are volunteering to establish live-in relationship with AAP. The unconventional strategies of AAP and the never heard before tools such as the Chief Minister of Delhi going on a ‘dharna’ tends to increase the popularity graph. The critics view that AAP still prefers to be in agitation mode rather than governance injures. However, the advantage to damage ratio is higher in terms of the public debate and gaze it adds to Arvind Kejriwal and his team. AAP seems to usurp the media space which otherwise would be occupied by the BJP and Congress party. It could be a clever campaign strategy to stay in protest mode for AAP’s broom to sweep decent numbers.  However, the Chief Minister and his council would cause harm if they remain adamant on the ‘dharna’ tactic. As Head of the government, he needs to exhibit tact and work out solutions rather than plead helplessness. The organizational wing can afford such protests, not the legislative and the ministerial group of AAP. What is dangerous is keeping all ends loose and not articulating the ideology of “swaraj” which AAP claims to espouse.

Rahul Gandhi anointed as the chief campaign manager has nothing more to lose and definitely is in no position of envy. His choice as the Congress Prime Ministerial candidate is a fait accompli if the party manages to lead a winning coalition, though it is the MPs who elect the PM. The Congress party by not officially naming the PM candidate has taken a wise decision. A direct competitive war of words and repartee between the two individuals i.e. Rahul and Modi stands checkmated. The publicity managers of Narendra Modi were waiting to launch an onslaught. As they started firing well in advance, even before the enemy was in a fighting range the machinery has exhausted the bullets. The Congress party just refused to put Rahul Gandhi at the crease and provide an opportunity to the BJP to flag off the Rahul versus Modi sprint. Narendra Modi gave vent to this frustration by referring to the whole event as an attempt to save “Sonia’s son” from being sacrificed. Modi is well known for such references giving us an indicator of the level of grace or disgrace that NaMo will provide to the office of the Prime Minister. However, the BJP brigade got the Mani Shankar sent opportunity of making capital of the fact that once upon a time, Modi was a tea vendor.

 

Surprisingly, RaGa has made a good beginning positioning the achievements of the Congress government in terms of poverty-alleviation measures, provision of right to information, democratization, women empowerment, decentralization and power to local self-governing bodies. The hint on a generation shift and the change from the old guard can revitalize the Congress party. It is risk worth taking and the best time is when the party has sunk very low in public perception.

Election outcomes and political alliances are unpredictable. It is not all about only development, GDP and good governance. If it was only these parameters, the Sheila Dixit led Congress government would not have faced a worst defeat and a party without experience and any track record would come into power in New Delhi only on promises. The politics of Sri Ram temple brought sizeable seats to the BJP through consolidation of the Hindutva vote. However, this politics also contained the BJP from capturing the throne. Mobilization on the single issue of fighting against corruption and installation of Lok Pal made AAP a household name.

Elections and voter behavior is like trading in future markets. The future prospects can swing in any way for political parties. Arvind Kejriwal’s protest and ‘dharna’ can do magic for AAP. If it fails for AAP, it could turn thrilling for the Congress party and unnerve the BJP or vice versa.

Rahul Gandhi looks to be a politician who will face a beating at the Lok Sabha polls. If Rahul unleashes a new vocabulary of development and Modi continues with his arrogant jibes without listening to the note of caution sounded by Lal Krishna Advani of being overconfident and over complacent, the Congress could itself be in for a surprise. Kuch bhi ho sakta hai RaGa; koshish toh kijiye!!

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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