AAP 2015 and After

By Cleofato A Coutinho
11 February 2015 23:20 IST

By the time, this appears in print, Delhi election results would demonstrate Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) halting  the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah led March of attempting to bring ‘presidential sort of democracy’ in this diverse country. The Delhi elections 2015 places the 2014 Lok Sabha Election results followed by rout of the Congress led governments in Maharashtra and Haryana and JMM led government in Jharkhand in a different perspective. In each of these elections, the governments in office faced a huge anti incumbency. The anti corruption crusade laid the necessary foundation for their down fall.  If Ashish Nandi is to be believed a wave lasts for about two and half years. The so called Modi wave petered out a few weeks after the general elections. In UP and Bihar where the local satraps  managed a formidable opposition to BJP, it lost in the bye elections. Now the AAP driven opposition to BJP has decisively proved that in 2014 elections there was no positive wave, but clever management of harvesting of anti incumbency feeling in the country coupled with a deliberate hate campaign around minorities particularly in the Hindi heart land of India.

What has changed at the ground level in the last eight months? Except for dismantling the Nehruvian planning commission and replacing history with mythology, putting Naturam  Godse on a pedestral and spreading divisive agendas like ‘ghar vapsi, love Jihad’. There is no tangible difference. Price rise continues to haunt the common man. The drop in international prices of oil did not bring cheer even to the middle class.  

After the unprecedented seven out of seven victory of BJP at Lok Sabha elections, it must have been a huge dilemma for the Delhi electorate. With Narendra Modi portrayed as the tallest leader  and the only one who can usher in development with Barrack Obama by his side. BJP had financial resources that nobody  could not match. RSS foot soldiers provided the much needed organization. The 49 day disastrous performance of Arvind Kejrival gave AAP the tag of an anarchist. The battle for Delhi was portrayed as a battle between governance and anarchy. The Delhi electorate was not ignorant  that the central government could starve a AAP government of much needed funds. The Delhi police is under the central government. The municipal corporation is not with AAP. The Delhi electorate must have been aware that AAP has some of the best excuses for non performance. Still they opted to reject the type of pro industry, anti environment development touted by Narendra Modi. Delhi electorate has rejected the development flavour laced divisive agenda supported by the monumental silence of the Prime Minister.

AAP which drove the middle class juggernaut in 2013 and 2014 has cleverly changed track and successfully harvested the impatience of lower classes and the poor who together constitute over half the population of Delhi. The poor could not live on a diet of speeches for long. The theatrics work for a short period only. In 2004 even Atal Behari Vajpayee could not make the people listen to him or see the ‘shine’ in India. It is said that the upper middle class is electorally more effective due to its impact in opinion shaping. The Delhi results once again demonstrat that one cannot win elections on the upper middle class and the rich vote bank. The pro industry economic agenda of the central government has created a new AAP avatar with socialist leaning.   The ordinance raj was appreciated only by the corporate sector.  The tall promises made to different communities were difficult to achieve. The land ordinance in particular re-opened a new conflict area, the central government could not handle. The more the present government sides with industry on matters like land, environment and mining, the more space  it shall provide the opposition   


Congress has suffered a severe setback on its residual vote bank.  Though it got wiped out the Hindi heart land, whenever there is a bipolar contest (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh), the poor and lower sections stood by the party. Even in Gujarat, the poor stood by Congress. But that sector which was Congress party’s core constituency seem to be withering away. At the moment AAP is only Delhi centric phenomenon. Without much effort they won 2 Lok Sabha  seats and have a substantial vote bank in Punjab. Haryana may not be far away with its other mascot Yogendra Yadav.  

It is said that Delhi shows the way. The Congress defeat in 2013 showed the national mood in the country. But how the Delhi phenomenon shall unfold in rest of the country is being observed with keen interest. But the lower sections, poor and minorities have new sense of hope. Even the traditional middle class which got disillusioned with Arvind Kejrival, has not taken kindly the new ‘idea of India’ propagated by the fundamentalists. Certain other indications have already been provided. AAP packed its candidates with winability criteria. They gave tickets to those who deserted the Congress and the BJP. With a strong mission to defeat the BJP (congress did not matter). AAP has showed flexibility, even in area of criminal record of its candidates. Even Shanti Bushan could not digest that AAP is a now a mainstream party!

Having abandoned the upper middle class constituency and opting for the constituency of the lower classes and the poor it has clearly shown the country that it is in the same mould as the splinter groups of the Janata parivar. These groups also have the same social philosophy (the left of centre approach). How that shall work at the ground level shall unfold in the elections of West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala where the left of center philosophy has a huge constituency.




Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Cleofato A Coutinho

Cleofato Almeida Coutinho is a senior lawyer and one of the constitutional expert in Goa. A member of Law Commission of Goa, he also teaches at Kare College of Law in Madgao.

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Previous Comments

Why this hatred against upper middle class and the industrialists? It is a fact that every one of them belonged to the down trodden strata of society a few years or decades back. It is the intelligence and hard work which raises a person's sociio-economic level. Preaching of hate against economically resourceful peoplemay wn you salute bank but a very bad and self defeating thoughts.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 15 th February 2015 06:21


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