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Decoding AAP Victory

The Indian polity have shown that their writ runs large in choosing who would govern them in the recently concluded Delhi polls. The maturity they have shown is admirable and commendable. No wonder, Delhi has the largest per capita income amongst all cities in India, ₹360,644 (US$ 5,100), and an average literacy rate of 90% among males and 70% among females as in 2019. In a poll campaign that was bordering on insanity with inane issues raked up now and then, the people have shown us that the democracy is alive and kicking. The politics of hate, of diatribe and innuendos was thrown out into the dustbin. The politics of hyper nationalism and religion-based polemics was shown the door. Truly the ‘aam admi’ has arrived. Rajesh Khanna’s iconic song ‘yejo public hai, sab jaanti hai’ could not have said it better.

 

There are lessons galore for everyone concerned in these polls. For BJP, the strategy masters must reach the drawing board again. They did start on a right note of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, and ‘sabka vishwas’, but shunned it somewhere to their own detriment. Nationalism pitch works, but not necessarily always. When the youth of a country are looking for jobs, when they find it difficult to make ends meet, they are looking for credible answers to their setbacks and misfortunes. Nationalism and Religion do not work on empty stomachs. Though freebie culture must be eschewed, it adds value to people’s aspirations. A party that won a landslide, barely eight months back must introspect, if they find themselves reduced to a single digit in state polls barely eight months later. Instead of indulging in negative politics, the top heavy campaign and its managers, if had carried a development message, the results would certainly have been different. They all hit the ground, with the clarion call, ‘Desh badla, ab dilli badlega’ but didn’t follow up with action on the ground. The people However, showed that ‘Desh bhi badla’ aur ‘Dilli bhi badla’.

 

The bitterly fought elections have also shown that a lie does not become a truth, if uttered a million times. It also showed that half-truths are equally unproductive. For a party that has been out of power for 21 long years, the desperation saw no reason. Rather than showcase the work they did, they banked on what others did not do, completely running a negative campaign. Second level leaders should have been groomed to take over the mantle with seniors hand holding. The charisma of the top leader cannot probably bail out all the time, for people are not so condescending on the follies, whether of the leaders or of their masters. Having lost several states in the recent past, could they have afforded, to still hold on to issues like CAA? In their own words, CAA does not affect any Indian. How then does it become a political rallying point? Jamia, or JNU or AMU or a Shaheen Bagh truly pulled the party down the vortex they themselves created.

 

Indian National Congress, the other national party had no strategy worth the word. They probably were going through the motions. A game is played to win. There are kings, queens and viziers and each has a role. The ideal outcome is when both parties playing the game win. The next best is, at least one of them win. It was as if this game was played to lose, unless that was the strategy. How would it help the party, proving, ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’, especially when no one even asked for this phenomenal help? Twice, ending up with no score and preferring to wander in the wilderness for more years is simply hara-kiri. There has been no MLA or MP of the party in Delhi for six long years now. What worked for the party was that nothing worked. An out of box approach should have resulted in an alliance with AAP, for at least they share the same ideologies. 4.5% share of the votes polled, and 66 out of 70 contestants losing deposits, must surely make the national party sit up and take note. In the process, have they not lost their bargaining power elsewhere? They owe it for the sake of our democracy. With such a lacklustre performance and having reached the nadir, it is time they went up.

 

AAP, the winner all the way, ran a campaign only on local issues of ‘paani, bijli and women security’. In spite of grave provocation and personal attacks, the AAP leaders were never drawn into joining issues. A single-minded purpose saw them bare only their development plank and the work they did in the last sojourn. They took on the professionals in their own backyard. They took a stand and stood by it, that beat even a pro incumbency and gave them a landslide victory with a 54% people share. Religious polarisation effectively saw the Muslim vote consolidate in their favour, in the absence of a viable alternative. Their leader raised the aspirational values of the youth and supplemented with an iron resolve of delivery. In a way he assured, rather than promised. The counter was always that, the people loved honesty in delivery or that the people were angry, at the opposition’s shenanigans. Certainly, a blue print for hate free campaigns in future. Though freebie culture may not be good economics, it still ensures people money going back to people, which is not bad.

 

The elections have certainly been revealing for many. It has thrown up several options and strategies for political parties to work on. For one, a bi-polar or two-party system is the best bet for success. It is necessary to stich up alliances a priori, so that they are reduced to being bi-polar. If a political party, a renegade of sorts and weak in organisation skills fails to see reason, ignore it. On the contrary, if it is accomplished in its own rights, the ambitious from the bi-polar entity, must see the renegade actually perform better and take away a certain voter share so to say, for its own chances to improve. Had congress performed significantly better, the benefit would have gone to BJP. Complete annihilation of congress actually helped AAP post a runaway victory. We need astute leaders who innovate on political potboilers enacted to screenplays written by political strategists. The result will truly be mesmerising.

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