oppn parties Why AAP Fell By the Wayside

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  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
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  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
India shows solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 by lighting diyas and candles at 9 pm yesterday as requested by Prime Minister Modi
oppn parties
Why AAP Fell By the Wayside

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-03-13 13:29:47

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Illustration courtesy: Hindustan Times
Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been handed out a reality check by the voters of Punjab and Goa. The party and its supremo were confident of forming the government in Punjab and being in a position to influence government formation in Goa. But they managed just 20 seats in Punjab with a creditable (for a debutant) 23.8% vote share. Incidentally, this was lower than the vote share of the hugely discredited SAD which got 25.3%. If AAP could not beat SAD in vote share when the latter is at its nadir, its chest thumping was just vanity. Additionally, its high profile candidates Bhagwant Mann and Gurpreet Ghuggi were rejected by the voters. In Goa, the party got zero seats with an insignificant <6 percent vote share. Its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes was not even in the running in his seat, emerging fourth. So is AAP just a Delhi-based regional party? Is Arvind Kejriwal just a megalomaniac power seeker?

It is too early to say the first and there is no doubt about the second. AAP miscalculated by not bringing Navjot Singh Sidhu on board. But that was more due to Kejriwal’s resistance to yielding space to, or sharing the limelight with, anyone. It is not to say that Sidhu-Kejriwal would have trumped the immense appeal of Capt. Amrinder Singh, but at least the scales would have been even. Kejriwal alone, with his rag-tag army, was clearly found unfit to rule the state. The high-pitched Delhi-type campaign found favour with a section of the media, who egged Kejriwal on till a time he became a prisoner of his own imagination. 110 seats, he proclaimed and we will rule Punjab. The people who attended his rallies were perhaps those who were bored with conventional rallies and wanted some entertainment. In the end, they gave him nothing in return.

Kejriwal needs to go back to the drawing board if he has any pretensions of taking AAP to other states. He has no money, no infrastructure, no second string leadership (only chamchas) and very little governance to show for in Delhi. He only has his king-sized ego and megalomania. That, sadly, will not take him far in Indian politics. For all the talk of professionals and disenchanted Indians, including NRIs, supporting the party for bringing about a change, why is there not a single person with leadership qualities in the party? And where is the change? Change cannot be brought about by this kind of ensemble, which increasingly resembles a lot of inexperienced freeloaders without political roots, led by an inflexible person who cannot see beyond his own nose.