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AAP to go for rebuilding to re-emerge as political alternative

 

Posted on Friday June 06, 2014

Last updated Saturday June 07, 2014

  Aam Aadmi Party, AAP, India, politics, Arvind Kejriwal
A sprout of India’s anti-corruption movement to bring in the Act of Janlokpal (to empower people to raise their voice against injustice and corruption and to set an independent system to ensure justice to people), India’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), literally meaning the ordinary people’s party, had a bad show in the bygone general polls.
Basudev Mahapatra
 

At a time when Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is believed to have entered a testing time after a bad show in the last general elections, the party holds its national executive meet to churn out the reasons and explore possibilities of rebuilding and re-strategizing.

A sprout of India’s anti-corruption movement to bring in the Act of Janlokpal (to empower people to raise their voice against injustice and corruption and to set an independent system to ensure justice to people), India’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), literally meaning the ordinary people’s party, had a bad show in the bygone general polls.

Except four members from the state of Punjab, the party couldn’t make any other candidate win from rest of the country. The chief of the party, Arvind Kejriwal, lost to the BJP’s prime ministerial face Narendra Modi.

AAP was expected to impact the national polls as it performed so well in its debut fight in the Delhi assembly polls of December 2013 where it won 28 seats out of 70 and formed the government in support of the Congress party. Kejriwal became the Chief Minister for about a month and walked down as he failed to get the anti-corruption (Janlokpal) bill passed in the assembly. To many, “quitting power was a blunder by Kejriwal.”

But to Kejriwal, “it was display of accountability. You have no right to continue in power when you fail to fulfil what you have promised to people.”

To most of the AAP leaders and followers, it was a sacrifice for a bigger objective in favour of the country. Probably, the dividend of the sacrifice was expected to be reflected in the general polls, which didn’t go well with the party.

The party didn’t get a single parliamentary seat where it formed the government few months back. “The results were shocking,” said AAP spokesperson Yogendra Yadav, after the results came, while party president Arvind Kejriwal said, “we could have done better in Delhi.”

Going by the vote percentage produced by India’s Election Commission, AAP, though got defeated in all seven seats in Delhi, had increased its vote share from 29.49% in the 2013 assembly polls to 32.9% in the general polls of 2014. In Punjab, where the party won in four seats, the vote share of AAP was 24.4%. In the state of Haryana, where the party expected to score better, the vote share remained at 4.2%.

After brainstorming over the defeat in the general polls, senior leaders of the party admitted that “quitting Delhi was a mistake. We could have communicated with the people in a better way.”

Following the post-election brainstorming, several of the leaders of AAP started resigning from the Party. Founding member and spokesperson Yogendra Yadav resigned from party’s national executive, which is not yet accepted. Several of the state chapters have started revolting and blaming the national leadership for their “distance from people on the ground.”

“In many states, people supporting our ideology didn’t even vote for us because they thought their votes would go waste as we were not in a position to come to power,” said Prashant Bhushan, a founder member and part of AAP national executive, while talking to the author.

“In fact, AAP played a bigger role for the victory of BJP across the country by raising the issue of corruption and building a wave against the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government led by Congress. It’s only because AAP didn’t have strong presence at the grassroots, BJP hijacked the benefit and converted it to electoral gains,” said Chandra Mishra, a political analyst.

It might have been taken as a bad show by AAP and many other parties, but some like the Forward Bloc, founded by the hero of Indian freedom struggle Subhash Chandra Bose, still see a lot of potential in the party. The Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrat Biswas said on June 4, 2014, in a press conference that “Forward Bloc would try to reach out to upcoming political forces like the Aam Admi Party.”

“FB will exchange views with Left parties, outside the Left Front, like the SUCI and the CPI-ML to form a “greater Left unity” besides the AAP,” Biswas added.

“We haven’t yet discussed about such a proposal in our national executive. We may take a decision in the three days national executive meeting starts from June 6,” Prashant Bhushan told.

“There will be lots of churning in the executive meeting over the reasons of party’s bad show, building methods to reach out to workers and people at the grassroots, deciding our stand about the BJP led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government and its policies,” said Prashant Bhushan adding that “the party will take a pro-active role to uphold the interests of people and the country.”

Asked how the party plans to re-emerge after the fall, Bhushan said, “It’s not the fall but an opportunity for the party to rebuild and reorganise to emerge with enhanced strength as the political alternative. And the national executive will pave the way for it.”

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