LS polls, AAP dominate discussions at Davos

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and talks about the next Lok Sabha elections seem to be hogging the limelight when it comes to discussions around India at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual talk-fest of the rich and famous from across the globe.

While not many are willing to go on record with their take on “India’s newest political phenomenon” — the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party — and its potential impact on the upcoming general elections, almost every foreign leader is quizzing their Indian counterparts about these issues.

Some Indian leaders have dismissed the AAP’s emergence, calling it a Delhi-centric development and saying such authoritarian and mob-based politics have no place in the Indian democracy.

Still, they admit that the AAP has caught the imagination of the people in India and cannot be wished away as it is making the right noises about the need to improve governance.

While trying to convince foreign investors about the continuity of the country's growth story, Indian leaders are also facing tough questions here about the widespread anticipation that the next elections could throw up a fractured mandate, said many participants at the WEF.

According to them, the AAP’semergence onto the political scene has further added to the uncertainty about the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls, and corporates have begun looking into the possibility of engaging with this new political force.

An Indian-origin chief of a large global conglomerate said he was so impressed with the speeches made by Kejriwal that he called him up from overseas and expressed his desire to meet him on his next visit to Delhi.

While seriously wanting to engage with this new phenomenon, the businessman said he could not pursue it as it would have attracted unnecessary publicity about being aligned with one particular political force that is currently under attack from every other party. Industry body CII’s Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said the political scenario is always very important for the economic policies of a country.

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