The Party can't go on non-stop

The politics of Delhi in the recent past has revolved around the Aam Aadmi Party. The ups and downs of the party have raised questions among voters and rivals about its future. Will it rise again or be banished from the Delhi scene?

The uncertainty is triggered by its defeat in Delhi on all seven parliamentary seats, resignations by many founder-members and dissatisfaction of its members over episodes like Arvind Kejriwal’s recent decision of choosing jail instead of furnishing a bail bond.

The party, however, scored second in all the seven parliamentary constituencies, pushing the Congress to the third position – a clear indication that AAP just cannot be ignored in Delhi.|

But former bureaucrat Arvind Kejriwal, who turned into an anti-corruption activist before finally donning the politician's hat, is losing support within the party as many MLAs feel he is arrogant and doubt his decision-making abilities.

His resignation from the Delhi chief minister’s post was not welcomed by many party workers and MLAs.

Though he has apologised now for quitting, the damage is already done. A majority of middle class supporters got irked with Kejriwal for running a ‘one-man show’ and not letting the party work for the people as promised.

His infamous dharna as CM at Rail Bhawan, seeking action against policemen, was also opposed by some AAP members.

Despite his numerous justifications, Kejriwal’s U-turns on his decisions also dented the party’s vote bank.

From the time of the formation of the government, when he allegedly broke his oath on not taking support from any party, to his recent seven-day jail stay, his statements appeared knee-jerk reactions on which he failed to stand firm.

Kejriwal initially opted for jail instead of furnishing a bail bond in connection with the Nitin Gadkari defamation case. He then agreed to it.

Since his release from Tihar, Kejriwal has been holding a series of meetings with party volunteers and MLAs on his first decision and then the U-turn.

Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh have even circulated recorded voice messages to justify Kejriwal’s stand.

All this has created an image of an indecisive political greenhorn, who has the support of the masses but lacks the agenda of a mass leader.

Social media against AAP

The social media, which worked substantially for AAP at the time of its formation, has virtually turned against it.

Spoofs are being uploaded on websites like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter about Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav. 

They mock his attire, his honesty, his ‘aam aadmi’ tag and even his cough.

A recent photo of Yadav, clicked while he was sleeping at a police station after being arrested from outside Tihar Jail, went viral on social networking sites.

Facebook and Twitter users uploaded dozens of hilarious morphed pictures of Yadav sleeping at various places, including one on the moon.

Dissent

A number of founder members of AAP have resigned voicing against the functioning of the party. Vinod Kumar Binny, Shazia Ilmi, Ashwini Upadhyaya quit after accusing Kejriwal of working under the influence of a small group around him.

Sources say 10 of the 27 party MLAs have demanded a change of AAP's next chief ministerial candidate.

They feel that Kejriwal can behave unpredictably if any trouble surfaces again.


The MLAs want the party’s second-in-command Manish Sisodia to take charge before the next Assembly polls.

Some 20 MLAs had put pressure on Kejriwal to rethink his stand on government formation, after which he approached Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung requesting him not to dissolve the Delhi Assembly, which is in animated suspension. But a day after his meeting with the LG, he took a U-turn and said the party will not explore chances of forming a government and will prepare for fresh Assembly polls.

Who called Congress leaders?

After reports in the media surfaced of some AAP leaders requesting Delhi Congress leaders to support government formation, AAP remain tight-lipped on the issue.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely had said, “Many people from the rival political parties call me. I can’t say who called me from AAP and for what reason. But I can assure that Congress will never support AAP again for government formation in Delhi.”

Support base

The party is getting support from a number of lower middle class and slum areas on power and water bills.

After his resignation, the subsidy provided by Delhi government ended and consumers received hefty power bills.

“We are paying twice the power and water bills after March 31. The AAP had given the best relief to the people of Delhi who always faced problems with water and power supply,” says Nitin Jain, a resident of Chandni Chowk area.

And despite things going against it, the party has managed to penetrate Muslim and Dalit dominated areas. Parliamentary election results clearly indicate that Muslim voters shifted substantially from Congress to AAP.

In many Dalit-dominated areas and in slums, the party’s vote bank is still growing as it gave the white AAP cap to people who were least talked about in political galleries of Delhi.

The MLAs from these areas, like Prakash Jarwal of Devli and Dinesh Mohaniya of Sangam Vihar, are adopting the traditional dharna and ‘bawaal’ tactics of the AAP to raise the issues of water shortage.

Such agitations by AAP MLAs continue to help the party gain potential votes in slums and unauthorised colonies, where 30 per cent of Delhi's population lives.

Lost votes

Parlimentary election results show that AAP led on 10 Assembly segments, indicating a decline in its vote share: In the Assembly elections earlier, the party won 28 seats.

Some 1.5 lakh autorickshaw drivers and more than two lakh contractual workers of Delhi, many of whom supported AAP during the Assembly elections, may now be turning away from the party.

The contractual workers, a majority of them teachers and sweepers, had voted Kejriwal to power on his promise of regularising their jobs.

Autorickshaw drivers supported AAP but got little in return. Kejriwal resigned as Delhi CM before fulfilling the promises he made in the party manifesto, irking many of its `traditional' supporters.

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