How Will Congress Countenance AAP? - The New Indian Express

How Will Congress Countenance AAP?

Published: 29th December 2013 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 20th January 2014 06:45 PM

The situation is a bit ridiculous. It is being taken for granted that even if Arvind Kejriwal had agreed to move into the official bungalow he is entitled to as Chief Minister of Delhi, he would have to move out even before all his belongings arrived at his new address. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) functionaries are themselves saying that they don’t expect to be governing for much longer. AAP was catapulted into political prominence precisely because it was vehemently opposed to both the BJP’s and especially Congress’ copiously awful record on practically every front. Not a day has passed when AAP has not railed and ranted against both the Congress and BJP. AAP projected itself as the very antithesis of the Congress and BJP. The two principal political parties are in fact the political raison d’etre for AAP.

Not only that the only way AAP will be able to grow will be at the expense of the Congress and BJP. In the General Elections, AAP will no doubt fan out to other political arenas outside Delhi. When AAP asks voters to vote for politics of change, it cannot afford to be seen as tainted by association. Thus AAP will use whatever time it gets in office trying to provoke the Congress to withdraw support. So far AAP seems to have played its cards right. After being strident about not wanting to govern, it was bamboozled in part by the very media which helped midwife its birth, into governing Delhi. Why else would people have voted if not to allow AAP to govern? By going back to the public to get a feedback, AAP was keeping alive its sense of connect to its core constituency, something akin to, let’s say, Narendra Modi collecting a piece of iron from each village to build the tallest Sardar Patel statue.

AAP, fledgling as it is, will hope that it will not have to fight the Delhi Assembly polls all over again right away, along with the General Elections and will use its actions in Delhi as it governs exemplarily to feed the media’s curiosity about it. The first hundred days, if it comes to that, will be a very noisy affair. The Congress is in an unenviable position: if it pulls the plug when the going gets hot, the electorate is going to be even more unforgiving. AAP leaders are saying that it is a party with 28 MLAs and an agenda of 18 points. The Congress has sarcastically pointed that as many as 16 of the 18 tasks that AAP has set for itself can be accomplished without the Congress coming on board. There is a general expectancy that the clock that started yesterday will stop when the code of conduct for the General Elections comes into play. That will come sometime in the end of February. AAP has said it will go after the corrupt and has pointed out that in the 15 years of Congress misrule and the seven years in which the BJP has had controls of the Delhi municipal corporations, corruption has been widespread. AAP will not need to dig too deep before it finds many fine examples of corruption that will satisfy those who voted for AAP as well as those that AAP wants to vote for it. How will the Congress countenance AAP?

Sudarshan is most recently author of Adrift

Sudarshan@newindianexpress.com

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