Cong, BJP on a Sticky Wicket as AAP Steals the Show - The New Indian Express

Cong, BJP on a Sticky Wicket as AAP Steals the Show

Published: 29th December 2013 09:26 AM

Last Updated: 29th December 2013 09:26 AM

Saturday was one of those days when all the other political news, except that of one-year-old rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal’s public play on becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi, seemed stale.

What began as an unguided anti-corruption movement in the wake of the multi-crore 2G scam two years ago and which, to everyone’s surprise, drew thousands on to the streets here in an angry outpouring, ended in the installation of a new idea of governance that seems to threaten the existing status quos and challenged the entire political set-up as never before.

Former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari termed it an entente between the AAP and the defeated Congress to keep the real victor, the saffron party, and its CM candidate Harshvardhan out of government formation.

And caught in a bind, the Congress bristled at Kejriwal’s hectoring tone and his audacity even while propping him up from outside.

Quite ironically as Kejriwal, who vowed to “change the system”, was sworn in as the seventh CM of Delhi by Lt Governor Najib Jung at a packed ‘aam aadmi event’ at the Ramlila Ground, the vanquished grand old Congress celebrated its 128th foundation day with a low key function. Shaken to its foundation and reduced to a junior player in a state, which it had ruled for 15 years, the sulking Congress and its eight MLAs, whose outside support made the AAP Government a possibility, skipped the swearing-in.

“Our support to the AAP will be on the floor of the House during voting in the Assembly. Our letter of support pledges nothing else,” says Shakeel Ahmed, AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi.

As for former Delhi Transport Minister and new DPCC chief Arvind Singh Lovely, who barely managed to conceal his irritation over Kejriwal becoming the Delhi Chief Minister said, “Our support is as long as they (the AAP) stick to their agenda (of serving the people) and not indulge in vindictive politics.”

But the Congress seems to be feeling the heat that goes beyond a bad defeat in which its former CM Sheila Dikshit did not only lose the government but also her seat and the fact that the AAP is poaching on the Congress identity. Kejriwal has not only pinched the grand old party’s ‘aam admi’ slogan and made it his party’s name, but also made the Gandhi cap the identity mark of the AAP workers.  Kejriwal also seems to be stealing the Congress’ pro-poor plank and the party’s rainbow coalition, where people of all hues can hitch a ride.

Little wonder that former Union Minister and Congress general secretary Ambika Soni angrily spoke about “AAP’s gimmicky politics” with a “we have seen it all” nonchalance. “We are a 128-year-old, how can you compare us with anyone. We are not afraid of anyone,” she retorted.

Protestations apart, there is no denying that  Kejriwal has gate crashed into the rarified environs of electoral politics, with new ideas and will be a tangible factor in Delhi politics as also in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

Beyond that, no one can say anything as yet.

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