December 2013 became memorable for three reasons. Firstly, the Modi wave made its presence felt in the Assembly Elections of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarah where the Congress faced humiliating defeats. Rajasthan where the Congress was in power was in for the worst ever rude shock when the election results were out because the saffron surge had wiped out the Congress hook, line and sinker. Secondly, the results of these Assembly elections gave a clear indication of which way the political wind was blowing when the Lok Sabha elections were barely months away. And lastly, the country witnessed the dramatic rise of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Delhi too had gone to the polls along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarah. Just like these three crucial stares, the BJP did well in Delhi. But its tally of total seats (32) proved to be a little too less to form the government in Delhi. The magic number to form the government in Delhi is 34 and neither the BJP nor the Congress had this magic number much to the amazement of the entire country.
Was there no Modi wave in Delhi? How was that possible? Why did the voters get confused and give a fractured verdict? These were the questions on everyone’s lips. The one year old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – a political greenhorn – had made its debut in the Delhi elections of 2013 and it was this AAP that had halted the saffron surge in Delhi. Its founding member Arvind Kejriwal – of the Jan Lokpal Movement fame – became an overnight household name because he had challenged the might of Delhi’s incumbent chief minister Sheila Dixit and defeated her with a whopping margin of 25,864 votes in her bastion.
His wet-behind-ears candidates also gave a tough fight to Sheila Dixit’s cabinet ministers and by making a clever use of the anti-incumbency factor against them, the AAP candidates defeated the sitting MLAs and cabinet ministers taking the entire country by surprise. The Congress faced a humiliating defeat in a contest that had turned triangular and won only 7 seats. The AAP won 27 seats and eventually formed the government with the Congress’ support. It was indeed ironical because the AAP had promised to never take either the Congress or the BJP’s support to form the Government.
Arvind Kejriwal, befitting a common man, took an oath at the Ramlila Maidan as Delhi’s chief minister and became Delhi’s youngest chief minister. His muffler and Wagon R became symbols of a common man who had fought the evil and corrupt system to enter the corridors of power. The AAP wanted to chase the corruption out of the system and provide relief to the common man. Arvind Kejriwal had become an anti corruption crusader turned chief minister who had a magic wand to cure Delhi of all its evils.
But the Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal let down the people of Delhi as soon as the party assumed power. It provided governance only for 49 days and Arvind Kejriwal’s tenure as Delhi’s chief minister is full of controversies, grandstanding, lies, blame games, midnight raids on mere suspicions and blow by blow media coverage of all these 49 days that provided non stop drama to India while bringing the normal life of Delhi to a standstill. Arvind Kejriwal sat on dharna to save his erring law minister Somnath Bharti and slept on the pavement when the Delhi’s cold was at its biting best.
People grew disenchanted with the lofty promises of good governance sans corruption and soon it became apparent that Arvind Kejriwal had taken the people of Delhi for a royal ride. He and his party were in an NGO mode and they did not know how elected representatives should behave to resolve the issues. The party’s tendency to take to the streets at the slightest hint of dissent from its detractors or the opponents started giving a Migraine headache to the people of Delhi.
But much to their relief, Arvind Kejriwal himself threw in the towel over the differences with regards to the passing of the Lokpal bill with the Congress and the BJP. The people of Delhi had finally heaved a sigh of relief when the self-confessed anarchist Arvind Kejrwial pulled the plug on his own government.
Power is like a magnet that attracts many people towards its centre. The same thing happened with the AAP. Many high profile people joined the AAP and soon its core support base was disenchanted when the new members with the famous names or surnames started getting special treatment and attention form Arvind Kejriwal. When the ticket distribution for the Lok Sabha election began, many dissenting voices from the AAP emerged. There were charges of zero transparency in the candidate selection and the ticket distribution.
The AAP has fielded high profile candidates like Ashutosh, Raj Mohan Gandhi, Jarnail Singh, Ashish Khetan, Anand Kumar and so on to take on the Congress and the BJP candidates in Delhi. The AAP thinks that it will be able to replicate its success of Delhi assembly election held last year. But the party was new in those days and it had that freshness and an air of novelty about it. A lot of water has passed under the bridge between December 2013 and April 2014.
One week is a long time in politics and five months are an eternity. People of Delhi have seen the true colour of the AAP and once bitten twice shy principle will be at play when Delhi goes to the polls. Going by the current mood, the saffron is the flavour of the season since the broom failed to clean out the corruption as promised. The less said about the Congress’ hand the better.