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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) did not win Delhi outright, but unsurprisingly with the help of Congress they have managed to secure the right to govern it. Since then it appears there is now a media blitz promoting anything and everything associated with AAP. In fact some well known high profile media gurus (e.g. managing editor of Hindi news channel IBN7, Ashutosh) have joined AAP also. So the question arising; what is going on in India?
Is there any merit in AAP and its narrative? Are they now truly the ‘Aap ka Baap’ of Indian politics? Or is it a case of ‘Aap ka Jadugar’ with all the smoke and mirror tricks to hide that AAP might in fact be Congress Lite in guise?
The leader of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal went out of his way to talk about corruption and how he would stop it in its track. He went on TV stating that he had a dossier on Sheila Dixit’s government and that the very first thing he would do is chase the wrong doers. In fact instead of taking action against the corrupt he asked the BJP to give him evidence of the Congress/Dixit wrong doing. It seems the very things Kejriwal was complaining about may well trap him as he feels the lure of political power in his hands.
Within the first weeks of gaining power Kejriwal has attempted to make some big decisions. For example by allocating 20000 litres of water free to each household per month. Unfortunately this was only to those households with a working water meter. Those who know Delhi will instantly conclude that in effect the free water promise is basically to the middle class households. The rest, pay by volume and will have to wait until they get their own working meter – whenever that might occur.
It is early days and therefore even I do not want to prejudge Kejriwal and AAP. I do reserve my right though to question what they are doing and the effectiveness or otherwise of anything they do.
So how does this impact Narendrabhai and the BJP?
First let us be clear there is a difference between the BJP and Narendrabhai. The BJP is stuck in the past with many of its senior membership having their noses knocked out of place by the NaMo juggernaut. Narendrabhai is a forward looking successful political leader who demands efficiency and effectiveness at all levels of governance. Therein we have problem number one, the BJP itself might be its own worst enemy unless it grows up fast, controls its urges to act in a rash manner and gives Narendrabhai the full bandwidth of support. Can they do that? We shall see in the weeks to come.
In the meantime Narendrabhai needs to use his trusted group to forge ahead and take on the opposition with his customary gusto, but tempered with that British guile of diplomacy which is so required of any national leader. Can Narendrabhai do that? Yes, but in my view he is missing some out-of-the-box strategic thinkers who are not afraid to say it as it is – for a friend who has the courage to stop you from making a foolhardy decision is truly a good friend?
I have just heard that Anna Hazare’s right hand person Kiran Bedi has now declared her support for Narendrabhai. This is great news but not sufficient to counter the AAP bandwagon. And let us be clear, in 2014 AAP is the real threat to Narendrabhai since they will take the floating votes and could give Congress a chance to hold on to more seats than they deserve. In my view the vision of Anna Hazare can only be achieved if he supports Narendrabhai and I hope that in the weeks to come he will put country first.
Swami Ramdevji is a well meaning person. However again I am not sure he has got the right people around him to give that advice that is not only suitable for local consumption, but also presents him in good light internationally. In his zeal Swamiji can potentially harm the Modi camp. However, there is one area where if a village to village yatra of persuasion were to take place led by Swamiji’s huge following – they would make a massive difference where it really counts.
We may well end up with a Delhi style outcome with no party having a clear mandate. My personal view is that the BJP will secure around 210 seats which is short of the 272 required to form a government. However its natural allies might well secure the remaining 62 seats to give them the keys to national governance. Failing that it will become interesting to see which way AAP goes this time? In such circumstances would they align themselves with Congress (again), a party they have rejected thus far on the charge of wholesale corruption and poor governance, or will they opt for the BJP who after all under Narendrabhai are more likely to fulfil much of the AAP manifesto anyway.
In 2014 the Indian people will make the most important decision for a generation. If they get it wrong, their children will suffer the consequences for years to come. It is NaMo time; it is time for Bharat Varsh to lead again.