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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 10 New Delhi, February 22, 2020

Massive Mandate to AAP to have Repercussions beyond Delhi

Friday 28 February 2020

by Sher Singh Sangwan

The genesis of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can be traced from the aggressive agitation against corruption since 2011. After the sidetracking of the struggle by the then ruling Congress (UPA), the activists led by Arvind Kejriwal set up the AAP on November 26, 2012. Within a short time, the party made its first electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, where it emerged as the second-largest party, winning 28 of the 70 seats. The party made the government with support of eight MLAs of the Congress. That government made its mark in reducing corruption within a month with the anti-corruption branch under its control at that time. But the government collapsed within 49 days for its top agenda of Lokpal when the Congress ditched it.

The Election Campaign in 2020

In the 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, the AAP won 67 of the total 70 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won three seats, while the Indian National Congress (INC) did not win any. The AAP Government worked tirelessly from 2015-2020 despite odds from the Lt Governor controlled by the BJP. If achieved a lot without the Delhi Government’s control on DDA/land in Delhi and full control over the administration. The AAP election campaign was totally based upon its good work without being carried away by the low level allegations and attributes by the major national parties. During a few meetings covered by me, it was observed that the AAP candidates talked about their contribution and nothing else. People themselves were mentioning the work done and donating too for the election campaign. The people ignored the mighty election campaign on the non-economic issues by other parties. Now for the third time in the 2020 elections, the Delhi voters have given 62 seats to the AAP and seven seats to the BJP with nil to the Congress and others. The vote-share of the AAP is about 54 per cent (equal to 2015) as against 38 per cent of the BJP and four per cent of the Congress. Thus, the AAP has almost repeated the massive mandate which it received in 2015.

Repercussions

The repeat of the massive mandate to the AAP in Delhi may have some major national repercussions. Firstly, it may change the narrative of politics, that is, people may prefer the party which works for providing quality schools, hospital facilities, electricity and drinking water, etc. at reasonable rates. The non-economic issues to seduce people may be relegated to the background.

Secondly, repeat of the massive mandate to the AAP will have repercussions beyond Delhi. Voters in Delhi are from all over India and they occasionally visit their native places/States. These beneficiaries of the AAP Government’s work may narrate the good education in government schools, better health, electricity, water facility, etc. in the States they hail from. Thus, workers from outside Delhi may be convincing ambassadors of the AAP. Hence, outreach of the AAP may become nationwide with already positive acceptance of the party across the country. We used to say in promoting Self-Help Groups,

first forming/establishing

the group/party by all means, then

performing

in the group, then

normingby democratically selecting office-bearers

and thereafter expanding.
Hence, it is the right time for the AAP to start with spreading its wings in the neighbouring States with democratic, acceptable and visionary State leaders. 

Dr Sher Singh Sangwan is a former Professor, SBI.

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