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Opinion: AAP ahead? What is it looking like after May 16

DC | Ujjwal K Chowdhury | May 01, 2014, 14.05 pm IST
Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal with school children during an election campaign in Varanasi. (Photo: AP)
Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal with school children during an election campaign in Varanasi. (Photo: AP)

Mumbai: One of the defining issues of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is the enigma, hope, confusion and ambiguity, all at the same time centering around the 18-months old party Aam Aadmi Party, born out of the anti corruption movement led by Anna Hazare in Delhi.

When AAP came out with flying colours in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections, winning in 28 seats and cornering one-third of the votes cast in Delhi, there was an immense surge of hope and possibility for the party across the nation. Lakhs of Indians become members of the party, online and offline. And as the Lok Sabha elections drew closer, thousands started applying for candidature to contest.

However, first coming to power with the unsolicited support of Congress in Delhi, then leaving power in a huff when the AAP government failed to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi assembly due to the combined onslaught of BJP-Congress, the situation changed drastically.

There were questions as to why a minority government was being formed in Delhi by AAP with just 28 MLAs in a house of 70, and that too with the support of Congress, which it just dislodged in Dec 4 elections.

Then questions were raised as to why did AAP relinquish power in 49 days without taking the people into confidence and in a huff even if Congress and BJP were together to defeat its anti-corruption bill.

Hence, when AAP put up 450+ candidates across India with less than 30 crores in hand as resources, the reactions ranged from a rare wow to a far common cynicism. The party leadership spoke of 100 winning seats while the media opinion polls gave from 3 to 9 seats, none touching the double digit too.

As we are within the last fortnight of the long drawn nine phases, 45 days elections process, it might be interesting to look at what AAP can realize this time around and what could be its impact in near future.

In spite of the popular media, print and electronic, focusing largely on the two major parties and allegations of paid media, not all untrue, flying thick across the electoral spectrum, many reports and pictures show that AAP has managed to put at least a million volunteers across the nation to work partially or full time in this period for the party in its first Lok Sabha battle. That is the first success of AAP apart from putting up 450+ candidates, not all coming clean on its own touchstone.

As things stand on ground today, AAP is sure to cross 15% of votes cast in at least three states: Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, and is expected to cross 6% of votes in three more: Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and there could be a few other surprises too. That makes AAP a national party which by definition in People’s Representation Act should have at least 6% or more votes in at least four states of India. That is the second significant achievement of AAP.

Next are the seats and the leaders who are expected to win. Even unkind opinion polls give at least 3 seats to AAP in Delhi and the most likely winners are ace historian Raj Mohan Gandhi, journalist Ashish Khetan and Dalit face Rakhi Birla. AAP would like to believe that journalists Jarnail Singh and Ashutosh are also likely to win.

All media reports show an AAP swing in Punjab, and the likely winning seats are Chandigarh, Sangrur, Gurudaspur and Ludhiana. A few seats in Haryana, specially Faridabad and Karnal or even Hissar may throw surprises in favour of the party.

In western India, Medha Patkar and Meera Sanyal in Mumbai, and Dr Kanu Kalsariya in Bhavnagar have given a strong fight. There seems to be a good contest delivered by P Uday Kumar in Kanyakumari and the first woman DGP Kanchan Chaudhary in Haridwar on behalf of AAP, though victory in any of these seats will not come easy. And in Bengaluru, former Infosys CFO Balakrishnan is the most possible winner, if any from Karnataka.

Hence, forgetting extremes of 3 and 100, a safe informed guess could be 10-12 MPs of AAP going into the Lok Sabha post May 16, and that could have ace journalists, lawyers, social activists and social scientists, all of whom can impact the functioning of and debates within the Lok Sabha eminently. Even 10-12 MPs within 18 months of formation of the party should be considered a great leap forward. And it is futile to debate what could have been if Delhi mistakes were not done by the party of professionals and social workers, with no political experience.

In every election around the world, a new first-timer party is likely to be evaluated low in opinion polls as neither the pollsters factor a new force in survey, nor do the voters come out vociferously in support of a newbie party though may participate in a silent revolution in its favour, as seen in the Delhi elections which proved all opinion polls wrong.

A subdued victory of NDA, the most likely scenario, or a khichdi sarkar of the Third Front and Congress together, coupled with at least 4 MPs from Delhi, would catapult the party to gain prominence in Delhi again and be favourites for getting clear majority in the Delhi elections as no party is in a position now to govern Delhi with the current Assembly composition.

There are elections in Haryana and Maharashtra within September 2014. An AAP surge in Delhi and Punjab in Lok Sabha and beyond will catapult the party to a strong position in Haryana and some position of significance in Maharashtra by the year end.

The scenario above can be the best possible outcome of its efforts as AAP turns two years come October 2o14, and this itself should b enough. The way ahead for 2015 will come out from the womb of 2014 and its final scenario in politics.

That AAP cannot be wished away as a national force is proven by the fact that a large number of educated clean professionals, social workers, RTI activists and scholars have come into electoral politics through the AAP route and will remain a force ahead.

It is also proven by the real politics in the most talked about three seats of the country: Varanasi, Amethi and Rae Barelli.

BJP puts powerful Smriti Irani in Amethi to break anti-Rahul votes, make him win and Kumar Viswas defeated when Kumar is close to giving real fight. BJP does not put up any strong candidate against Sonia in Rae Barelli where AAP fails to put up a strong candidate even after trying out with Shazia Ilmi and Justice Fakhruddin. Congress gives a return gift by putting strong local MLA Ajay Rai with Muslim, Kolis, Kurmis and rural support to break anti-Modi voters and make Kejriwal defeated and Modi win. It further ensured Muktar Ansari’s support for itself hoping for further polarization of Muslim votes. Interestingly, Muktar was defeated in the last general election in Varanasi by Murli Manohar Joshi of BJP by a mere 17,000 votes, while Ajay Rai came third with more than a lakh votes contesting then on SP ticket.

This surely is the biggest electoral match fixing of 2014 between Ahmed Patel of Congress and Amit Shah of BJP, indeed!

Nevertheless, irrespective of whether a gung-ho or subdued BJP comes to power or Third Front with Congress comes to power, a reasonably strong AAP contingent in Lok Sabha, national party status and presence of AAP across India, and it coming to power again in Delhi with increasing presence in Northern and Western India, are necessary as a quality control in Indian politics, keeping aloft the anti corruption banner, and bringing home focus on probity, transparency, opposition to crony capitalism and dynasty rule, et al. It is good for the Indian democracy by all means.


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Sharandeep Brar's picture
by Sharandeep Brar (not verified) on
Very balanced and well written.
TP Radhakrishnan's picture
by TP Radhakrishnan (not verified) on
Excellent analysis of the present situation in the general elections, 2014 and the possibly expected scenario after May 16. However, it is still very subdued and extra careful in the projections for AAP. I feel that the AAP will win a minimum of 75 and may go upto 100, leading to a clean, corruption-free governance and a bright future for India.
Ajeet Singh's picture
by Ajeet Singh (not verified) on
First of all its wow say to writer. The post explain close truth of AAP. However we all know most of media houses do not want to write about this political revolution. Thanks Dude.. Keep it up with same work.
tapasvi bhardwaj's picture
by tapasvi bhardwaj (not verified) on
I wud say that the writer of the article has tried to play safe with his prediction and analysis. Having said that its a very nicely written article.but to me there is a straight contest between AAP and congress for 2nd & 3rd largest party.AAP indeed is a rising national party but obituary of congress will be written this election
Rahul Ghodeshwar's picture
by Rahul Ghodeshwar (not verified) on
Excellent Article. Author has done a great job in summarizing the importance of having AAP MPs in coming parliament. Good to see honest and fair journalists still exist.
Hargopal Singh's picture
by Hargopal Singh (not verified) on
It is a piece of analysis worth possessong
Hargopal Singh's picture
by Hargopal Singh (not verified) on
I have been following very closely the developements around AAP.It is definitely of immense interest to know about its future.People like me are seeing it as a new hope but a lot of things about it require to be known and understood.The country is responding to it in a big way .At the same time there are many things which create doubts about its viablity and sustainability.Unless there is some clear picture about it not much advance can be made by it itself.
Bharati .s 's picture
by Bharati .s (not verified) on
I salute Deccan chronicle for this honest ,thought provoking article . I do hope discerning indian public will see the hype the main media in India is creating by dramatizing trivial political mudslinging between congress and BJP as if these are the the issues on which indian voters should decide. They must not fall as victims to this demeaning drama,and decide to vote on principles and the credentials of candidates. Surely AAP has fielded good candidates and is fighting on principles . Indian voters must rise above bad politics and vote for good candidates .
ankit's picture
by ankit (not verified) on
really nice article. nice to read after going through a junk of spiced up articles at other places.
Nidhi Arora's picture
by Nidhi Arora (not verified) on
Very well written and explained article. Thank you :)
sdsdgs45's picture
by sdsdgs45 (not verified) on
Who is AAP candidate against Sonia, Salman Khurshid,Ashok Chavan etc etc We are not gonna buy this logic that AAP failed to put a strong candidate. AAP is hungry for muslim votes so Kejri is fighting against Modi too loose as he also dont want to take any responsibility. Not even of a MP..He can only blame others without proving anything.
sheela modi's picture
by sheela modi (not verified) on
archana srivastava is AAP candidate against sonia gandhi
chandrashekhar vairale's picture
by chandrashekhar ... (not verified) on
When we all know that "The System" is a corrupt one... Why does the Press Expose all this? AAP has been born due to the 'Undercurrent' it is the voice of the unspeakable and it can be lie threatening to the careers of 'Many a Politician' of the old.... Have we not seen Sheila being packed off in safety to Kerala as The Governer (president's representative) and No One in the Press has anything to say? The Cancer is spread all over and all the thick skinned are so Immune and in sensitive....In compassionate and selfish!!! All "unknowns" won against so called 'Diggaj' opponents...AAP ka message abhi bhi sab ko samaz nahi ataa !!!!!! don't blame AAP..... blame aap(yourselves) for this nonsense carrying on for 60 + years....
ancypaladka's picture
by ancypaladka on
Excellent and well written article I endorse views expressed in the article
Happy AAP's picture
by Happy AAP (not verified) on
AAP is the only party I can trust.
sameer2016's picture
by sameer2016 (not verified) on
In order to get votes both corrupt parties have got the following strategy: Congress plan is to put fear of Modi. BJP plan is communalise the people. Lets not fall into this . Name even 1 corrupt Congressman who has gone to jail in 10 to 15 yrs of BJP rules in states or 7 yrs in Centre. and vice versa. Dono mile hui hain..dono chor hai...
Sham's picture
by Sham (not verified) on
Best and fair reporting . Congratulations .
CA Ashish Sinhal's picture
by CA Ashish Sinhal (not verified) on
Mahen's picture
by Mahen (not verified) on
As I always said and you know I support AAP and even supported them Financially as well as to its Philosophy as long as they stick to Anti Corruption, Anti Criminalisation in Politics, and always would want AAP to win as many seats as much as possible to do a constructive Opposition role for the betterment of our Nation.!!! But in particular against Arvind Kejriwal's so called handholding or political partnership with Congress and adapting same religion divide politics and always keep singing and call all others as Corrupt. Let him prove in next 5 years that he can do other than Dharna, Publicity and just finger pointing. What He should do after election, if God willing he comes to POWER (???) should try and administer at least one small state like Kerala or Assam and see where do they stand. India is a complex country to manage Sir...not just a Delhi. Could he answer one question- Between Sonia-Rahul- Vadra (Mafia family gang) vs Modi could he not decide to oppose to whom first and most strongly to throw them out from Power? Why did he chose Only Modi to fight against....ANSWER is very SIMPLE- Because he knew that he can't win against either Sonia or Rahul due to their mafia and also he knew Modi has the highest popularity and public support at this moment, it was best for him to gain maximum Public Attention and Publicity to fight against him.....
Anit's picture
by Anit (not verified) on
One of the best articles to have been written in recent times. Only facts spoken and no dirty politics. Bravo!
Anonymous's picture
by Anonymous (not verified) on
Best piece I read this election season. Expecting similar no nonsense analysis of other parties and 2014 elections overall
Asok kumar k v's picture
by Asok kumar k v (not verified) on
The article shows actuals in figures no boggus or exaggerations. AAP in present surveys could get only 3 to 9; but upto 12 of May they can amass atleast 2 digit figure. In My opinion a silent wave is present in voters mind will turnout as seats when results come. This trend was evident in Delhi election. Thanks for this worth reading Article.. Keep it up.
pradeep mehta's picture
by pradeep mehta (not verified) on
It is an eye-opener piece of writing presenting a balanced picture of current scenario. Even with 12-15 or, say, 20, if a few surprise-wins, seats, it will be a formidable force both within and outside parliament. Can we expect more from a less than two year old party? Whatever be its short term impact, in the long run, AAP’s functioning will force all the parties to become clean and honest to varying extent and, this will be its most important contribution, whether or not it comes to power.
Anonymous's picture
by Anonymous (not verified) on
:) very funny...AAPtards believe they could win 70 or even 100 seats...No wonder they don't realize connecting with masses is difficult than sitting in front if computers...They wont even win a single seat in this election...The leader is fake, the party is fake and their commitments are fake too...I feel pitty for the young supporters who were fooled by AK...He ran away when opportunity was there to prove his credentials..he hardly spoke on national issues, policies...Tried to play minority card with urdu subtitles on topis while meeting minority leaders...Anyways best luck 49 day party..RIP after 16th May....
mannish's picture
by mannish (not verified) on
Very well analyzed and I second authors opinion here..
Salim Satani's picture
by Salim Satani (not verified) on
I 100% agree with the over context of the topic. As an individual I have done my assessment for AAP winnability & to my expecatation it come between 50-60 MPs. However, I am not concerned with number of MPs from AAP, as the way the AAP has changed the entire dynamics of Election & thninking of other Parties in India is very very important to me & for the entire nation. Salim Satani, Vadodara, Gujarat.
Umang's picture
by Umang (not verified) on
Very well written thats the fact,,,,well done AAP
Umang's picture
by Umang (not verified) on
Very well written ,,,good analysis
Nazar Thaha's picture
by Nazar Thaha (not verified) on
Excellent Article which we do not see from other medias, however felt the projections were bit lower. If people get hope, AAP will be unbeatable and powerful force in the upcoming elections. I wish they will be there someday soon.
Ranjeet Menon's picture
by Ranjeet Menon (not verified) on
A very well crafted article. The reason why I detest BJP is, they were never a good opposition party. When a party is not voted to power, it means they do not have enough confidence of the people. The time in opposition is meant to get more connected to people, oppose all wrongdoings of the government and bring it to the attention of the people. This is the mandate of democracy which BJP never understood. They were simply making some noise in the Parliament and it was very evident that they were silent partners in Congress in every scam. A party that could not provide strong opposition has no right to claim to provide good governance. When the Anna movement was going on, the country was in desperate need of a leader who could stand up and take the fight against corruption further. Where was Modi then? Kejriwal was jeered and challenged to enter politics and prove his worth and he has done exactly that. AAP has to first evolve into a good opposition party, fight for the causes of the country, prove their worth and then win the mandate of the whole country.
albela's picture
by albela (not verified) on
This article is balanced? The author has assigned some imaginary feel-good numbers to the party and based his entire analysis on hot air. Which poll predicted 12-14 seats, can you tell me? The unkindest poll gave the party 2 seats not 3.When you already know what you are going to write in the article, how difficult it is to conjure these numbers out of your hat? The biggest failure of AAP is that its achievement = 0 It may pass, fail or do whatever but still its achievement will be = 0 To think that a clown like kumar vishwas posed any serious challenge to rahul gandhi shows the kind of fantasyland you guys live in. The only person who poses a serious challenge there is BJP. All your calculations in amethi and varanasi have gone awry. Defeat was certain, but now it will be severe. That is why all this talk about match fixing without any proof- usual low-brow, degraded political language which we are now used to from the great Gandhian party. Who asked you to go around running like headless chickens across India. You should have governed Delhi well, even if congress would have pulled out, you would have gained sympathy. But no, absolute fear of failure did you in. Your biggest failure is that you were the darling of the people, now the people think of you as at best irritants. Why? Think and reflect. Dont give gyan to people. How difficult is it to gather some disgruntled autowalla types and get votes? So we must support you because some uncouth autowallas support it? Go and do- you- know- what yourself
Binoy 's picture
by Binoy (not verified) on
Nicely written except with poor factual understanding of ground swell of political temper and multiple influences in arriving at assessment figures. NDA= 181 AAP= 107 UPA= 94 SP= 21 BSP= 12 TMC= 19 AIADMK= 18 DMK= 7 BJD= 18 JDU= 12 NCP= 6 CPM= 9 CPI= 5 TLGN= 6 TDR= 4 JRCONG=8 OTHERS=16 ============== 543 ==============
Pravin's picture
by Pravin (not verified) on
Very nice article. Most important is it is very honest and realistic. I like your article very much. Thank you.
Hemant Shewade's picture
by Hemant Shewade (not verified) on
I endorse the views of author. Well written. Truth will prevail.
jjjj's picture
by jjjj (not verified) on
what a fantastic article !!!! at last some media source which is not sold out!!!!!!!! AAP is the best party .. and even if it gets 10 seats(though it will surely get wayy more) it will be a huuuuuuuge success since its just one year old ...and common public of india is not that aware and cognizant
sanjeev goyal's picture
by sanjeev goyal (not verified) on
A cliched analysis with desperate attempt to project a positive AAP outlook, while facts/situations proves otherwise.. Better to come out of denial ..sooner the better :)
Common Indian man's picture
by Common Indian man (not verified) on
To me it looks like the article is written by a AAP admirer. Initially I loved AAP. But after seeing last 4-6 months, they prove to be same as other political party. In the article it says anti-Rahul and anti-Krejiwal. But to me i feel like its anti-Rahul and anti-Krejiwal. I would have been more than happy and admired Krejiwal had he been contested against Rahul Gandhi and defeat him.. where Rahul gandhi and his cong govt is already proven as the most corrupted. I don't know if i am wrong or right, but Krejiwal these days looks to me biased to RahulGandhi &Co more against Modi. God only shall know the real truth.
Amarji's picture
by Amarji (not verified) on
Nice article. A theoretical approach while analyzing the current situations. You can't predict what's there in the closet post 16-May and that's why they are called surprises. But a much much better analysis than whats going on these days on various other social platforms. Nice to finally see someone who is considering the post-election presence of AAP in parliament. Really no point in fighting over the absolute win/loss of AAP. Its a change which is necessary, gradual and impact-full.
Believer's picture
by Believer (not verified) on
It is indeed nice to read a genuine article after a while on the current scenario.
Oshon India's picture
by Oshon India (not verified) on
AAP organisers are anti-national and fooling the people as the writer of this article. And I am surprised how even educated people can be fooled by mavericks like Kejriwal for personal power. He is trying to break Indian economy as well as this country.


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