AAP: The Real Challenge to BJP

Asia News Agency

AAP: The Real Challenge to BJP

Two developments in quick succession have exposed BJP’s apprehensions about the  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). One was the abrupt decision to postpone Delhi’s municipal elections just days after Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP swept the Punjab Assembly polls. The other was the violent attack on the Delhi Chief Minister’s residence by supporters of the BJP.

The BJP’s clumsiness, writes  Arati R Jerath (Political Commentator) “has put Kejriwal exactly where he wants to be: in the limelight as a victim of its high-handed politics, the David to Modi’s Goliath. It was a role he played with aplomb in a series of television interviews before setting off to try his hand at storming Modi’s citadel of Gujarat in preparation for the Assembly election at the end of the year.”


Kejriwal’s carefully calibrated politics

Kejriwal’s carefully calibrated politics aims first at “decimating the Congress and occupy its space in entirety,” and then turn his attention to challenging the BJP.

“The strategy must worry Modi and the BJP. There are almost 200 Lok Sabha seats spread across over a dozen states where the party goes head-to-head with the Congress. The foundation of Modi’s two successive victories in the Lok Sabha and the BJP’s steady march towards a majority in the Rajya Sabha lies in this geographical area. It is here that the BJP performs its best, having honed its election machinery to perfection to vanquish the Congress with ease……

“Over seven years, the BJP has established a comfort level with the Congress as its main opponent. It knows which buttons to press to get a rise out of the party and then corner it…….Kejriwal and his AAP are still an enigma for the BJP. Used to fighting an old decrepit decaying party like the Congress, the BJP finds itself unable to tackle AAP’s freshness and agility……And Kejriwal has shown that he can match Modi in the art of communication. It’s no mean feat because he connects as a diminutive, soft-spoken 'aam aadmi’ (common man)  with a perpetual cough in sharp contrast to Modi’s muscularity.”

There are two other things about AAP which must worry the BJP, writes Jerath. “One, Kejriwal is ideology-neutral. His politics is transactional: dollops of welfare in return for votes. It’s difficult for the BJP to trap him in secular versus communal binaries or national versus anti-national polarities.

“Two, AAP has an inexplicable ability to win big. Both in Delhi and Punjab, it has managed to sweep the polls with stunning numbers and put the entire Opposition out of business…..”


But AAP has a mountain to climb

But “Kejriwal and his AAP have a mountain to climb before they can be the national alternative they aspire to be. But at the rate the Congress is crumbling, it may happen sooner than later. If the buzz in AAP is correct, restless, disgruntled Congress leaders in states from Gujarat to Himachal to Haryana and elsewhere are already knocking at Kejriwal’s doors.”


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