A crisis brings best out of AK - By Ashutosh

The Jantar Mantar rally in Delhi on Sunday was a grand success in terms of both the number of people who showed up as well as their response once they got there. Planning this rally two weeks ago, we were all rather tense. We did not know how Delhi would respond to another mass gathering. Around 1.30 pm, when I reached the venue I was asked if this was a show of strength. I said, it was not, as a show of strength is a sign of weakness. I can now say that the people of Delhi have shown their strength and it is clear for everyone to see that the BJP is running away from assembly elections in Delhi.

I have no hesitation in admitting that the last few months have been tough for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). We lost all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi, including mine, which was a crushing blow, though our vote percentage improved by 4%. In the assembly elections last December, AAP had achieved 29% votes and this went up to 34% in the parliamentary elections. This is proof that AAP has a solid social base and its performance in December's state elections was not a fluke. But despite accruing a strong vote percentage in the national election, we as a party were taunted at every forum. Opponents, especially the BJP, did not lose a single opportunity to tear us apart. An atmosphere was created by political and social elites in which it was claimed that AAP was a one-time wonder and it was already a spent force. This media blitz was so strong that even our own volunteers started to have doubts. Nothing can be more dangerous than self-doubt.

Meanwhile, news of infighting among leadership accentuated the crisis. A few of our senior leaders including Shazia Ilmi left the party. They blamed a lack of democracy within the party for the same. Letters written by a few leaders for internal discussions found space in the media and an impression was created that that top leaders were fighting among themselves and internal cohesion, which ordinarily is the backbone of any organization, had crumbled.

We were in the news for all the wrong reasons. Arvind Kejriwal was sent to jail for a week. The reason - he did not want to sign a bail bond in a defamation case filed by the BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. Interestingly, Arvind had been given bail earlier in four similar cases by other courts.

The BJP meanwhile showed its true colours. Its leader Harshwardhan had written to Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung on December 12, 2013 that the party did not have the numbers and would not attempt to form the state government. Now, the party changed its tune and tried to poach MLAs from us and from the Congress. Our MLAs were offered large sums of money. Promises were made for ministerial berths. And when it did not work, threats were issued. Our MLA from Shalimar Bagh, Vandana Kumari, lodged a complaint with the police providing CCTV footage of the same. False cases were filed against our leaders and volunteers. AAP Delhi state secretary Dilip Pandey and four others were sent to jail for no reason. Police officials openly told us that their hands were tied, and they were being pressured by BJP leaders and their ministers. A few confided in us that their instructions were to crush AAP. It was a tough time. It was a test of our leadership and inner resilience; it was also time for soul-searching and introspection.

The Party had been in election mode since its inception. If the party had to grow, it had to change gears and get into an organization mode. The Organization had to be strengthened at the grass-root level; volunteers had to be empowered for bigger battles. A new leadership has to emerge at the middle level which can take the party forward in the future. It was a testing time for Arvind also. I have always believed that a crisis brings out the best in him. He chalked out a plan. A team was built and work began.

Setting up an organization at the grass root level and mass contact were the twin tasks which he chose for himself and for the party. He has all this time been in every corner of the city. He has apologized for resigning from the Delhi government. The people of Delhi have liked his honesty and transparency.

It is incumbent on the Lt Governor to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections as in a democracy there is no substitute for elected government. AAP has decided that it will take the battle to the peoples' court and educate them about the constitutional impropriety committed by people occupying constitutional offices.

The People of Delhi have shown their resolve in great numbers yesterday. Thanks, Delhi, for standing up for honest and clean politics, once again. more  

I see a lot of enthusiasm here in favor of AAP. AAP has a social base: Yes.
Though, the actual benefit to people is in air only. This social base is not proving enough to help AAP form a govt. on its own.
None of the three (BJP, AAP, Cong) can explain how it will be possible to form a government.
Can anyone convince, if the LG dissolves the assembly immediately, fresh elections will help? more  
I remember there is a precedence in which President wrote to the PM to advise the former to do such and such thing. Can the President not take any initiative in this case? Not dissolving the assembly and holding Elections in Delhi is really deplorable. If BJP Govt is not taking right action, President, who is above party politics, may take the initiative. more  
Aam Aadmi Party is our party, a party of common people. This party cannot be suppressed for long. It will rebound after every attack. more  
The BJP, Congress, media will take sometime to realize that AAP is there because there is an urge in the society to have a political representative who articulates the concerns of the people, particularly in respect to corruption, and a political party that will raise basic issues, like " bijli-pani " with sincerity. Such a body, which AAP has now come to be identified as, cannot be wiped out by police action. Media blank-out will also not help. Without any tangible ground work, by the Govt, the " darling " of the masses, not so very long ago, Modiji- though he still retains much of his popularity even after slipping from that high pedestal- now sounds more & more like a mere glib talker. So whatever the BJP/Congress/Police/Media do, after Jantar Mantar rally AAP is heading in the right direction. Let supporters not lose heart with an odd set back here or there. more  
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