AAP must give up its Parliament ambitions if it hopes to survive
Unlike earlier this year, when AAP was successful in stopping the BJP in its tracks and preventing it from forming the government earlier this year, this time its debacle will pave the way for the party sweeping the national capital. AAP, if the prediction turns out to be true, will certainly fall flat on its face.
Elsewhere in the country, nobody has predicted any seat for the party, except for insignificant - mostly single digit - voteshare. So, is this the beginning of the end for the country's only political spring after the independence movement? Most likely, it is!
]Delhi was just never a good enough platform for AAP: AP Delhi was just never a good enough platform for AAP: AP The writing was always on the wall, ever since Delhi started gearing up for elections. An ABP-AC Nielson poll conducted at the end of March showed that the party's support base had shrunk considerably since it remitted office in Delhi. However, it was still predicted to win three seats in Delhi, with an equal number going to the BJP. But, what the latest poll shows is a progressive erosion of voter support. From three seats, AAP's projected tally has come down to one, and if the trend continues, it could also lead to nothing. And the party may prove to be a flash in the pan, as many had noted when it clocked second in the Delhi assembly elections.
So what went wrong with the AAP?
It's mostly a failure of its scale-up and roll-out strategy. Delhi was an outstanding take off, but there wasn't sufficient escape velocity that would have placed the party into an orbit that would help it reach out to the rest of the country.
Either the party didn't get the vital details correct or it read the details wrong. Or even worse, it tried to gamble big time, knowing full well that it was not even halfway ready for a national scale up.
For a short gonzo fight, characterised by half-baked allegations and self-righteous proclamations, the size and scope of Delhi was all right for AAP. Everything was within the reach of Kejriwal and his comrades and there was money and a lot of enthusiasm among the people. It subsequently walked into debacle after debacle - in terms of governance - as soon as it formed the government, but there was still scope because the intent of the party appeared genuine.
As we all know now, Kejriwal walked into a governance-quagmire without any preparation and capacity and hence began to drown. It somehow got out faking righteousness and wanted to better its tally and definitely some numbers in the parliament. Here again however, there was no preparation. India now had a party that was thinking on its feet, building a ship while sailing it. But India's politics is too cruel and it doesn't give any chance to amateurs. AAP was a total amateur.
The party was scaling up without any strategy or wherewithal. Other than Kejriwal, there wasn't a single person who had the charisma and the technique to move people. He was the Modi of the BJP - but Modi had access to immense resources, a huge back-up and a party structure that has been in the business of elections and governance for at least four decades.
Scaling up at such rate was the biggest mistake Kejriwal committed. Delhi was a pilot, alright; but the scale up could have been only in another Delhi and not the entire country because Delhi is not a microcosm of the country. Other than a few seats, AAP became completely insignificant even in the Lok Sabha campaign - in most places, even with interesting candidates, it became a motley crowd of top-wearing idealists. What he didn't realise was that Indian elections are too big and too complex to be won by idealists.
The Lok Sabha elections will be a fiasco for Kejriwal and his party. He will just have to forget it as a bad dream because what's important is the future of its party.
Now what? Can he reboot and regenerate the interest among people in Delhi, where it all began, when it goes to the assembly elections again? Most probably yes, but this time, the BJP followed by Congress will pounce on him because they have understood AAP's weakness and that people in Delhi can change their minds. Its shoot and scoot tactic of flinging incomplete exposes won't work again. It will be a tougher battle by a weaker AAP against an opposition that has tasted blood.
The AAP has to give up its nationwide Lok Sabha ambitions at once, concentrate on Delhi and pick on the BJP as it's rival. If the party continues to be strategy-less in electioneering, it will start disappearing faster than the most volatile materials that we know because in politics, people do change their minds, that too very fast. more