Why AAP is Celebrating BJP's Election Results - By Ashutosh

The results of the assembly elections in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir are a clear indicator that the Modi wave that resulted in massive electoral wins for the party in the Parliamentary elections is on the wane.

In Jharkhand this time, the BJP was very upbeat, supported by sympathetic pollsters who calculated that the BJP would get a huge majority but the final tally is much below that mark (37 of 81 assembly seats). J&K has been a bit disappointing for the BJP and its enthusiasts. The BJP had claimed that it would get a big victory in Kashmir and would give the start its first Hindu Chief Minister. It was very confident of making inroads in the Muslim-dominated Valley. Alas! It failed miserably in the Valley and also in the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh, its strength contained to the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

The most obvious question now doing the rounds in the corridors of power is what is the political message for the next battleground : Delhi. The BJP had been banking on the results in Jharkhand and Kashmir to create an atmosphere of invincibility, but the results clearly hint at a different story. Before analysing the impact in Delhi, we have to understand two things.

Firstly, it has to be understood that Delhi will be a fight between two parties unlike in Jharkhand and in J & K., where there were multi-cornered fights and the BJP was an obvious beneficiary. In Jharkhand, the main players apart from the BJP were the Congress, the JMM , the JVM and other smaller parties with localized areas of influence. Similarly, in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP had to contest against the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress. The BJP therefore could create a bigger impact with narrower margins.

Secondly, there is nothing new about these parties. They are traditional parties with a similar history and chemistry, and there is hardly any difference between them. And all of them behave the same way with minor aberrations. But Delhi can boast of a new party which has none of the characteristics of these traditional parties. The Aam Aadmi Party is a toddler in the game of politics; it is hardly two years old; it is the product of an anti-corruption movement; it has an unorthodox leadership; and its behavioural patterns are very different from parties like the Congress or the BJP. It can be said without doubt that it has changed the rules of the game with its unconventional ways.

It is this context which will help us understand better that the results in these two states are serious warning signals for the BJP and the Congress. These results are a bad omen for the Congress, which has been making vain announcements of bouncing back in Delhi. The people of India are not ready to forgive the Congress even now for the UPA2 misrule, and the Congress is seriously facing an existential crisis. There is a very distinct possibility that it might not open its account in Delhi. That will mean that Delhi will be a duel between the AAP and the BJP, and the Congress a marginal player of no consequence.

If the Congress shrinks further, in keeping with the signals, then it will be bad news for the BJP. In the context of a one-to-one contest, the BJP has normally been a loser. In the past 15 years, it failed miserably to give the Congress a tough fight in the Delhi elections. In these years, the BJP's vote share could not cross the critical mark to pose any serious challenge to Congress's dominance in the city. Even a marginal presence of the BSP was of no benefit to the BJP. Today, the Congress has replaced the BSP, and the BSP as a party has disappeared from the map of Delhi, which is a clear advantage to AAP. In fact, the combined social base of the Congress and the BSP has been replaced by AAP.

The counter argument can be that the BJP with its social base and the Modi factor can easily sail through. This argument does not have much bite for the following reasons:

1. The Modi wave is on a decline. The BJP's performance is not as overwhelming as was envisaged in these two states. The BJP was expecting 50 plus seats in Jharkhand and wanted to emerge as the single largest party in J & K; but in Jharkhand it could barely mange a majority with the help of a smaller ally where as in Kashmir it has to be satisfied with the tag of the second largest party with 25 seats which is much below expectations. Moreover, in both the states the BJP vote share has dipped by 8% points in comparison to the parliamentary elections. The trend was the same in the recently-held assembly elections in Maharashtra where the BJP could not win a majority on its own and finally had to reconcile with its old partner, the Shiv Sena.

2. Modi's governance in the last seven months has raised serious questions on the issue of delivery. Modi raised the expectation level too high and now there is a serious gap between his assurances and delivery. His government has failed to control price rise. There is no check on corruption. The government is over-centralised. No decisions are taken on time. No major economic reform has been carried out. manufacturing sector is in shambles despite the much-hyped Make-in-India campaign.

3. The BJP in Delhi is fighting with a political force which has a much better record as a government. In a short span of 49 days, the AAP government in Delhi was able to bring down corruption, electricity and water tarriffs. Decisions were swift and fast. AAP ministers and MLAs are spotless. None of them could be charged with corruption unlike their BJP counter-parts. Several opinion polls have shown more than 60% approval rating of AAP's government which is phenomenal.

4. The BJP has serious leadership problems in Delhi. AAP has Arvind Kejriwal who commands a huge fan following in the city. The BJP has no leader match his popularity.

The writing on the wall is clear. It is no wonder that the BJP has put off elections in Delhi for so long. more  

View all 8 comments Below 8 comments
Very Good Ashutoshji and very optimistic and hypothetical analysis. No harm in living in own paradise. when challenged for your 49 days performance for which their are lot of drumbeats, had so many about turns and weaknesses which no body have answers. The most important issue on which this party is harping is gradually becoming irrelevant as the level of corruption is automatically reducing with the good governance which you may not like because this is the only issue where you have some credibility left. more  
BJP is becoming a danger to democracy. Nothing different from UPA, the Modi government is just making publicity of things. Delhi must understand this BJP government cannot provide any good for public. They never did and never had any intentions to serve public. BJP has always been the other face of coin UPA. more  
This time very bright chances could be possible if we would go sincerely in winning the trust of Public, who is very innocent. B.J.P. is,in a very planned way has be-fooled the public, although it has not done any perfect thing for the people.
Rajendra Prasad Saxena Advocate Supreme Court. Mob. 9810167723, 9540810976 more  
Points raised by Ashutosh are not without logic. It is right to say that BJP has not been able to meet the high expectations, it had raised in come up to the election. It is also true that while Modi himself been talking of development, many of his party Colleagues have been openly following the fundamentalist approach. Another fact that BJP can not deny is the existence of a large number of legislators with criminal background. The much talked about & worrisome issue of Corruption in administration, has been put aside by the present Govt. All these definitely build substantial issues against the ruling party. As it is, Congress is decimated to an extent that it will take a long time to come up to become a viable fighting force.

AAP is today the only party that is not affected by the three major malaise, in our governance system and even more our most political parties. These are Corruption, Criminal elements and Communalism. The last one is more pronounced with regard to the ruling party, it's main opponent in forthcoming Delhi elections. Unfortunately, BJP has been successful to a great extent, in putting these issues in the back end by talking loudly of 'development agenda'. This has helped them continuously in winning State elections that have been fought since the parliamentary elections this year. As such, AAP will have to gear itself up to counter the so called development agenda of BJP, by highlighting and Bringing forth the three major issues, mentioned above. AAP's communication department has to work hard in this regard. The entire AAP machinery has to be geared up to expose its opponents on these three fronts by bring these issues in the limelight. Are they geared up for that, is yet to be determined. The 'volunteer force' that was enthused by fight against corruption, last time has to be prepared for this fight. They will have to be enthused and motivated by the top AAP leadership. A thorough evaluation on this front by top leadership at this stage is necessary & should be taken up ASAP. There are bound to be internal conflicts amongst volunteers in some of the constituencies, that will need to be identified and managed. Only the top leadership should be involved in this exercise and that too NOW rather than later. I insist on top leadership in this context because they are the only ones who have the acceptability amongst the volunteers, to achieve the desired at this stage.

While I agree that there is a visible decline in popularity of BJP in recent times, as evidenced by some of the State elections, It would be suicidal for AAP to be complacent. The negative votes generated by both Congress & BJP have to be converted to positive votes for AAP. Furthermore, the negativity resulting from giving up power after 49 days, can also not be taken lightly. Candidates with strong personal background and acceptability, will have to be enthused into AAP fold and brought into the political arena. Their capacity to convert the issues faced by opponents into AAP's opportunity, is essential to achieve the success in Delhi elections.
AAP should also initiate building the ground forces in other identified areas in the States. Reputable individuals, with known positive traits have to be found and brought into AAP fold. Mechanism to source adequate funding is another area that needs attention. Organisation structure needs to be strengthened and governance processes for managing the organisation, built immediately. Complacency at this stage, of any sort, can prove disastrous. more  
Mr. Modi has started on a good governance launch, cleverly to distract attention of people from "No holiday for X-mas issue" He has shrewdly used the day to visit Atalji and BHU. AAP can make good ventures on good governance as follows Pl. read and spread in Delhi as an election strategy,-
Social security, implementation of development programs and administration ensuring welfare in an equitable manner are essential elements of governance. Good governance as proposed by experts from time to time are,-
1) The legislative and administrative responsibilities in governance are mutually fulfilling and complimenting.
2) Outsourcing the responsibility is bad governance: Agencies outsourced through an expression of interest (EOI) or outright contract cannot be expected to be charitable.
3) Laws are for enforcement and not meant for masquerading populist ideas: exercise [Program Evaluation and Review Technique. Pl. see annexure for explanation] Before preparing/ presenting laws, rules or resolutions, one could foresee the sequence of task/ sub-tasks, man power need, time frame and accountability at each stage. Doing this is essentially an administrative responsibility.
4) Free market: It mainly means free from tight control of the govt. or a regulatory authority. A true free market has to be free from both control and concessions. At the same time “no regulation” does not mean corruption is permissible.
5) Dissipation / decentralization 1) many of the people especially in villagers still do not know their power. 2) where powers are understood, people feel that the ward members are the de facto ministers for all the financial and social sanctions. The main idea of devolution of power is not decentralization of corruption. When one talks of a positive step like “Gram Sabhas” one must also discuss its implications from past practical experience.
6. Committees are not to be used to delay (or virtually deny) decisions or defer division within a political party, group or community.
7. Delivery of justice must lessen inflation and corruption in a manner that is deterrent to injustice. Justice delivered must be both legal and just and must have palpable impact. Reverting to the spirit of the article 39 we see that both inflation and corruption stand in the way of delivery of justice or right to an adequate means to livelihood (and social security).
8. Media must be supported for monitoring and not for mongering. Use and popularity of FM radio and it immense possibilities through multimedia have made communication relevant to various regions and localities, available and cheap.
9. Commissions (planning, finance, law, information, judical etc.) must not be allowed to become power shops, without action. If comissions are to serve their purpose provide sufficient staff as the work expands.
10. FDI (Foreign direct investment). FDI is gaining importance in global economic growth, especially among developing & emerging market countries. The International Monetary Fund defines FDI as an individual or business owning 10% or more of a foreign company's capital. But we can see how FDI is variously interpreted in the media and polity. Advantages and disadvantages of FDI need be discussed more  
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