Why AAP opted to scale up its movement across the country?
“I’m sure we have opted for the right course because we are in this for the long-run; our objective is to create a long-term alternative. Upscaling so rapidly is difficult but by not expanding, we ran the risk of allowing our support to evaporate. My own view is that the only way to create a national political alternative is through these rapid and crazy moves of upscaling. The text-book understanding of politics is that you do small steps. But this has never happened in history. Launching a party is like rocket launching. Either you defy gravity or you collapse, there is no third way. This was the only realistic path available. We will see after the election how far we have succeeded.”
Mr. Yadav’s prognosis for his party is that it is a serious contender for winning in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh and in some urban pockets of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. A second tier consists of regions where the AAP could get a 5 to 10 per cent vote share, making the party “politically viable straightaway.” Mr. Yadav believes that the AAP’s presence in these regions “will change the nature of political competition.” Then there is a third tier, where the AAP, Mr. Yadav says, will “register only a symbolic presence.” But even a symbolic presence is important “because in the long run it gives you a national character. He gives the example of Punjab and Gujarat where the communists and the Gandhians respectively had a tiny presence but nonetheless acted as a strong moral force: “The moral pressure brings attention to critical issues.”
Mr. Yadav says he takes a long-term view of politics: “The idea is to create a force of virtue that will change the character of public life; that will shape the national agenda.” According to him, “The real test of a political force is how much do you shape the agenda, how much do you change the rules of the game, how many idealistic youth do you draw to the party.”
What if the AAP was crushed by a gigantic Modi wave? Mr. Yadav is clear that that will only strengthen the party’s will to fight Mr. Modi. “It does not matter how many seats the AAP wins. Even with no seat, we will stand up on the street and fight Modi. The Congress and Rahul Gandhi will not have that courage. At that point we will need a strong moral force to take on Modi and that will be the AAP. For me that is my politics.” more