December 12, 2022
Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss whether AAP can become a potent political force nationally. We also look at AAP’s manifesto plans for Karnataka farmers, among other news.
📰 FEATURE STORY
Can AAP be a potent political force nationally?
The results of the recent polls raise many questions and observations. Two states and a major municipal corporation were among the three elected entities that went to the polls. All three of our national parties’ futures are impacted by the three results. The results are conclusive in each entity but intriguing in the big picture.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) grossly underestimated the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the results of these elections are a huge indication of that. But can AAP emerge as a potent political force nationally, posing a challenge to both BJP and Congress?
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had ruled the nation’s capital for 15 years, was defeated in the elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Out of 250 seats, 134 were won by Kejriwal’s party, with 104 going to the BJP and 9 to the Congress.
The AAP has established itself as a serious third front in Gujarat by winning five out of 182 seats with a vote share of 12.92%. In 2017, the AAP ran for office in the state for the first time. It fielded candidates in 29 constituencies, came up empty in the seat count and garnered 0.1 percent of the vote. However, the party secured five seats in 2022 with a 12.9% vote share.
The AAP has eaten into Congress’ vote bank by siphoning off 13% share in Gujarat, leading to the worst-ever performance by the grand old party in the state. The situation is such that Congress will not get the post of leader of opposition in Gujarat. Notably, in every state poll, the AAP has been targeting Congress. Its objective is to position itself as an alternative to Congress.
In the case of AAP, recognition in four states was required for it to be recognised as a national party. If it had two MLAs in four different states and at least 6% of the vote, that need would have been met. The party has passed that threshold in Gujarat after winning five seats and receiving a 13% vote share. Other states where AAP has a foothold include Delhi, Punjab, and Goa.
VIEW: AAP can be a potent political force nationally
While the overwhelming victory in the 2020 Delhi Assembly elections set the tone for the MCD elections and AAP’s performance in those polls suggested that Kejriwal’s party had an advantage over Congress, the relatively newer party’s strong performance against BJP and the narrow victory over it in the MCD elections was unexpected and even surprised political experts.
The AAP has an advantage in the political market due to its reputation for being “different,” which residents who are sick of the secular versus Hindutvawadi argument are choosing to support. The success in Gujarat, along with the AAP’s outstanding performance in Punjab and the subsequent Delhi Municipal elections, reflect a rising recognition of the new party across states.
For any political party to establish its presence across the country, a strong leader at the helm is a prerequisite. Kejriwal has emerged as a national leader and is steadily establishing himself in the senior league with Modi, Shah, and the Gandhis.
Winning elections across the country is no easy task. Many a leader has failed in their ambitions to grow their party outside their home states. AAP capturing power in two states (Delhi and Punjab) and holding its own in two more states (Goa and Gujarat) shows that the party is capable of expanding its reach and becoming a credible alternative to BJP and Congress nationally.
COUNTERVIEW: AAP cannot be a potent political force nationally
Like every other political party, AAP has run into its fair share of controversies. The Liquor Policy dispute flared up and became heated, and the scandal sparked by AAP minister Satyendar Jain’s video from Tihar Jail made things even worse for Kejriwal’s party. With AAP projecting itself as a non-corrupt entity, these controversies shed a poor light on the party.
Kejriwal and the Delhi Lieutenant Governors have never gotten along. Most notably, Kejriwal and the present LG, VK Saxena, have a terrible relationship. The Delhi administration is the subject of numerous investigations by the L-G, including one by the CBI over its excise policy. Kejriwal will continue to be dependent on the BJP-led central government, and until he makes an effort to address these problems, he won’t be able to work or fulfil his promises.
Many people voted for AAP due to its focused initiatives on health and education for the citizens. However, the party’s silence on taking a stand on communal issues has shown them in poor light. Minorities who supported AAP initially may gradually lose hope in the party.
There is a concern that AAP may not be able to sustain its momentum in the long term due to its non-ideological plank. BJP’s Hindutva ideology and Congress’ secularism provide very clear distinctions between the two parties. With no distinct ideology to speak of, AAP may falter in achieving its ambitions of becoming a potent political force nationally.
- National party, national ambitions: AAP arrives at centre stage – Indian Express
- AAP breaks BJP’s 15-year MCD rule: What led Kejriwal’s party to script history despite endless scandals – Times Now
- MCD Polls 2022: Dilliwalas Did Their Job, Now Kejriwal Has To Deliver On His Promises – News18
- AAP’s rise: Cong in danger now, but BJP isn’t safe either – Deccan Herald
- Congress should stop taking AAP lightly – Sunday Guardian
- 3 polls, 3 parties, 3 outcomes: Conclusive yet bittersweet for BJP, AAP & Congress – The Print
- Footnotes From Gujarat: AAP Has Made Inroads But Election Data Has Key Lessons – The Quint
What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)
a) AAP can be a potent political force nationally.
b) AAP cannot be a potent political force nationally.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Both executive and judiciary must uphold the Constitution
For the Left:
Hindi and Hind: English’s hegemony in the Indian endeavour
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
Preparing for G20 (Delhi) – Delhi will get a makeover ahead of next year’s G20 summit. Monuments will be spruced up with lights, paintings, and statues will be set up at roundabouts, and key routes like Mathura Road and the India Gate circle will be improved. Multiple local departments and agencies will need to work together to get the work done. The focus will be on infrastructure, greenery, air pollution, and cleanliness. The 8-km stretch from Dhaula Kuan to Indira Gandhi International Airport will also be redeveloped.
Why it matters: Many of the places being redeveloped will be ones used by the diplomats, heads of state, and other high-profile officials during the G20 summit. The summit is scheduled for next September during the monsoon season. Officials will also focus on waterlogging, which has become a repeated issue.
AAP’s manifesto plans (Karnataka) – The AAP will have a district-wise manifesto for farmers in the state where Arvind Kejriwal wants the party to shed its ‘urban’ image. AAP state Governor Prithvi Reddy said the AAP would be the only party with a dedicated manifesto for farmers. In the past six months, the party has recruited about 10,000 booth volunteers across the 182 constituencies. Congress is worried about the AAP eating into its vote share.
Why it matters: The BBMP elections would’ve been the ideal launchpad for the party, but they remain in limbo. Now, they have to fight it out in the assembly polls. One political expert said the AAP’s impact would be limited to the urban areas, which won’t be enough since the state’s elections are decided in the rural constituencies.
Promoting tourism (Jharkhand) – The Jharkhand government has announced several measures to increase tourism in the state. It has selected a brand partner to prepare a logo and advertise places of interest. The state hired a Goa-based partner to publicise tourist spots. It has also ordered a study of tourist inflow and patterns. Among the details sought are the number of tourist arrivals and popular hotels they stay in.
Why it matters: While the state has many popular sites to visit, branding has been an issue with no promotional programme on print or visual media. Overall, the state’s tourism sector has grown from 4.53 lakh tourists in 2000 to more than 3.5 crores in 2019-20. While the pandemic did affect the sector, the government hopes the new initiatives will help boost the sector.
Congress rifts (Rajasthan) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s praise of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has once again rattled the Congress. Former deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot criticised Gehlot, comparing him to former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Pilot cited Modi’s previous praise of Azad and the resulting turn of events as Azad left the party. Gehlot hit back, calling Pilot a traitor for allegedly trying to topple his government.
Why it matters: Congress leaders accusing each other of being close with the BJP comes at an interesting time. Modi’s praise of Gehlot came when Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was passing through Rajasthan. Modi also praised Gehlot during the pandemic for his government’s handling of it and said it was an example for the country.
First traditional gate (Nagaland) – The Lhisemia Khel, a 172-year-old khel from Kohima village inaugurated its first-ever traditional gate at Merübotsa. Chairman of Lhisemia Council Ayie Yhome said a committee was set up to build the stone gate. It indicates the entry point to the village from the northern side. Before a merger, the three khels had their own gates. The new one connects Kohima village with the Civil Secretariat and Assembly Secretariat.
Why it matters: Khel is a distinct Naga institution that brings together several clans within the village community. Lhisemia Khel is one of four khels from Kohima village. In 1850, three khels from the village, Huruotsumia, Rhieo, and Tsiera, merged to form the Lhisemia khel. In ancient times, the kharu was built over drainages surrounded by thorny bushes and plants to prevent enemies from entering the village.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
₹14,000 crores – The value of Indian defence exports hit ₹14,000 crores in 2021-22, the highest ever. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said it was due to the government’s policies to increase the export of military hardware to allies of India.