Can AAP revive with it’s current leadership?
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]AP came into politics offering an “alternative politics”, different from the one practised by the rest of the parties and succeeded exceptionally well in Delhi State Elections in 2015. It appeared to be heading for victory in Punjab and Goa before it faltered. Today, AAP is seen as more like the rest than the rest of the parties themselves (exactly like in ‘Animal Farm’).
AAP was previously perceived as the only non-corrupt party to provide governance with an alternative agenda (Law of Singularity), but since AAP has subsequently proved to be far from ideal (Law of Hype)
Many questions have been raised about AAP’s misdemeanours like backtracking on its words & promises, criminal charges (like corruption, nepotism, sexual harassment, forgery, extortion, domestic violence, etc), and political charges (like continuous quarrels with the LG & Central Government, deceitful political funding, disruptive politics, rioting, reckless defamation of political opponents, etc), but these have not been convincingly answered.
While AAP’s victory in Delhi Assembly Elections in 2014 and 2015, led by Arvind Kejriwal, marked its meteoric rise, its severe drubbing in the hands of BJP in 2017 MCD elections (doing only about as well as the Congress) raises question marks about its future.
It is time for AAP to introspect its failures from ideological and political angles.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he AAP that was created as the provider of “alternative politics” is as good as dead; people won’t believe it can be revived by Kejriwal & Co as they lack the moral authority to do it. The leaders who went out and formed Swaraj Abhiyan, led by Yogendra Yadav, are perhaps the only ones who still have credibility, and can still revive AAP (in either of the names).
Looking back, AAP’s overwhelming success (Law of Hype and Law of Success) was a major cause for its current downfall
Let’s do a political post-mortem of AAP’s MCD poll performance. Why have Delhi voters punished AAP so badly? We’ll attempt an unconventional analysis, using ‘the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ to see what led to its success in 2015, and its failure in 2017. After all, both in marketing and politics, success is determined by the mind-space the winner gains from the people.
Even as AAP was nursing national ambitions, AAP was widely perceived as the best option at Delhi local level, and BJP at the Central Government level (Law of Perception). Now, cutting across cross-sections, all the people in the 3 MCDs in Delhi have rejected AAP at the local level too, and have preferred BJP (who, though they believe, have failed them badly in the last 10 years in MCD).
AAP was previously perceived as the only non-corrupt party to provide governance with an alternative agenda (Law of Singularity), but since AAP has subsequently proved to be far from ideal (Law of Hype), that focus is gone now (Law of Focus). It is very unlikely that the lost perceptions can be regained unless something is changed fundamentally, say a change of guard at the top, with ‘Yogendra Yadav’ heading the party, with full freedom to restructure it without any preconditions from Kejriwal group.
People voted AAP in overwhelmingly NOT expecting it to be better than others, but to be ABSOLUTELY ideal, uncorrupt and with a CLEAR ALTERNATIVE AGENDA, based on its own promises; otherwise, such a young party could not have come up so quickly.
BJP already occupies the position of the ‘best of the conventional parties’. A ‘second chance’ to prove “AAP is the ideal party” is an oxymoron, unless AAP has new leadership that hasn’t failed the people (Law of Exclusivity).
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]E[/dropcap]very election, in the long run, becomes a 2-horse race (Law of Duality.) There’s already the Congress (led UPA) as the alternative to BJP (led NDA). If ever people want an alternative to both these parties, there is the possibility of a Ghatbandhan of regional parties (God forbid!) In such a backdrop, AAP has no position as an alternative party (Law of Failure), after it has already failed, except with an alternative kind of politics and agenda that people like and believe in.
Now, if AAP sacrifices its top leadership unconditionally (Law of Sacrifice) and seeks pardon from the people (Law of Candour), promising that AAP under the new, honest, legitimate and not-yet-discredited leadership, can still deliver on its original promise, people may still give it another chance, some day. Perhaps, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish may even retain their positions in Delhi Assembly but should be willing to truly work under a new untainted, promising leadership.
Looking back, AAP’s overwhelming success (Law of Hype and Law of Success) was a major cause for its current downfall. Had it got just a bare majority in 2015, the expectations of the party leadership, followers, and the voters would have been tempered; AAP leaders may have had strong opposition and would have acted more responsibly. AAP would have grown organically like a trend, and not fallen as a fad (Law of Acceleration).
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]waraj Abhiyan, led by Yogendra Yadav is unlikely to take off in a big way on its own occupying the position previously held by AAP due to lack of critical mass in terms of all resources (money, volunteer base, etc) (Law of Resources). So, it makes sense for Swaraj Abhiyan to merge with its parent party, but with Yogendra Yadav as the real leader, for all the reasons already explained.
This will be in the best interest of the country too, with Congress-led UPA as the alternative to BJP and AAP offering alternative politics and agenda (from both ideological and political angles, as discussed above).
One is not sure if AAP’s turn will ever come ( I hope it will, some day), but should it come, people may not be found wanting in giving it a chance, ONLY IF all the above are done, especially handing over the party leadership to Yogendra to create a system that won’t fail the party and the country again. He’s perhaps one of the best alternative thought leaders in Indian politics today, even if people may not be ready for his thoughts yet.
Will the present leadership of AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal come forward to surrender the leadership in the interest of the party and the country? If not, will the AAP rank and file force him to surrender the leadership? Time alone will tell.
If AAP remains under Kejriwal, chances are AAP will be another of those parties around that may never make it any big in Indian politics.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.