What the AAP victory actually means for Delhi

Sandeep Balakrishna
Sandeep BalakrishnaFeb 12, 2015 | 11:13

What the AAP victory actually means for Delhi

Anand Ranganathan's tweet nailed the exact import of the Aam Aadmi Party's stunning victory in the Delhi polls.

Before we proceed, let's bust some old myths that have found a fresh lease of life in public discourse thanks to AAP's victory.  

  • That the victory is a blow to Narendra Modi, a democratically elected prime minister who today's Times of India characterised as the "biggest loser."
  • That the Delhi elections were somehow more significant than the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
  • That this was a straight battle between Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi.
  • That this was Delhi citizenry's way of punishing Modi's arrogance.

First, the AAP does not resemble a mainstream political party as Indians traditionally know it. It remains a ragtag outfit of perpetual agitators who want to substitute the monotonous and hard task of policy making and governance with holier-than-thou sloganeering, confrontations with state institutions, perverted midnight raids and abuse and public humiliation of women. Vinod Mehta in his Editor Unplugged captured this well when he said that when it came to reading up files and getting down to actual governance, the former and now Delhi chief minister designate Arvind Kejriwal, simply abdicated responsibility.

Indeed, the AAP is essentially a one-man show of indefinite anarchy as evidenced not only by the explosion of intra-party fights after the 49-day disaster and the spate of resignations that followed but also by the in-house refrain that Arvind Kejriwal is dictatorial and that his word trumps everybody else's. An in-depth expose both of Kejriwal and the AAP by Surajit Dasgupta is required reading for anybody who wishes to get behind the media smokescreen about AAP. The same smokescreen also carefully conceals the fact that AAP wants to form the government not to govern but to block governance. The instances I quoted earlier about Kejriwal's 49-day tenure are standing proofs of this fact. Which chief minister has held a dharma against his own government's machinery in the history of independent India? Which chief minister who took oath on the Constitution, threatened to boycott the Republic Day celebrations? These are some of the key aspects one needs to examine deeply to understand the AAP "phenomenon."


Equally, the role played by what I call the AIM Complex - or Academia-Intelligentsia-Media Complex - in building up AAP merits examination. We can again turn to Vinod Mehta's book for elaborate details from naming the prominent AIM players (including himself) to strategy - about how in the garb of civil society, Communists wearing various masks propelled AAP primarily as a counterweight against the Narendra Modi-led BJP.

Since the beginning, if we notice the AIM Complex's discourse about the AAP, we find that no tough questions are asked about - indeed, a studied silence is maintained over AAP's murky and dangerous funding sources both within India and abroad. The same applies to the AIM Complex's spurious quietude over Kejriwal hobnobbing with jihadi radicals like Tauqeer Raza.

Nor has the AIM Complex bothered to reveal the long laundry list of criminal cases pending against key AAP candidates including Arvind Kejriwal. As in the 2013, 2014 and now the 2015 elections, the AIM Complex's discourse seems to be focused only on this singular point: How AAP can or will fare against Narendra Modi. Missing were the tough questions and analyses of AAP's manifesto and rash promises. Such analyses seemed reserved only for the BJP - a minute examination of everything from Modi's dressing sense to policy statements and promises.  


The AIM Complex - especially the English media's duplicity is also revealing. Not too long ago, Arvind Kejriwal thundered that he would put the entire media behind bars if he came to power again. The stung media back then reacted with quite some fury. Yet, the same media re-supported him during the 2015 Delhi elections.

The Delhi citizenry has now given AAP a landslide mandate. Now it is up to Arvind Kejriwal to deliver on his promises of showering Delhi with freebies. Indeed, what was missing during his election campaign was how he would go about delivering these freebies without bankrupting the exchequer, without any plan to generate revenue. But then Kejriwal has simply adopted the tried and tested formula of the Congress except that it was not this brazen. For more than six decades the Congress has successfully won elections by inflicting a lite version of Kejriwalesque freebies on this sorry nation. In fact, the last ten years provide the starkest barometer of how these state-sponsored ponzi welfare schemes ran India to the ground - the latest World Bank Data shows that India's GDP growth which stood at 10.3 per cent in 2010 crashed down to 4.7 per cent in 2012, more than half in just two years. Given this, the clouds of Kejriwal's pre-election promises pregnant with freebies cannot but come at the cost of pauperizing the Delhi exchequer.

Delhi can also expect a repeat of the 49-day AAP government-by-dharna. During the 2015 Delhi poll campaign, Kejriwal declared that he would be the chief minister and sit on dharnas as well - of course, all in the name of the people. Equally, for a person who holds anti-corruption as his central plank, his only answer to questions about the murky sources of his own party's funding is the standard "sab mile hue hai. "The issue of AAP's funding needs to be emphasised, especially when jihadi elements in Pakistan donate to AAP and express confidence that, "Mujhe yakeen hai Aaplog India mein Islami huqumat qayam karogey" (I am sure you guys will establish Islamic rule in India)." Or the fact that he received some plump funding from shady organisations in Dubai where he was flown in business class. And Kejriwal has now announced that he will introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in the first session of the Delhi Assembly.

Even assuming Kejriwal won't do a repeat performance of his previous stint as chief minister, what he also will not do is govern. Which brings us to another key point about AAP: The party doesn't have an ideology. Anti-corruption, agitprop and protests is not a political ideology. And so what he will most likely do is governance by indefinite and unending agitation and road-blocking reform and development, and blaming Narendra Modi and the BJP for real and imaginary issues.

Which brings us to an important but unexamined aspect: That of his tactics, which is really the key to his politics. Kejriwal likens his AAP to a revolution-his Twitter profile declares that "Political revolution in India has begun."Kejriwal's tactics although are bereft of violence are eerily similar to those of Lenin whose infamous declaration of tactic is very revealing. Nikolay Valentinov in his work, Encounters with Lenin, recounts Lenin telling him this:

I think we must stick the convict's badge on anyone and everyone who tried to undermine Marxism, even if we don't go onto examining his case. That is how every sound revolutionary should react.

In fact, when we trace the history of Indian Communism, we have volumes of evidence of how the early Communists branded every freedom fighter-Gandhi, Bose, Madan Mohan Malviya-as agents or running dogs of this or that imperialism or bourgeois. A detailed treatise of this episode is available in Arun Shourie's The Only Fatherland.

Now examine Arvind Kejriwal's statements and pronouncements from the early days of founding the AAP. Every time the spotlight has been on him and AAP, his stock replies have been: "Sab mile hue hai," "Ambani/Adani agent," "XYZ is sold out to powerful corporates," "this is an attempt to choke the voice of the aam aadmi," and variants thereof. In Lenin's time, this translated to: "everybody who doesn't support Marxism is an enemy of the people." Now, replace "Marxism" with "AAP."

This then is the real politics of Arvind Kejriwal.

In the end, Delhi voters have just replaced 15 years of Congress brand of softcore Communism with AAP's hardcore version of the same.

Oh and congratulations to the Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal on a fabulous triumph.

Last updated: February 12, 2015 | 11:13
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy