The Delhi assembly polls will be an acid test for the party’s survival.
The Aam Aadmi Party which had once given sleepless nights to national parties like Congress and BJP is fighting a lone battle for survival. The upcoming Delhi assembly polls will decide the fate of the party which had once given an alternative to the common man to fight corruption. However, the party is facing ideological crisis as elections can’t be won simply by banking on this issue. It’s true that corruption is a vital issue but the party will also have to focus on other factors like electricity, providing drinking water, employment and good governance. The party’s anti-corruption helplines that attracted thousands of phone calls and emails each day, have fallen silent. AAP members who used to post several messages on social media have become inactive. The Lok Sabha defeat came as a huge setback for the party as 414 candidates, or nearly 96 per cent, lost their deposit.
According to sources, “People had huge expectations from AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal but they were not convinced with his decision to step down from the post Delhi Chief Minister within a short span of 49 days. Whenever Kejriwal used to attend any public function people would ask him why he quit the CM’s post.”
According to political analysts, Kejriwal was a man in a hurry and was eyeing the Lok Sabha polls hence he resigned hastily. However, it’s not an easy task to climb the ladder of politics easily as one has to concentrate on one election every time and build the party at the grassroots level. AAP didn’t have a good organisational structure in the states hence it was difficult for the party to aim for a pan-India electoral victory. The AAP spring last year surged on the backs of this volunteer army of over 300,000 who campaigned door to door tirelessly, exhorting people to vote for the party. However, this time very few volunteers are seen in action.
Amar Pathak a Kandivali resident said, “The Delhi election will really be a challenge for AAP as the party is fighting a battle for its survival. AAP had not contested election in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir which too has proved counterproductive for it. The party is simply focussing on Delhi to rebuild itself which is a difficult task.”
The party has weakened after the exit of prominent leaders like Shazia Ilmi, Kiran Bedi, Vinod Kumar Binny. Party strategist Yogendra Yadav offered to resign from the party’s Political Affairs Committee alleging a growing personality cult. One of the founding members of AAP Madhu Bhaduri, had quit the party alleging mistreatment of the women leaders. According to her the party is following the mentality of khap panchayat and there is no space for women. Vinod Kumar Binny had rebelled against the AAP and accused the party of betraying the people of Delhi and straying from its principles. The discontent within the party began over ticket distribution-AAP members say they were never given clear reasons on what basis tickets for the Delhi Assembly polls were distributed.