The best thing would have been for BJP to win 36 seats in Delhi and for AAP to be a vigilant opposition. It would have compelled BJP to try and install a good e-governance system they have promised in double good time to showcase to the people of the country the things they would do once in power at the Center post 2014 general elections. It would have drawn voter support by the millions and entrenched BJP as the party of government for at least the first half of the 21st Century in the manner the Congress Party was in the latter half of the last Century.

It would be best for BJP not to be tempted into securing a split in the elected 8-member Congress MLA group — something Kejriwal & Company of AAP would devoutly wish to happen. Because then AAP will have a double-barreled gun at the heads of the two main national parties as being in cahoots when the general election campaign comes round soon enough.

Apparently, the Dr Harshvardhan-led BJP MLAs understand the pitfalls of such an approach and are simply not bidding for power, forcing the Lt Governor of Delhi, Jung, to run a hopefully politically neutral President’s rule regime for the next six months, by when a re-election would be called in the capital region to coincide with the national elections that cannot be held any later than May 2014 and save additional expenses to the state.

AAP is a political phenomenon alright — but its ambitions of doing in India at-large what it was able to pull off in Delhi may be to take on a near impossible task. Delhi is a territorially compact and, therefore, electorally manageable proposition. The vast expanse of country outside it may not be as readily amenable to AAP’s charms. In any case, there isn’t the time needed for AAP — even though they seem to have a skeletal active party structure at least in the large urban concentrations. The difference though is that the motivated middle class in the capital is a pampered lot with time and resources on its hands and keen to hang on to the goodies doled out by the state — like the significant cut in electricity rates Kejriwal has promised; whence the massive volunteer effort on Kejriwal’s behalf. The same situation doesn’t obtain elsewhere making the mounting and sustaining of a like country-wide operation very difficult. Even so, there’s little doubt the AAPis have spawned fear in the heart of the traditional politicians who until now were confident in their machinations to milk the system for all it was worth, to benefit disproportionately from it and, opportunity arising, to raid the public till by various means. Such politicians and politics would understandably be completely averse to the processes of transparency in government that Kejriwal extolls and AAP says it represents.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Indian Politics, Internal Security. Bookmark the permalink.

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