Fizzling out?

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) is on a sharp parabolic curve — rising spectacularly, reaching its apogee with the assumption of power in Delhi Union Territory, and then going into a free-fall and apparently precipitous decline — all inside of three weeks! The crucial misjudgement by the AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal being his decision to adopt agitation as mode of governance. It was a novel approach but showed up the paucity of AAP’s political skills set. If taking to the streets is all AAP knows and running the government is taken by it to mean impromptu ministerial decisions on the run, then the results could have been predicted early — the loss of a major chunk of its support base — the middle class — in the population. Thank God, Kejriwal terminated his agitation at the moment he did because another day of the dharna and the army would have come willy-nilly into the picture. The army would have tried gently to push the agitators out of the central verge, failing which followed its instincts and forcibly removed them. Any resistance would have been absolutely disastrous, one can imagine how the situation would have gotten quickly out of hand. The country was spared that.

The Middle Class may be selfish and self-centered conflating its good with the government’s and the nation’s, but it rears back frightened when confronted by a near breakdown in law and order triggered by the AAP Chief Minister’s dharna tactics. Even the APP voters from the shanties and slums looking forward to the instant goodies promised them by Kejriwal — the daily wagers and those who rely on the rickety public transport as conveyance must have been dismayed by the turn the agitation outside Rail Bhavan was taking. Loss of earnings is serious matter for people living hand to mouth, and order matters more to the less well-off than the middle class that has the means to somehow manage when police mass to prevent AAP possible excesses, thereby living the city to the tender mercies of criminals and habitual law breakers.

Chaos is anathema to orderly society and the middle class especially is shaken by the evidence of AAP-instigated actions leading to the situation degenerating into chaos and the fear of this spreading and engulfing the city — which was a real possibility. This is a turning point as AAP takes stock of its support base and realizes it has lost the aam admi. Anarchy is not another novel means of governance as Kejriwal trumpeted.

A permanent revolution — as the Cultural Revolution piloted by Mao showed in China — makes for perennial disorder, not progress, and even less for meeting the needs of the people. Now that AAP, as expected, is plunging in the public’s estimation, national politics can get back on the rails. Congress Party has taken a collateral hit with cynical support to AAP to form a govt in Delhi. There’s a price to pay for micalculation and AAP an the Congress will pay it. Advantage Modi and the BJP.

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, China, civil-military relations, Indian Army, Indian Politics, Internal Security, society, South Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fizzling out?

  1. Shetty says:

    during anna hazares fast also, they made the mistake of going for that second fast, which simply failed. Simply agitating repeatedly wears of the novelty and is not as affective as the first time. Lets see where all this leads to. Politics is not so simple as 1+1=2. So advantage modi and BJP would premature to say. But then one way or the other we need a strong leader, not the lame duck MMS of the past 10 years.

  2. Vasundhra says:

    “…….. The army would have tried gently to push the agitators out of the central verge, failing which followed its instincts and forcibly removed them. Any resistance would have been absolutely disastrous, one can imagine how the situation would have gotten quickly out of hand. The country was spared that……. ” Statement STRONGLY OBJECTED TO. Please don’t bring the ARMY in, & now any how if now you have mentioned the ARMY, let me assure u all that if ARMY would have come in , than the NATION would have seen how beautifully the ARMY would have handled the situation in an amicable democratic & constitutional manner to the satisfaction of ALL. Remember ARMY is INDIA’s ARMY, I mean peoples NATIONAL ARMY & knows its job & responsibilities.

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