AAP’s move to seek alliance with former bête-noire Congress sounds death knell of alternative politics

The Aam Aadmi Party’s move to seek an alliance with the Congress, its former bête-noire, in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls is an addition to its long list of political flip-flops. What is even worse is that Ajay Maken, the Delhi Congress chief, has flatly denied any possibility of an alliance with the party.

Speculations of an AAP-Congress alliance were triggered by a tweet by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, in which he said that the people miss Dr Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister.

The tweet was seen as an attempt to get closer to the Congress, and it surprised many. After all, Arvind Kejriwal’s political career was shaped by his agitation against the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh. Kejriwal had launched himself into politics in 2013 after using the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement led by Gandhian Anna Hazare as a springboard. He formed the AAP along with a few of his associates in the movement. In his days with IAC, Kejriwal was perhaps the most vocal leader in terms of expressing criticism against the then government over the 2G, Adarsh and CWG scams. He had also attacked Manmohan Singh in unequivocal terms —

Two years later, in 2015, the AAP routed the Congress, bagging 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly. The grand old party, which had ruled Delhi for three successive terms, could not even win a single seat in that election.

Congress denies tie-up with AAP

Even though speculations about an alliance between the Congress and AAP are rife, the grand old party has been quick to deny any such development.

Ajay Maken, the Delhi chief of the Congress tweeted:

On the other hand, Dilip Pandey of the AAP claimed that talks with the Congress are indeed on.

The AAP's decision to attempt a tie-up with the Congress is likely to have stemmed from the fear that many voters who supported it in 2015 may switch back to the latter party in the Lok Sabha election.

In the 2015 Assembly polls, the AAP bagged 54.3 percent votes. The BJP had then got 32.2 percent of the vote share, while the figure for the Congress was a mere 9.7 percent.

In the previous election, the Congress and BJP together had garnered 58.7 percent of the votes.

The new politics proposed by the AAP was meant to be an alternative to the politics of the main two parties Congress and BJP, and that of the third front.

However, its recent move to seek an alliance with the Congress seems like the death knell of a dream. It gives the impression that the party is content playing a complementary role to the Congress.

Some of the AAP's actions in its early days did indicate that it was unwilling to set itself apart from other parties by chalking out a clear political ideology for itself.

In June 2013, Kejriwal had said in an interview, “I want to make it very clear. We are not wedded to any ideology.”

Perhaps this lack of ideology of the AAP did not have a negative effect on its prospects in its early days, as public opinion had been affected by the anti-corruption campaign of IAC. All the same, it is also true that the party did not taste success outside Delhi.

Yogendra Yadav, a founding leader of the AAP who left the party later, spoke about the crisis within the party to the media. “Let alone an ideology, the party does not even have a vision for the states of India other than Delhi,” he had said.

After the NDA regime led by Narendra Modi took over from the UPA, corruption did not remain an issue in national politics in the same way that it did earlier. The ideological deficiency of the AAP soon became evident.

It is no wonder then that the party has little presence outside of Delhi. It has been pushed to the wall by the BJP's robust political machinery and ideologically motivated force. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the AAP is now looking meekly looking to its earlier foe for help.

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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2018 22:26 PM

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