The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) turned one on Wednesday. But the question everyone seems to be asking is, will the party provide an alternative to the two national parties in Delhi and will the support it has been getting translate into votes?
Political pundits agree
that AAP has been able to make its presence felt in the country. "As a new party, it has been able to catch the imagination of the people of Delhi," said Zoya Hasan, professor at the School of Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
It was in September 2012 that veteran anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and Kejriwal parted ways. A splinter group led by Kejriwal formed this political outfit and announced that it would contest all 70 seats in the Delhi assembly polls. A month later, he christened the newly formed outfit, Aam Aadmi Party.
Since then, the party has been trying hard to connect with the people and take on political bigwigs such as BJP's Nitin Gadkari with its series of exposés.
A possible reason for AAP's growing presence can be attributed to the fact that it has been taking up various issues affecting the common man through civil disobedience and vigorous campaigning.
"Of course, AAP has been raising important issues such as corruption, inflated power and water bills, etc. But they are not the only ones doing so," Hasan said.
Kejriwal has also claimed that his party has been setting the agenda for Delhi and other parties are following it. "They are, no doubt, raising issues that are resonating with the Delhi people. But we also need to see if they have a strong organisation set-up and good candidates as well as enough money to fight elections," said Sudha Pai, Centre for Political Studies.
"There is a possibility that the party will be able to garner a few seats - may be two to five - because its origin lies in a civil society movement. But it cannot be termed as an alternative to the Congress and BJP," Pai added.
AAP's strategy these days has been to reach out to various groups - traders, Muslims, resettlement colonies and, of course, the youth. "They have tried to catch the pulse of the people but they are yet to touch the real issues. People are frustrated over the fact that they don't get a hearing," pointed out Dunu Roy, a rights activist. "Also people are suspicious whether AAP's honest candidates can deliver or get their work done."
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