The decision by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to accept the responsibility of forming the government after subjecting the nation to a protracted period of political uncertainty is a welcome move; a laudatory decision that honours the verdict of the people and an affirmation of the confidence reposed in it.
The spectacular electoral debut of the AAP and its ascendency to power stands out as a glimmer of hope; a harbinger of political change in a jaded corrupt system; an occurrence that makes the impossible look possible. But will this fairytale beginning have a fairytale ending?
Making promises and winning an election is only half the battle. The zeitgeist of any serious political party or movement must be to translate idealism into realism. The real task for the AAP lies in navigating the mundane hurdles of daily life to implement those starry-eyed dreams. For this the AAP needs to be more pragmatic without compromising its core principles.
The desire of the AAP to stamp its difference on the political milieu by eschewing the trappings of power like red beacons, posses of gun-toting security guards and bungalows makes a point. But this must be tempered with reality. In this era of widespread terrorism, it does not make sense to highlight one's vulnerability and expose oneself to the vagaries of those who would do us harm.
Second, the AAP must climb down from its high horse of moral superiority and desist from its 'my way or the highway' approach. If the AAP is sincere about succeeding and effecting far-reaching changes enunciated in its manifesto, its leaders must curb their burgeoning egos and reach out to right-thinking individuals in all parties in a spirit of genuine co-operation.
The Congress and the BJP on their part must take a more mature approach; they cannot come across as petty organisations reeking with schadenfreude watching from the sidelines for the AAP to stumble and fall. An alert nation is watching.
This entire political process is not about the BJP, the Congress or even the AAP as an entity. It is about the aam aadmi. Political parties can take this altruism a notch higher by coming together in a rare show of cooperation and working on a common minimum programme with all parties providing issue-based support to the government — in effect a new model of governance based on principles rather than political partisanship.
For this the AAP must be willing to lead and exhibit a little give and take. Is the AAP up to it?
Vivek Gumaste is a US-based academic and political commentator
The views expressed by the author are personal