The feeling that a solid opposition to the present government is missing, both in and out of Parliament, is being constantly stoked by the non-aggressive posture of AAP on various matters that agitated the minds of its foremost leaders not so long ago. The fear that the power rates in Delhi will shoot up again — and they eventually did, though the impact has been reduced through subsidies — has been building up for long and yet AAP did not make a noise over it with its earlier passion.
The land acquisition law is sought to be diluted to favour industry, but the party’s tirade against some industrial houses and the way they “manipulated” policy through the ruling parties has petered out. It is silent on Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) despite the oil ministry putting a fine on the company for the shortfall in gas production. This is because AAP has probably realised that merely bringing charges while not having much to substantiate them brings only opprobrium, leading to the feeling that here are people not serious about what they are saying. And with the government postponing RIL’s gas price hike, the party will be at pains to explain the straight correlation it often drew between economic decision-making and crony capitalism.
Why has AAP climbed down to this moribund state after the ebullience that its convener Arvind Kejriwal had shown and which was imitated by his party colleagues such as Somnath Bharati, who too demonstrated a sort of vigour that clearly put it out of line with some administrative norms? The answer to that question lies in the fact that the party is coming to terms with reality while not compromising on its values or ideological standards. In other words, it is close to completing the process of transition from being a mass organisation to a full-fledged political party. It has accepted in no uncertain terms that ending its stint in government in that manner was an erroneous decision. Next it is now more intent on focusing on its core competencies by saying that it would like to stay away from the Haryana and the Maharashtra elections and concentrate on Delhi.
However, during the past few days the party has rediscovered some flamboyance in attacking the lieutenant governor of Delhi and the BJP, which is reportedly trying to cobble together a government in Delhi with the help of defecting Congress MLAs. Though it is not clear at this stage whether it is keen on another shot at government formation, it is certainly willing to make a match of it if the assembly elections take place in Delhi. And whatever may be his other shortcomings, Mr Kejriwal’s honest image is intact. With the same image he should be able to make a fresh beginning.