Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party has many supporters, but will they vote for it? (HT Photo)
Although crusader-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal seems optimistic about his Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) performance in the upcoming Delhi assembly polls, many voters apparently think otherwise.
Many of the voters in Delhi hail Kejriwal's decision of launching the party, but they are not sure whether they would exercise their franchise in favour of the newly-launched 'people's party'.
According to them, the party lacks local presence, has a one-point agenda and indicates no radical shift in the way it would carry along democracy and development -- two of key issues that test politicians in India. According to the Hindustan Times-GFK Mode survey, while 16% of respondents claim to support the AAP, an equal number are surprisingly unaware of its existence.
It is, however, this grey area through which the AAP could slip in a surprise and overturn well-laid political tables, said experts. "For a voter who is tired of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, voting in favour of the AAP will mean voting for change," said sociologist Shiv Vishwanathan.
Ajoy Ghosh, 68, a retired pharmaceutical manager in Kolkata said he would not hesitate voting for Kejriwal because he was an unknown factor or a political novice. "We have seen the good that 'known factors' like the Congress or the BJP have done. I would give the AAP a chance," he said.
Quite surprisingly, many of the voters, who had taken to the streets against corruption along with Kejriwal and co. are apprehensive about the AAP's future.
Of the 16% respondents who claimed to support the AAP, just over a third said they would "definitely vote" for the party. Sanjiv Oberoi, 56, a businessman, said he had no belief in their promises, "they will be used by other parties." Liaqat Ali, 41, an electrician, said he was "tired of the UPA's corruption raj and will make up his mind about the AAP."
Ali is a typical swing-voter who, if he votes for the AAP, is likely to cause the Congress harm.
"If you remove Karnataka from the reckoning, the stain of corruption is more on the Congress than the BJP," said Vishwanathan.
"The AAP will get the vote of the disgruntled, people who have had runs-ins with a corrupt bureaucracy," he added.
Some voters, however, say the AAP needs to do more. Amitabh Sinha, 41, a Mumbai-based writer said he is put off by the AAP's lack of agenda and ideas. Sociologist Dipankar Gupta, however, said the party would do best to stick to its strength of being an anti-corruption team and not go broad-based.
"Instead of running for the general and assembly elections, the next two years should have been spent on fighting municipal elections like the Shiv Sena did," he said. "No shortcuts. First be regional, then go national."