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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

AAP is unravelling --- and its top leadership is to be blamed

The party’s dismal performance in MCD elections only allowed the discordant voices to emerge stronger

editorials Updated: May 03, 2017 16:42 IST

Hindustan Times
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas during a rally, New Delhi, April 22, 2015
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas during a rally, New Delhi, April 22, 2015(Hindustan Times)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal may have managed to keep the party together on Wednesday by striking a compromise with dissident leader Kumar Vishwas but his problems are far from over. It would not be wrong to say the party is unravelling and voters are tired of its shenanigans. In other words, the party has squandered the phenomenally huge mandate they got in 2014. In addition, it has a very strong BJP snapping at its heels. After their recent impressive victory in the Delhi municipal elections, the party is now determined to replicate the astounding performance in the 2020 assembly elections. Here is what BJP president Amit Shah said on Tuesday: The party’s final destination was not civic bodies but the Delhi government. Urging party workers to unite and prepare for the next ‘goal’, he said, this success will lay the foundation for assembly elections in 2020.

How did things come to this pass for the AAP, a party that started with great promise? There are several reasons for this debacle but the two main ones are: First, the party tried to run before learning to walk; and second, instead of focusing on governance, it continued to stick to its agitation-mode politics. While there is some truth in the fact that the Centre has been creating roadblocks for it --- the AAP government in Delhi should have seen it as professional/political hazards. But instead of taking these challenges in their stride, the AAP team went on for a confrontational approach and led to the present problems. Moreover, it made its Punjab assembly gambit a do-or-die issue, taking its eyes off Delhi.

The party’s dismal performance in the MCD elections only allowed the discordant voices to emerge stronger. It also came under criticism from Arvind Kejriwal’s former Jan Lokpal movement allies — Anna Hazare, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan — after the MCD elections. The three blamed the party leadership for failing to live up to expectations and losing the mandate within a short period of time. The party was expected to restructure itself after its electoral losses. But after the first political affairs committee meeting after the results, the senior leaders could only ratify the decision to make Gopal Rai the convener of party’s Delhi unit. Whether the AAP agrees or not, there is stasis in the party and it really has to reinvent itself if it wants to stabilise and expand.

First Published: May 03, 2017 16:35 IST

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