Is AAP repeating the mistake of over-reaching once again?

The June 10 protest by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party against agrarian distress is an attempt to reach out to rural India and help expand the party’s base

editorials Updated: Jul 11, 2017 17:29 IST
Hindustan Times
AAP,Arvind Kejriwal,farmers protest
Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with other leader’s leave at ECI headquarters after meeting the chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi on alleged manipulation in the electronic voting machines, New Delhi, April 01, 2017(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Fortune favours the brave, but this seems like sheer recklessness. Delhi chief minister and national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal has decided to launch a nationwide protest on June 10 over the agrarian distress. This he hopes will reach out to rural people across India and help expand the party’s base for future elections.

This is commendable given the acute problems that farmers are facing. But politically, the party is going down the same route that did not pay off for it in the past — becoming too ambitious before consolidating. When it got the chance to make a real difference in Delhi for a second time, it frittered away its goodwill and time in a ruinous fight with the former lieutenant governor. Many people initially invested in the party hoping for a genuine alternative to the established political formations which were all seen as cynical and out of touch in varying degrees.

In recent times, the party has been locked in a battle with the Election Commission of India arguing that the electronic voting machines were rigged, leading to its defeat. A smart political party does not waste time on such things; it picks itself up, regroups and lives to fight another day.

AAP has the huge task of governing Delhi and the excuse that others are not allowing it to work may be valid but wearing thin. Its lack of success in the recent elections suggests that it has gone far from the core values, which were once so attractive to the people.

Mr Kejriwal’s combative style alone won’t work when the city is facing a scorching summer with all its attendant problems. He and his government should be seen to be addressing these rather than taking on a national issue in the hope that this will yield to future political gain.

This is precisely the sort of cynical politics that AAP had said it would stay away from when it began. Recouping lost ground in Punjab should not be at the cost of Delhi whatever the constraints.

There were many innovative schemes that the party began, among them mohalla clinics, that are in need of attention. There is a huge problem of the lack of proper housing for migrant workers. No doubt the party is hobbled by the complicated nature of political power in Delhi but it has not even been seen to try to deal with these since its poor showing in Punjab and the municipal elections in Delhi.

If anyone had hoped that the recent defeats would have jolted the party into some degree of realism, they are bound to be disappointed.

First Published: Jun 07, 2017 17:49 IST