People charge but leaders flee



By Vijay Badhwar

The first timer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which gave a jolt to entrenched political parties like Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently held election in Delhi is now vacillating if it should form a government in its own right. Its election success has surprised the party itself who had hoped to sit on the fence only to be critical to others and by setting unachievable agendas of cutting power bills by half and providing 700 litres of water per day free to Delhi residents.

AAP won a whopping 28 from a total of 70 seats virtually with unknown candidates, massacring Congress on the way who lost 35 seats and also its Chief Minister Shiela Dixit to retain only eight seats. BJP did well to unseat Congress to top the list with 31 seats.

Congress also lost Rajasthan – 96 seats down to 21, while BJP retained its hold in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Congress only won in Mizoram ”“ in one state from five recently gone to polls. If that is a trend, Congress should worry for its fate in the general elections next year.

Delhi is a microcosm of diverse India, of its castes and classes, rich and the poor. The election result in Delhi may not establish a ”˜Modi Wave’ but it does point to the fact that the people want a cleaner government, a change from the Gandhi regime. They have held on to Kejriwal’s sloganeering as the only hope in despair. Even Anna Hazare has woken from his slumber to go on fast again for his Lok Pal Bill, hopping on the band wagon of AAP success.

The test is on now whether Kejriwal will be able to deliver. He is already proved his critics wrong by an overwhelming approbation by the masses. But he is dithering to form a government, apprehensive at the lofty promises he has made or for the party does not have an adequate structure at the state or the national level. To go to people to ask for their verdict if he should form a government is simply naïve and ridiculous, as is the logistics of receiving and analysing millions of public opinion over five days. The BJP or the Congress may have a ploy to keep him hooked on Delhi and tie his meagre resources to the state rather than let him be a spoiler on the national scene.

It is a good opportunity for BJP also to prove its mettle, an investment towards the general elections. If they deliver on the Kejriwal challenges against all odds, the national elections are in their pocket.

Whatever the results, it is a win for the people. At last the political system has realised that the masses have arisen to demand a cleaner government. No wonder that the politicians are on the brink of finally legislating the Lok Pal Bill that has been gathering dust for decades.

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