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Political Play
KG Suresh
Ignoring AAP may prove costly for BJP, others 27 February, 2014
Apparently, many in the BJP and the Congress are elated over the fall of the AAP Government in Delhi recently. From writing the obituary of the party to pompous declarations that people are thoroughly disillusioned with Kejriwal & Co, the leaders of these parties are falling prey to a miscalculation that they may end up repenting at leisure.

Undoubtedly, a section of the neutral middle class electorate has got 'disillusioned' with the antics of the AAP leaders but the fact remains that not only the party has retained a majority of its core supporters but has also gradually eaten into some crucial vote banks of the Congress and the BJP within a short span of time.

To begin with, by targeting one of the country's leading industrialists in the country, whom political parties and even the media have scrupulously avoided criticising, the AAP leadership has carved a niche for themselves in the hearts of a large section of the populace which has always felt exploited by the rich and the powerful. Remember the Angry Young Man of Bollywood in the 70s. He became an instant star thanks to the roles showing him as someone taking head on the high and the mighty. That is the Indian psyche.

Sacrifice or Tyaag is another trait the Indian voters greatly value in their leaders. Thus, when Sushma Swaraj threatened to tonsure her head if Sonia Gandhi became the Prime Minister following the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the latter coolly declined the offer in the process captured popular imagination, though she may have had compelling reasons to decide so.

Kejriwal and friends have set another benchmark by fielding candidates against prominent leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav (and probably against Modi), sending a loud message that unlike other parties, they don't enter into tacit understanding when it comes to top leaders.

Coming to vote banks, the trading community in the capital has always been a strong backbone of the BJP since its inception. With the Chief Minister himself belonging to the community and hijacking the FDI agenda from under BJP's wings, there is a perceptible shift among the traders towards the new party though BJP continues to hold sway over them.

Similarly, with the Kejriwal-led Delhi Government making the right noises over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and institution of an SIT probe, the majority of the Sikhs who have backed BJP or its ally the SAD (Badal) are now having a rethink. The registration of the FIR in the CWG scam by the Delhi Government, despite taking outside support from the Congress, has also cut into the BJP's anti-graft plank against the Congress regime.

By terming communalism as a bigger threat than corruption, Kejriwal is also seeking to woo the minorities, who have so far stood by the Congress and some other regional 'secular' parties but are now seriously questioning their competence to halt the Modi juggernaut. Of course, in the process, he may end up losing some hardcore Hindutva votes which had shifted loyalties to him in the wake of the anti-corruption movement.

AAP may not win a large number of seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls but in the scenario of a fractured mandate, every single seat matters. It is here that AAP has the potential to play spoilsport, if not King Maker.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
K G Suresh is a Delhi-based Senior Journalist and Editor of Critique
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