AAP 3.0


The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah juggernaut was, yet again, stopped by Arvind Kejriwal. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s emphatic victory is an endorsement by Delhi voters of the political culture established by the party. The results come as a fitting acknowledgement of the political will and commitment displayed by the AAP government in fulfilling its major election promises. The government endeared itself to the electorate by providing free water, cheap electricity and door delivery of 40-odd services to citizens. The highly personalised, negative campaign targeting Mr. Kejriwal, and excessive confidence in the ‘Modi wave’ boomeranged on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Given the string of setbacks in recent State elections, it needs to groom State-level leaders and focus on local issues rather than relying solely on the charisma of the Prime Minister. The complete wipe-out of the Congress Party added insult to injury for a party that is in a state of free fall and struggling to recuperate from the drubbing received during the general elections. To sum up, the message of the electorate was loud and clear — their priority continues to be bread and butter issues.

B. Suresh Kumar,


That the voter has cast his valuable vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s good work for the poor and the underprivileged is definitely a positive sign for electoral democracy. It will encourage leaders to think that sincerity will pay. Mr. Kejriwal’s victory speech brings to my mind Jawaharlal Nehru’s words, “I stand before you not as your first Prime Minister but as your first servant.” That people have thought beyond divisive agenda, which is disastrous to constitutional polity, is a positive feature of this election.

N.G.R. Prasad,


All the efforts of the BJP to upset the apple cart of Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party have come to nought and the Delhi voter has overwhelmingly exercised his and her franchise in favour of AAP, ensuring a fresh term in office for Mr. Kejriwal. The Congress, in no position to challenge either AAP or the BJP, has not been able to win a single seat though it made bold to field candidates in as many as 67 of the 70 constituencies. More than 60 these candidates have even forfeited their deposits. The BJP waged a relentless battle, engaging a battery of top-notch campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and as many as 11 Union Ministers but all to no avail. All that the BJP succeeded in was in winning five more seats, as compared to the 3 seats that it won in 2015, and in increasing its vote share. The highly intemperate and vituperative campaign by some of the BJP’s star speakers, including Union Minister Anurag Thakur and MP Parvesh Varma, only ended up vitiating the atmosphere, fetching the party no dividends whatsoever. Mr. Kejriwal, whose early days in office wre marred by skirmishes with the Centre and pitched battles with the Lieutenant Governor, later wisely decided to sheath his sword and turn his attention to governance in a bid to better the lot of the Delhi-ites. Many of his schemes, especially those directed at women, were criticised by his political adversaries but if the results of the poll are any indication, they have clearly helped in tilting the balance in his favour. The BJP, which was quite optimistic of winning a mandate this time around, has had to eat the humble pie. As for the Congress, it is evident that it will have no further role to play in Delhi politics as the voters have rejected it lock, stock and barrel.

C.V. Aravind,


The Aam Aadmi Party has ‘broom-swept’ the Delhi polls, blowing away its principal rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to smithereens. It was a high-stakes electoral contest for both the parties. While the AAP was facing an existential threat, the saffron party, after major setbacks in State elections, was desperate to arrest its diffusing political hegemony. If the AAP contested the elections largely on the strength of its governance, the BJP‘s electoral discourse was a heady mix of national and local issues like reconstruction of Ram temple, dilution of Article 370 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The election results evidently reveal the AAP’s gratified governance triumphing over BJP’s nationalism pitch. Sadly, for Congress, its quest for regaining Delhi proved to be a damp squib, as the party once again drew blank, with its vote share dipping below 5%. The verdict sends out a loud and clear message to all the three political dispensations about their future. The impressive win provides the AAP a breathing space and a second chance to fine-tune itself as an alternative force in Indian politics. The party needs to broaden its leadership base and expand its political wings. For the BJP, the election exposed its polarisation politics, lack of second-rung leaders with political appeal, and absence of local leadership. And for the Congress, its failure to even open its account in Delhi reveals that the party is still comatose and the victories in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were more by default than by political design.

R. Sivakumar,


The repeat victory for Mr. Kejriwal’s AAP in the Delhi Assembly elections amply demonstrates the voters’ political maturity in refusing to be swayed by the vitriolic campaign led by Home Minister Amit Shah. It is also a triumph of good governance over any kind of polarisation. It speaks of Mr. Kejriwal’s amazing grace that he refused to be provoked even when he was called a “terrorist” by some members of the BJP. Reduced once again to a single digit in the Assembly, the lesson the BJP needs to learn is that boasts do not necessarily ensure electoral success, issues do.

S.K. Choudhury,


It is highly debatable as to what extent national issues shape the outcome of an Assembly election. However, evidently, the BJP fought the Delhi Assembly elections on national issues and with national leaders. Hence, it is hard to rule out the possibility of the impact of national policy and legislation on this verdict. Undoubtedly, the BJP made CAA and NRC and associated protests as the main issues. The verdict arrived and delivered a loud and clear message: polarisation politics and tactics not always work. It is time to reset policy priorities. Unless the BJP shifts its focus to the economy, education, healthcare, and employment, among other issues, it is not going to be easy to win the hearts of masses.

A. Venkatasubramanian

Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 4:54:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/aap-30/article30813604.ece

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