The Aam Aadmi Party’s landslide victory in the Delhi assembly election is unprecedented in India’s electoral history as no single political party has ever managed to win more than 95 percent of the seats.
Exit polls had predicted a majority for the AAP but completely failed to read the magnitude of support for the two-year-old party.
The two largest national parties – the BJP and Congress – have been completely decimated in Delhi, leaving almost no opposition in the new assembly.
The verdict marks a tectonic shift in Indian democracy and paves the way for ushering in an era of real politics.
It becomes important in this context to decode the mother of all mandates and find out what led to AAP’s spectacular victory.
The factors that played a key role are as follows:
The burning issue of corruption was turned into a national agenda by the AAP in 2013, and BJP took up the case in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP created some noise regarding ‘black money’ after it came to power but made no serious attempt to curb corruption, or to punish the corrupt.
This helped Arvind Kejriwal emerge as the country’s main anti-corruption crusader.
Kejriwal, who had quit as Delhi’s chief minister in 2014 after a 49-day stint and suffered a drubbing in the general election that followed, worked hard to regain lost ground.
AAP immediately hit the streets after the Lok Sabha polls and toiled hard to reconnect with the people of Delhi.
Kejriwal apologized to voters and promised that he will not commit the same mistakes if voted back to power. People have placed their faith in him to end corruption, control inflation and bring down the prices of electricity and drinking water.
The BJP entered the electoral contest without naming a chief ministerial candidate with the aim of turning it into a referendum for Narendra Modi. However, the poor response to his initial rallies in Delhi led to Kiran Bedi being paraded as the CM candidate at the last moment, which did not go down well with party cadres. The political hara-kiri coupled with factionalism within the party and lack of support from the RSS led to the party’s downfall.
The BJP made a mistake by not holding the assembly election immediately after the general election, thereby failing to capitalize on the “Modi wave”.
The recent spate of incidents involving saffron groups and the regressive diktats issued by them has not gone down well with many people. Though condemned by BJP leaders, the silence of the prime minister seems to have backfired for the party.
The verdict in Delhi goes much beyond the numbers, and provides lessons for all political parties. For the AAP, it should respect the mandate and go all-out to fulfill its election promises. For the BJP, it is time to correct its priorities and work towards a ‘Swachh Bharat’ (Clean India) free from corruption, decriminalise politics, and aim for people-centric development. For the Congress, it is time to accept the ground realities and start purging the people who have brought it to an all-time low.
Politics in the country has evolved from bad governance with corruption to good governance with corruption in the last one decade.
The verdict in Delhi is loud and clear – the country needs good governance sans corruption and a government that is fully responsible to the people.