Tuesday, 24 February 2015

RISE, FALL AND RISE OF AAP - A Ground Zero Analysis

The concept of political revolution in the form of alternate politics is not new to India. Evolution of Jan Sangh, which went on to become BJP, Janata Dal and its offshoots like RJD, JD (U), can be considered as a natural process of change. But the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party has its own distinct feature.
Hitherto parties have either had a unique ideologies like Jan Sangh(BJP) or with a purpose- become an alternate to the established party, Congress. Of course coalitions of V.P singh government in late 80’s and Deve gowda, I.K.Gujaral governments in mid 90s, though tried to be an alternate, was short lived for the self explanatory reasons of not having any commonality, in either ideology or understanding of policies between the coalition  partners.
Aam Aadmi Party came in to existence with an ambit of ‘Clean Politics’ which includes anti corruption, decriminalization of politics, making muscle and money (liquor) power irrelevant. This was the unheard voice of millions of people of this country. The ignorant attitude of major political parties gave AAP a ready acceptance amongst the people, in the form of positive results in 2013 elections of Delhi state

After the infamous resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as Chief Minister and perceived under performance in 2014 general elections, AAP was reduced to ashes. As in next Delhi sate elections, chances of AAP seemed to be far from bright, next question in minds of many was, what next? And the answer from AAP was in the form of strategies which went on very well in favor of the party.

What were the strategies of AAP to recoup?

  1. Arvind Kejriwal, after the debacle, started afresh with a ‘Sorry’ and a request of forgiveness for resigning from the government. People didn't feel so angry right after Kejriwal’s resignation but only when, that same old corrupt and inefficient governance came back after a brief relieved period of 49 days. All anger of the people went down with this one sorry.
  2. Right after 2014 general elections, AAP concentrated in building the ‘Booth Centric’ organization.
  3. To design the manifesto, AAP came up with a very successful concept of Delhi Dialogue, in which all sections of the society – women, youth, juggi jopidi habitats and so on were involved, consulted, interacted in designing the manifesto. People said “arey koi tho hain hamari sunne wala” (at least there is someone who is listening to us)
  4. The next strategy which went in favor of AAP was breaking the image of Narendra Modi to be the face of BJP in Delhi elections, forcing the party to look out for a CM candidate, unlike the elections of Maharashtra, Haryana and Kashmir.”Modi tho Pradhan manthri hai, Delhi ke CM tho nahi banenge na” (Modi is PM and will not become CM of Delhi).
  5. As and when BJP was considering Satish Upadhyaya for the CM candidature, AAP has brought out the expose of his having monetary stakes in the alleged faulty electricity meters running in Delhi.
  6. Having a first hand experience of elections, I was very much apprehensive about the influence of money and liquor particularly in the last two days. To beat this, AAP has come up with two strategies,

  •  Arvind Kejriwal has appealed to the people to accept money from all but vote for AAP. With this he could break that possible emotional obligation of the voter towards the person who distributed the money. This, I could sense when I asked people as to what, if you are given money? To which their reply was, “paise tho hum sabse lenge per vote tho Jhadu ko hi denge” (we will take money from all but vote only for AAP)
  • Spy Cameras - The volunteers were equipped with around 5000 spy cameras to capture anyone who distributes money and liquor. This has proved to be double advantageous. One, it induced a  lot of confidence in the volunteers that they can handle and curtail the distribution of money and liquor thereby protecting their vote base. Two, it will put the opponents in defensive and fearful mode.

  Apart from these strategies AAP has been doing exceptional ground work in many areas,       which went in favor of it.

What went in Favor of AAP

  1. Arvind Kejriwal created 'hope' in the people of Delhi against corrupt, inefficient Congress and BJP
  2. 49 days of governance of Aam Aadmi Party has,
    • Provided corruption free government, free of  hafta wasool  from police, municipal, water and other officials. This has benefited  marginalized sections viz, hawkers, street vendors and the likes
    • No corruption in private school admissions
    •  Improved facilities in government hospitals
    •  Relieved the people from high cost of living by lowering electricity bills, supply of water for free, keeping the prices of vegetables in control etc.
    • Ended the VIP culture which was frightening and was alienating the common people
  3. AAP Manifesto reflected the very basic issues of the people viz. Electricity, water, shelter, women safety, health and education. There were also features like free WiFi which attracted the youth.
  4. On one hand while AAP was all time talking about this manifesto and creating a positive aspiration of the future government, on the other hand BJP was all involved in bashing Arvind Kejriwal with some personal attacks. The negative campaign of BJP and positive Campaigning of AAP has worked very well in favor of AAP. This has resulted in the tilt of the fence sitters towards AAP. The same has reflected in the voting.
  5. Campaigning
Singing & Dancing troops in streets
  • Wave Campaigning – There can no better campaigning than the one carried on in Delhi. Starting from Hoardings, Ads in Metro trains to volunteers, call campaigning, Door to door, Buzz campaigning, cultural team involved special dance troops - "Dance For Democracy" (flash mobs) and Singing troop (singing patriotic songs).
    • Janasabha - Around 120 janasabhas (street meetings), on an average of 2 per constituency were organized where in people in large number attended and took the message of AAP home, along with a conviction to vote for it.
    • ‘5 Saal Kejriwal’ song and ‘Cap’ – If at all we had to mention about two driving forces of the campaigning which attracted the people on one side and motivated the party volunteers on the other are the attire of ‘Cap’ and the song of 5 Saal Kejriwal
    6. AAP talked the language of the people who need the government assistance most, making autowalas and hawkers free from harassment, renewing E-Rikhsaws, permanent settlement for Juggi Jhopidi habitats, regularizing contract employees and so on. Incidentally these are the people whose percentage of voting is very high.

    Other observations

    • Voting Pattern
    Experience out of campaigning and talking to the voters, the ground zero opinion of mine regarding the voting pattern was,

    • One side voting in favor of AAP -Autowala, E-Rikshaw drivers, Street vendors and hawkers, Juggi jhopidi habitats
    • 60-80% voting   - Minorities, Sc, STs, Women, Youth
    • May face dent in upper middle class
    • A section of middle class are undecided (fence sitters) who on one side were aspired to see clean politics but apprehensive about the dharna and anarchist image of Arvind Kejriwal. Also the general attitude towards politicians “sab chor hain” – the words of a youngster with whom I spoke. Some of them may go with NOTA option.
    The above was posted in my Facebook page well before the elections. Please check here
        After the results, it was observed that the middle class section shifted towards AAP, reason  as mentioned earlier attributing to the positive campaigning of AAP- manifesto.

    • Survey of My own 
      Apart from regular campaigning, I asked people, without telling them which party I belong, as to whom they will vote. The sample includes Tea Stall owner, Street vendor, cobbler, Tailor,  Hotel owner & boy (where I stayed), shop keepers, Tyre repairing mechanic, students, Government employees  
      Total no of people asked – 32, and they opined to vote for, 

     AAP - 28, BJP – 4, Congress – 1, NOTA -  1

     This I wrote on my Facebook page well before the elections and the results.For reference please check here
    It is worth mentioning of an incident in Haldiram's Restaurant in Chandini Chouwk. The manager scolded a worker, after which the worker's conversation with his friend was “arey bhai 10 thareek thak rukiye, uske baadh hum apni chai ki dukaan vapas lagalenga” (wait till 10th, result day, after which we can set up our own old tea stall). Let us hope AAP stands up to this expectation of governance, imparting self esteem in, even the most marginalized person of the Delhi.

    In the words of this worker, 10th came along with landslide victory for AAP. Now that Aam Aadmi Party is successful in Delhi, the country is awaiting the same success. The song which was sung by the AAP cultural team many times in a day, would be now very appropriate to end, hum honge kamayab, hum honge kamyab ekdin, oho man me hain vishwas, pura hai vishwas hum honge kamayab ek din….