It’s not the statehood of Delhi which needs fullness, instead the electoral term in any AAP’s triumphant non-Delhi state, which needs fullness for the fledgling party to prove its mettle to the republic. It has proven time and again, since 1952, that emotions and sympathy of ‘aam’ aadmi play a decisive role in electoral victories. Education and Health, are beyond the possibility of a peradventure, the two most powerful non-fiscal, non-agrarian “aam admi” targeted weapons, which can reap political dividends, regardless of social belonging. This is exactly where AAP scored brownie points. Now, the fruition with which they have been percolated to public is another debate.
For years, the public school system in India has always been looked down upon. Despite Article 21A, which mentions free education to all children ages six to fourteen as free and compulsory, it’s a shame that many are not even aware of this fundamental right. By bringing in, what could be termed as educational metamorphosis, AAP has clearly succeeded in showcasing the educational needs as a public necessity as opposed to a private amenity. AAP’s unparalleled efforts to transform the education system and healthcare system have in themselves become the party’s flagship products. Historic Legislative victory in Delhi is a testament of the party’s ingenuity. Although these achievements could be dismissed as a political non-sequitur, these will play a crucial role in the way AAP projects itself to the voters of forthcoming state elections, if contesting. Mohalla clinics and transformation of Public school system in Delhi should be extensively used as political weapons against its opponents with a simultaneous stress on the need for voters to give AAP a full term for a repeat of Delhi in other states, this time, only without constitutional limitations or union interference.
Delhi although a great start, has proven to be a raw deal for AAP. Its constant tussle with center, coupled with constitutional limitations of its home turf, AAP has led itself, albeit, unintentionally, to a pyrrhic victory. “Roti mota, ata chota” could be the phrase to best describe AAP’s ambitious efforts. AAP has something which many fledgling parties don’t, the pan-Indian impact of provincial elections. This could be partly due to its Delhi-centric politics and influential media which invested heavily in advertising the party’s promising impact nationwide. As oxymoron as it might sound, the stronger the provincial results, the better the party’s pan-Indian impact. In other words, it’s not the breadth of its electoral victory, but the depth of electoral triumph in each state which would serve as investment for its future electoral footprint.
What is the road ahead for AAP? Here are the states AAP should maintain a strategic focus on. To begin with, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, J & K and the North East are a definite no no. AAP should focus on winning or at the least create chances of winning in Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh in that order, cashing in on the current brewing discontentment on the administrations among the masses. Haryana particularly could be a low-hanging fruit due to its proximity and non-linguistic impact. However, it would be myopic if the age-old orthodox issues within the Jatland state are ignored. Unwavering focus on furthering the established voter turf in Goa and Punjab is also equally vital, else it runs a risk of voter base erosion. Punjab and Goa could have been potential victories, if not for strategic missteps by AAP (in dealing with aspirants) and absence of total anti-incumbency on the then administrations respectively. Although the ‘Hindi’ party tag might not fetch noticeable electoral dividends in the farther south of Vindhyas, it should continue to focus efforts in Karnataka where voter mindset has headed towards a promising change, however, has not translated to an electoral advantage, ‘as yet’. Dedicated and committed leadership in Karnataka is a primary reason for this pertinacious focus. Many more states need to adopt such templates and create their own homegrown models.
Finally, no matter how meritorious and qualified, AAP needs to precipitate the rumored public opinion of Kejriwal’s Prime Ministerial intentions (contending parliamentary elections challenging Modi could at best be termed as electoral machismo, but with concave consequences) and stress on his need and availability at a state level. Kejriwal remains AAP’s poster boy and common man relates himself/herself to this khaas aam aadmi. If he plays his cards right and manages Delhi (not the state) well, he could very well be a strong and experienced contender for the hot seat in foreseen future. The slower he is in the race, the faster he will reach ‘the’ goalpost.
Motto: “ Full State, Full Term”.
Time: Like the character Jaykant Shikre from Bollywood movie Singham says “abhi ke abhi”.