friends have been asking me how I feel about AAP taking support from the Congress party of India to form a government in Delhi. In the spirit of full disclosure I must admit- When it comes to my views on politics I am an unreasonable person- meaning I believe in taking a rigid stand and sticking to it when it comes to matters of principles. From that perspective, I am not happy with the developments.
Now, having grown in the midst of electoral politics, and having observed the unconventional approach of the AAP, I am not surprised that AAP decided to take Congress support. Here are my observations of the situation.
1. Fighting elections is an expensive and exhausting experience. Elected representatives do not typically like going back to fight elections in situations like this for financial reasons, plus due to the fact that they are not always sure that they will get re-elected in case of a re-election. Regardless of public posturing by all the parties, I am very sure that there was a section of elected representatives in all the three parties- the Congress, BJP and AAP- who did not want to go through another election. I believe the reason Arwind Kejriwal called the situation a Dharm Sankat is because he was being forced to eat his own words by the pragmatic view within his party.
2. Having established that the congress party is on a massive losing streak, there is no way even the 8 MLA's of Congress would get re-elected if there elections are held immediately. That reality check made the Congress party take a pragmatic view and offer support to the AAP, with the hope that the new government would fail to implement its tall promises and discredit itself.
3. In her article in rediff.com titled "Cong in catch-22 situation after support to AAP govt", Anita Katyal reports, "With the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party all set to form the next government in Delhi, Congress cadres are furious with former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for forcing the party to prop up the new dispensation.....The Congress rank and file believes the party has tied itself in knots because it will have little choice but to support the new party’s agenda, failing which it will be dubbed as being undependable and a traitor".
4. Going by the trends of recent elections to the four state assemblies, when the congress party does withdraw support to the AAP government (which they will at some time), there will be a further erosion of votes away from the Congress party. Depending on how AAP does in fulfilling its prepoll promises, the flow of votes will either go to the AAP or to the BJP- definitely not to the congress.
5. There are no signs of AAP pleading for congress support, or of toning down their scathing criticism of the congress party in the national government. I am happy that Arvind Kejriwal did not drive straight to Sonia Gandhi's house to express his gratitude to the ultimate authority in the congress party. On the other hand, he and other members of the AAP seem firm on their resolve to inflict a deep blow to both the congress party and the BJP during coming Lok Sabha elections.
6. AAP's resolve to set up Mohalla committees for citizens' participation in democracy is an innovative and disruptive process. It is going to lead to scenarios of the future that are going to put the traditional parties in an unfamiliar space and give AAP a competitive advantage in working towards establishing a participatory democracy.
Considering all of the above factors, I believe I need to get over my deep sense of disappointment at AAP for taking support of the congress party and urge AAP supporters to wait and watch how this disruptive innovation in the practice of electoral politics unfolds.
In Mahabharata, Abhimanyu could not make it back from the Chakravyuh. I hope this Abhimanyu does.