What next for Arvind Kejriwal led AAP after becoming the 9th national political party indiabusinessport.com

Recent election results of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi MCD have turned a new chapter in Indian politics. Apart from BJP & Congress victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the other significant outcome which attracted political pundits across the country is AAP’s vote share in Gujarat. The AAP bagged around 13% of the vote share in Gujarat and is now eligible for national party status from the election commission of India. This is a significant moment in Indian politics as this development will contemplate Arvind Kejriwal’s ambition to emerge as a political alternative. The status of a national party brings many advantages to the bucket of a political party like from the right to a reserved symbol to getting slots in Doordarshan and land entitlements for its national headquarters. However, in this piece, I attempt to explore the possible challenges for AAP to become a national political alternative after getting the status of a national party.

First, the AAP has to fight against the vast organizational structure of the BJP-RSS. There were approximately 10 lakhs polling booths in India during the 2019 parliamentary election. The major challenge of AAP is to expand its organization at the lower level. Arvind Kejriwal has to build the organization from the state level to the booth level in the next few years. This is going to be a huge task for AAP as it has active state-level organizations in only two states. Also, Arvind Kejriwal has to give free hand to state-level leadership and has to give it a formal structure. I believe, the AAP is still a volunteer-led organization and without the making shift from a volunteer-based organization to a cadre-based organization, the ambition of becoming a national political alternative can’t be easy.

Second, along with the organization-building exercise, Arvind Kejriwal has to develop leadership at the state level as well. This requires the process of decentralization within the organization. Arvind Kejriwal will have to learn from the BJP and provide space to local leaders to expand their political clouts and mass support? Can Arvind Kejriwal develop his own “Yogi Adityanath, Devendra Fadanvis, and Himanata Vishwa Sharma” in his camp under his leadership? Recently, when the AAP was getting momentum in Uttrakhand, the CM candidate Colonel Ajay Kothiyal (Retd), and the state chief Deepak Bali both resigned from the party and joined the BJP. AAP has to find such potential local leaders first and secondly, he has to develop a mechanism to manage these leaders under his political clout.

Third, AAP will also face some ideological challenges on road to becoming a national political alternative. The AAP has to clear its stand on issues like reservation, secularism, the uniform civil code, etc. The USP of AAP electioneering has been to mobilize voters on local issues so far now. However, this will be interesting to see how AAP changes its electioneering approach. Whether they will continue on the same template or will add something new to their electioneering agendas. Owing to this, the fourth major challenge for the AAP will be its social engineering. AAP has developed a mastery over class-based social engineering. In Delhi and Punjab, the lower middle class has emerged as a prominent vote bank for AAP. But, the AAP has to expand its root in caste politics as well. Electoral politics in the north Indian states is dominated by caste politics and the AAP has to find an entry point to form a new social equation in its favour.

The road ahead for AAP looks very challenging. The AAP has to sustain its momentum and also has to expand its mass support and organizational structure. This will be interesting to see how AAP changes national politics or whether the complex national politics of the country will become a hurdle for it. Days ahead in Indian politics look very interesting. Stay tuned.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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