Tuesday, February 10, 2015

So an apology actually works!

I don’t think there’s anyone who can confidently say that they expected such a verdict from Delhi. Probably, except the staunchest of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters. Post the elections, all the exit polls were anticipating AAP to win the elections. BJP spokespersons had more or less conceded defeat. Post mortem started even before the results were declared. 

And then, the results were declared – 

Even Arvind Kejriwal commented – This win has scared me too! And he is not the only one who was taken by surprise. Most of the Indians across the globe were surprised / shocked (based on which party you support). No one expected such a “tornado” from Kejriwal that encompassed the wave that Narendra Modi was surfing on. Congress has been decimated in Delhi, which was more or less expected considering they had already given up before the voting day. It was always going to be a BJP v/s AAP battle. But AAP went one step ahead and did what Narendra Modi did in the Lok Sabha elections – decimating and nullifying the opposition!

So what does all this mean? Has the BJP wave run its course? Is this the new AAP 2.0 / Arvind Kejriwal 2.0? Where does that leave Kiran Bedi and BJP? Is the Congress still relevant after another whitewash?

In my opinion, here are the 4 important takeaways from the Delhi Election Results – 
  1. An apology actually works – AAP always knew they were in for a tough fight in this election. They literally ran away from responsibility the last time they were in power in Delhi. And that too in 49 days. It was always going to be an election for BJP to win compared to any other party. But AAP made their weakness into their strength as they started their election campaign by apologizing for their “mistake”. It takes guts at that level to admit your mistake and apologize. When was the last time a political party actually “apologized”? Conceding defeat is not apologizing. All we have heard till now were mere excuses for losing / anti-incumbency factor. Now that we know the result, we can safely say that an apology can go a long way in correcting the wrong. All that AAP needs to do now is to live up to their promise and fulfill their commitments made in their manifesto.
  2. Has the wave run its course? By all means, no. The non-BJP parties are sure to jump on the no-BJP-wave bandwagon. But it will merely be a “spokesperson’s brief”. The fact remains, BJP messed up the strategy for Delhi. In retrospect, they should have immediately called for Delhi elections post their Lok Sabha sweeping. They didn’t. They should have focused more on the issues Delhi faces rather than the personal attacks on opposition parties. They didn’t. If at all anything, the personal attacks gave Kejriwal more support than what even AAP had anticipated. BJP have lost Delhi. But their strategy to win state elections will more / less remain Modi-centric. Delhi simply didn’t like BJP’s proposition. Delhi wanted an alternative and they got one.
  3. A frustrated common man actually has the power to invoke change – In more ways than one, Arvind Kejriwal did what Narendra Modi did in the Lok Sabha elections – bank on the frustration of the people sick of politics without growth and offered them an alternative. The people of Delhi bought that proposition from AAP. Delhi has its own problems they face every single day. Here we have different political parties pitching for solutions. They elected one of them without any hindrance. Ironic as it may sound, elections are the only place where aam aadmi executes their power. For the rest of five years, it’s just a case of power imposed on them. AAP might change that scenario, at least they look most promising to bring about change.
  4. Congress needs a makeover, asap! Congress are just few steps away from being history. And its a scary proposition, not only for the Congress faithful but for Indian politics in general. We need at least 2 national level parties to keep the other on their toes. Decimation of Congress means BJP are the only one left at the national scene. This can bring in complacency (Delhi elections being one such example). AAP is still years away from a national level fight. Third front won’t cut the ice in today’s India where people want a stable government. That leaves only Congress. And they are in a mess – a lot of which are self-inflicted. They have to go for a serious makeover. Change something big – maybe the top echelons of the party, maybe the way they function, maybe the way they position themselves. Anything. Just anything under the sun, but bring it!

Narendra Modi will acknowledge the fact that he now has a competitor and a battle to fight. Generally such a scenario brings out the best in people. Any upsurge in the performance of the Indian Government will only be beneficial to the country in general. Expect a flurry of positive events happening soon (cue: national budget 2015, for one). Kejriwal, on his part, now has a mandate he could not have dreamt of. Not delivering on his promises will ensure a similar mandate in 5 years, albeit against AAP. People don’t have much patience now. “Perform or Perish” is the new mantra. It’s time the rest of India adopts this mantra too.

AAP may have won Delhi, but India is the clear winner.

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