If AAP comes to power in Delhi

February 9, 2015

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by charismatic Prime Minister Narendra Modi, faces its first electoral setback since coming to power at the centre last year, if exit polls for the Delhi assembly elections turn out right. Counting of votes will begin on February 10 (Tuesday).

A victory for the socialist-oriented Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 70-seat assembly would have both negative as well as positive effects.

As its name suggests, the AAP (Common Man’s Party) gets its vote bank from the man on the street – the lower and middle-income class. My maid, my driver and even my plumber said they all voted for the AAP. I asked them why? They had the same answer – APP leader Arvind Kejriwal is like one of them.

In last year’s parliamentary elections, almost 99 percent of AAP candidates lost their security deposit to the Election Commission as they failed to get a minimum percentage of votes in their respective constituencies, overwhelmed by the ‘Modi wave’. So has Narendra Modi’s charm diminished? I don’t think so. Modi came to power with immense expectations from the public. People expected quick solutions to their problems.

People who are more in tune with the macro conditions are aware that Modi inherited a system with huge froth and it will take him at least 18-24 months to clean up the froth. But the common man seems to have lost his patience. And I fear that, to bring the ‘aam aadmi’ back into its fold, the BJP government at the centre may resort to populist measures and diverge from its reform agenda.

Also, if the AAP comes to power, it could re-energise the beleaguered opposition parties. A united opposition may pose further problems to the ruling party in enacting laws, especially pertaining to reforms. Even though BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), it is in minority in the Rajya Sabha (upper house).

On the flip side, the emergence of a strong opposition along with the need of the ruling party to regain its foothold within a specific social strata might lead to a quickening of the pace of reforms so that the economic benefits get passed on to the lowest level of society as soon as possible.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/