AAP – an experiment in Democracy


When the one-year old AAP (Aam Aadmi Party of the Party of the Common Man) took power to form the Government of the Union Territory of Delhi, a new history was being written in the annals of Indian Democracy.

Here is an upstart party formed by an engineer-turned government bureaucrat, who could in short order completely upend the electoral calculations of the established parties (the Congress Party or the G.O.P. of India, and the BJP or the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main Opposition party).

The BJP won the maximum number of seats in the Delhi Assembly, but could not form the government as it fell short of an absolute majority by some four seats. The Congress Party was routed, reduced to a paltry eight seats. The AAP was number #2 just behind the BJP with 28 seats, and formed the government with the external support of the Congress Party, who are AAP’s nemesis. While I am not able to fully comprehend why the AAP did that, partnering with their arch enemy, the result was a minority government which won the trust vote last week in the Assembly.

May be the AAP Government will not be able to last long – my guess is some six months. Congress Party is notoriously unreliable, and may not be in a position to keep supporting the Delhi Government if it is challenged vigorously in the April Parliamentary Elections. So, the new Chief Minister, Mr Arvind Kejriwal is a man in a hurry, wanting to accomplish as much as possible in a very short period of time.

AAP is an unique experiment in the development of Indian Democracy, and contrasts rather significantly with the democratic movements in many countries such as Thailand, Egypt, etc., AAP was formed with the explicit purpose of defeating the incumbents at the hustings, and it achieved its purpose in a great manner with no prior experience at all.

All this shows that Democracy is alive and well in action, at least in India, the world’s largest democracy. Some 800 million people will vote in the nation’s Parliamentary Elections due in April / May 2014, and it is the single largest such exercise anywhere in the world.

Are there more experiments coming up ? You bet. Though I am not sure that the AAP would be able to sustain in the absence of funds, I think it should get a full go at running the Delhi Government. Let us see what transpires in the next six months !

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
05 January 2014

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