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Will AAP join hands with the Congress in case of hung assembly

By admin

December 4, 2017


Before this question is addressed, another question needs to be answered; what’s AAP’s bigger play in politics?

Arvind Kejriwal fought the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013 on an anti-corruption platform and managed to win 28 seats. With support from the Congress, which had won just 8 seats, AAP managed to form the government, thus keeping off the BJP, which won 32 seats.
In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, AAP swept into power winning 67 out of 70 seats. BJP could win just 3 seats.

Arvind Kejriwal had bigger plans and believed there was a growing constituency outside of Delhi for AAP’s politics of clean governance, a mantle that BJP too was claiming.

First show down was in Goa, where AAP was expected to put up a strong fight to the BJP on their turf. It didn’t happen. AAP failed to win a single seat. This was the first sign of AAP’s declining aura.

Next showdown was Punjab assembly elections held earlier this year. Here too, AAP had high hopes and believed it had wide support of the masses, who were fed up with the Akali-BJP combine. Here too, AAP failed to deliver, winning just 20 seats. The Akali government lost power and BJP could win only 3 seats; Congress won 77 seats and formed the government.

The point is, Arvind Kejriwal did not command the support that he believed he had, nor did his party cadres, at the grass roots level. The message was clear, AAP was no more a political force that mattered. But it continues to hold nuisance value for any party that it opposes.
BJP has since silenced AAP into submission in Delhi, with the latter coming under scrutiny at all levels from various government agencies and a hostile media.

So, when MCD elections came up recently, AAP did not have too much hope, and they were correct. AAP could win just 47 seats, with BJP romping home with 184 and Congress winning just 30. With its back to the wall, there is little that AAP can do from here.

Therefore, it’s only fair to ask the question – what’s AAP’s greater play when it is venturing into Gujarat. After all, it is BJP’s bastion and the Prime Minister’s backyard. So, what is the reason for putting up 20 candidates in a state where it has done little work at the ground level, and with little funding support to take on the mighty BJP?

This is tricky. Arvind Kejriwal has been virulent against the BJP in Delhi from the time he came to power with support from the Congress and has been making very public statements claiming it is willing to join hands with any party to defeat the BJP.

Now, if this were true, how is it that AAP’s party cadres have walked out and joined the Congress in Gujarat just before the elections? If AAP was serious about fighting elections in Gujarat, Arvind Kejriwal would have been very visible on the campaign trail here and shared platforms with the Congress. But that hasn’t happened. Also, there is no way that he could be pleased to see his cadres join the Congress. So, when he makes public statements against the BJP and puts up 20 candidates, almost as an afterthought, one has to question what’s his game plan in Gujarat.

The only possible explanation could be that the BJP has managed to work out some backroom deal wherein AAP enters the fray in some constituencies to confuse the voters and spilt the votes that might otherwise go to the Congress. This logic is being put up by some Congress leaders in Delhi. And it does make sense since AAP has no other gains to be had in Gujarat.

If true, then this brings us to the final question. In case of a hung assembly in Gujarat, will AAP and Congress join hands?
This presents a strange situation. If AAP indeed is fighting in Gujarat at the behest of BJP, then its joining hands with the Congress in case of a hung assembly will only expose it, as BJP will not take it lying down.

On the other hand, if AAP is indeed fighting the elections to work against the BJP, as it publicly claims, then it would be inevitable that the party would end up supporting the Congress, that is if it manages to win some seats.

The Congress on its own has managed to gain some ground in Gujarat in the last three months, but it is unlikely that a situation of a hung assembly will arise. Let’s wait until 18 December to find out.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.


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