AAP in power: Refreshing yet disappointing?

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The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) decision to finally form a government with the outside support of the Congress is a disappointing move when seen from a traditional viewpoint but is refreshing when seen from the desk of a modern analyst.

Taking support of the Congress is disappointing for it means that the AAP has compromised with its principal enemy and it will send a wrong signal to the people in general for in politics, popular perception is significant. The traditionalists of Indian politics believe that the AAP-Congress government will not continue for long for in India, political opponents are not known to be accommodative to serve long-term interests.

If it had to form an 'alliance', then why didn't the AAP go with the BJP?

We saw how the governments of Charan Singh, Chandra Sekhar and IK Gujral were destabilised by the game of power-politics. There is no guarantee that Keriwal's government will not witness the same consequence. The question that arises naturally: Why didn't the AAP prefer the BJP as its partner if indeed it decided to form a coalition government?

There could be two reasons for that. First, the chief minister's post could have remained beyond the reach of the AAP for the BJP has more number of seats in the house. And two, the BJP's coming to power would have eclipsed Arvind Kejriwal and elevated Narendra Modi further. That could have been detrimental ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, particularly for the AAP.

For the traditional school of thought in Indian politics, this means a decline of the AAP, in terms of moral integrity only to serve its political interests. So what makes the AAP different from any other political party, even though it continues to take a moral high ground, promising action against all corrupt ministers even it it means compromising its own stay in the office.

But the entire episode that took place in Delhi after an indecisive verdict came out on December 8 has something to offer to those with a modernist approach towards democracy. The initiative taken by the AAP to seek an informal public opinion on whether it should form the government with the Congress after the results came out is something unprecedented in India's history.

Generally, we see rampant horse trading following an indecisive election to form a majority on the floor of the house but this is the first time that a political party has sought a fresh informal mandate from the people. This is significant for it shows a strong legacy of the AAP's anti-corruption crusade.

But the AAP's credibility so far lies in its experiment with democracy. But when it comes to governance, the party will be put to test and it could find its so-called 'apolitical' identity a liability then. Kejriwal and his team have imported a new style of direct democracy with help of media and technology and that too in a rootless city like Delhi. The basic nature of Indian politics has not changed. An election in Delhi is perhaps the easiest of all the contests that the Indian democracy witnesses and Kejriwal and his party have struggled to provide finishing touches to a fairy tale by suddenly exhibiting a lack of experience in calling a crucial shot.

A movement needs a minimum time to mature and reach the next level. It begins with a strong popular acceptance but that works as its strength till it reaches the next level, which is winning power and beginning to govern. It then depends on the leadership's capacity to transform the popular energy into its own authority. Kejriwal is yet to exhibit that transformation and has taken a long time to get out of the power-building process.

It is okay if the man is learning the art of politics with a 'L' sign on, but if we are talking about the hard political reality, well, he is yet to go some distance.

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