AAP's implosion has hurt India's democratic experiments

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is crumbling. That is not a surprise for every political party implodes whenever it faces electoral defeats. Rather, the question which becomes more relevant is: Will the experiment with the civil society in India be the same ever again?

This is a big harm that people like Arvind Kejriwals and Yogendra Yadavs have done to India's politics. The party they had formed had given rise to a huge expectation about the apolitical taking over the reins from the political in India and soon there would be change at the grassroots, improving the lives of the ordinary people. It was expected that a fresh republic would be born and a process of decentralisation will begin where people would breath easy.

Making history isn't easy

But Kejriwal and his party could not rise above what the theoreticians had thought about them. A lot of theories were floated about the AAP's potential and how Kejriwal has emerged into am alternative to leaders like Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. The media remained obsessed with the Kejriwal phenomenon till a point of fatigue. The victory in the 2013 Delhi assembly election was a huge victory for India's 'neo-democrats'. It was a historic moment.

But just two months into the next year, the AAP phenomenon began to fade. Kejriwal, riding high on the euphoria and over-confidence, suddenly quit as the chief minister of Delhi on grounds of morality. This essentially marked the death of the AAP's political ambition. The subsequent thrashing in the Lok Sabha election, the series of resignations from the party and finally, the rift in the top leadership made it conclusive that the AAP has failed to live up to the expectations.

What was Yogendra Yadav doing? He is a political scholar, didn't he sense the outcome?

But why did the party face such a consequence? It is not right to put the entire onus on Kejriwal for a party is not one individual. People like Yogendra Yadav are assets for any political outfit for their level of knowledge and expertise but they have failed pathetically to rise to the occasion. He has blamed the party's policy deficit after it suffered the losses. What was he himself doing when things weren't going right?

[Letter war in AAP: Yogendra Yadav writes to Political Affairs Committee]

The Lok Sabha election showed the party where it belongs

One gets the feeling that the AAP became over-ambitious by fielding its main faces in this year's election and committed a grave blunder in the process. Didn't the party understand that the election of 2014 belonged to Narendra Modi and they were in no position to influence the outcome with their scarce resources?

By contesting and losing against Modi, Kejriwal made himself a laughing stock

The decision of Kejriwal to contest against Modi from Varanasi made him a laughing stock while he could have played out his politics in a much better way. We don't know who had hatched the suicidal plan, but the final outcome shows that the AAP's political maturity was far from satisfactory, the presence of Yadav notwithstanding.

Did AAP practise what it preached?

The AAP's blunder lied in the fact that it did not practise what it preached. It projected itself as a symbol of selflessness and idealism but in reality, its leaders showed to the world that they only relished power. The party took things so much for granted that it even humiliated the voters of Delhi by quitting the power in the state and eyed power at the Centre.

Projecting Kejriwal as a potential PM was a shocker

It was surprising to see Kejriwal, who has little political history, being projected as the potential prime minister of India besides Modi and Rahul Gandhi. It raises serious questions about the analytical capacity of those political pundits who saw a PM candidate in Kejriwal. A harsh reality check came on May 16 when the AAP found that it could manage just four seats in the Lok Sabha with a zero tally in Delhi where Kejriwal was a hero even five months ago.

AAP's fate may seriously affect India's experiments with the 'apolitical' in future

The AAP's implosion is not just bad for Kejriwal but also for the space of civil society movement in India. An individual doesn't matter in the long run but the betrayal that the AAP and its leadership made will leave a serious trust deficit in our political democracy. A democracy is vibrant for it is always busy with experimentations, political or otherwise, and there is always a serious effort to negate the status quo. Anna Hazare had given birth to a new hope in a system which felt suffocated with a tainted regime but the AAP hijacked it only to ruin the opportunity that was on the offer.

India rejects the 'apolitical'

India, which was looking for an apolitical solution to a political problem which intensified over five years, finally settled with a political solution (read Modi). The apolitical was rejected but is it a rejection for ever? An affirmative response doesn't hold good for our vibrant democracy.

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