The vicarious pleasure that JD(U) leader and former chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee expressed after the victory of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the just-concluded Delhi election is no remedy for their respective struggle in their own dens. [Follow Delhi assembly election result 2015 updates]
Both Nitish and Banerjee welcomed the AAP's victory more because it came against the BJP, or more particularly Narendra Modi, the man who has created a real threat to them in their own backyards. [3 reasons why Delhi election results of 1998 got repeated in 2015]
AAP's victory brings them great satisfaction for known reasons but it is temporary and holds no relevance for their own fight against the BJP in which they are at a disadvantage. [From Modi to Manjhi: Nitish Kumar's enemies are always within]
Let's find out why.
AAP's politics is still a new phenomenon in Indian politics
The AAP's victory is still a unique phenomenon in Indian politics. This victory is not one marked by traditional factors of Indian politics like religion or caste and rather by comparatively new factors like class and performance. It is a politics of an ambitious class and how it is catered to by a leader and his organisation.
Kejriwal connected to the people of Delhi better in the politics of faith
Arvind Kejriwal, in his revised image, did it perfectly to connect to the people of Delhi while outsiders like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah failed in this respect.
The BJP didn't have much plan to beat Kejriwal apart from fielding Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate and targetting him openly over his act of quitting last year.
But Kejriwal's humble apology to the people and the infighting in the BJP worked in his favour. It is just that the AAP grabbed on the Congress's vote-share better than the BJP.
Bihar & Bengal politics is not the same like Delhi
But the situation is not the same in states like Bihar and Bengal. In Bihar, class politics matters but what matters more is mobilisation on socio-economic lines. In Bengal, mobilisation of party lines matters the most and Banerjee's open minority appeasement has also created a majoritarian counter-reaction in the politics of her state.
Do leaders like Nitish Kumar & Mamata Banerjee themselves are receptive towards the politics of faith?
Hence, although both of these populist leaders are elated over Kejriwal's win, the fact is that neither Nitish Kumar nor Mamata Banerjee have ever allowed any space to the politics of performance in their respective states.
Nitish Kumars and Mamatas have only practised the Congress style of politics and now they are actually reacting to the Congress's decimation
They have acted like traditionalists on the lines of the Congress and they have conveniently overlooked the fact that more than the BJP, it is the Congress which has lost its identity in the national capital, which is a historical first.
The BJP's vote-share is almost identical to the 2013 election but since the AAP grabbed a massive chunk of the Congress's vote-share, the difference became too much between the AAP and BJP.
Banerjee herself was wary about AAP's rise in Bengal in 2014 LS poll
In Bihar and Bengal, both the ruling parties are facing a serious anti-incumbency mood and the BJP has the biggest chance to gain from that. There is almost no third force now to capitalise on the failure of the JD(U) and TMC governments in these two eastern states.
Just a false pride
Both Kumar and Banerjee perhaps know this fact very well. And before the next assembly elections in their states that will be nothing sort of prestige battle with the BJP, the AAP's victory has given them a false pride, even making them believe that the country's politics has started to see a change.
Politics is never an ideology but only opportunism for both Nitish and Mamata and the day anti-incumbency catches up with them, the feel-good factor will evaporate
There is not much change really on the grounds for given the non-stop goof-ups by Nitish and Banerjee in their own state in a bid to contain the BJP, Modi and Shah will not have to face a Delhi-like challenge in these two states.
Both Kumar and Banerjee are frustrated because their dreams of becoming the prime minister were thwarted by Modi last year and they are now facing the threat even in their comfort zones. So they were looking for a positive change somewhere. The change has come but that suits a different geography.