Has the AAP slowed down at a crucial stage?

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Has something gone wrong with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)? With just six days to go for the Delhi assembly polls, are the AAP's prospects looking down, thanks to a series of negative developments that hit it over the past few weeks?

The sting operation over taking donations, the open spar between party's face Arvind Kejriwal and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and the ruckus at a press conference of Kejriwal in Delhi are adequate reasons to rattle a young outfit and the one-year-old AAP is no exception.

But does this mean that the AAP's story has been finished before it even started?

It is too early to arrive at such a conclusion. But these occurrences and the consequences that followed prove certain drawbacks that the party has.

First and foremost, the AAP lacks a flexibility in terms of political agenda. It has been over-dependent on the issue of corruption and the backing of the media from the very beginning for it is mainly an urban outfit. But as the elections neared, the AAP began to find that the realpolitik is not a sugar-coated idealism and was soon it by the reality of a counter sting operation. The critics of the AAP have a nice understanding of this fact and made the party look a soft target.

Unlike Narendra Modi, why is the AAP silent on the Gandhis before the polls?

The second problem is the leadership and organisation of the AAP. The party has a paradox. It claims itself to be a party of the common people but it has just one saleable face, which is Kejriwal himself. A comparison can be drawn between the AAP and the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee in this context.

While one-face parties have an advantage in quicker mobilisation, they also have a disadvantage in organisational weaknesses. The AAP is basically an assembly of people who are disgusted with the status quo, just as the TMC is a team of anti-Left voices. But this is not enough for a strong organisation and the leadership of the AAP, just like that of the TMC, has resorted to a populist style of politics and is likely to use it for compensating its organisational weakness.

For a political party to gain prominence, it is very important that it mobilises the masses but in the post-Anna Hazare period, the anti-corruption crusaders are more busy creating sheets of comparative percentage about who will win how many seats and vote shares in the Delhi assembly elections. This is a negative development for the AAP which looked promising.

But does the AAP have a way out of the corner it has found itself in suddenly? Definitely it has. But can Kejriwal rise to the occasion to take on the bull by its horns? The man caters more to his audience by speaking like a saint most of the time but while dealing with the opponents in the hard and murky world of politics, he hasn't been found to be as dashing.

One wonders why Kejriwal and his party hasn't raked up the Robert Vadra land scam issue that he had used to expose the Congress last year in this crucial phase before the polls? Kejriwal has been attacking the Sheila Dikshit government more but does it help by not taking on the Gandhis if one wants to defeat the Congress in this country?

If the AAP forms the next government in Delhi, it will be a historic moment for not many party has managed to win power just within a year of its formation. But is there a realistic chance? Betting experts have already said that the AAP is too risky and are backing the BJP more.

Kejriwal himself has also been heard saying that he would not quit politics even if the AAP fails to produce a magic. Is he sounding a bit negative? Whatever it is, Kejriwal's team has undoubtedly created a sensation through a meteoric rise in the last one year but is it seasoned enough to pull off a victory?

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