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Mainstream, VOL LII No 1, December 28, 2013 - ANNUAL 2013

Behind AAP’s Bloodless Coup

Sunday 29 December 2013, by Humra Quraishi



If the deadline for filing this column wasn’t coming in the way, this Wednesday afternoon—the day I’m filing this column—I would have been at the AAP office in New Delhi’s Connaught Place. In fact, the last two days I have been in and around there.

On Monday morning I boarded the Metro from Gurgaon to CP, then hopped into an auto to reach the AAP office on Hanuman Road. And as I’d got chatting with the auto driver—believe me, rickshawallahs and auto drivers are the best source of inputs of vital information to those ground realities—I asked him about his reaction to these election results. Stark were his observations, along the strain that it’s time the politicians of the day realise they ought to reach out to the masses; otherwise they’d be booted out of power and out of those bungalows or big-bodied cars or those security frills that absolute power drags along. He went on to tell me that what had brought about the immediate connect with the AAP leaders was this basic factor—they wouldn’t be using lal battis, nor occupying big offices/bungalows, and also that they would be moving around sans security. This auto driver also told me that he, together with people of his mohalla and the adjoining bastis, voted for AAP and his overwhelming enthu-siasm for this party can be judged from this gesture—when he asked me the purpose of my going to the AAP office, I told him that I planned to interview Arvind Kejriwal. Hearing this he swayed his neck and declined to take the fare ...until I forced him to take the fare.

In fact, on Tuesday afternoon I’d again tried to interview Kejriwal but couldn’t; he was at Ghaziabad and in the midst of several meetings. Not one to give up, soon after filing this column I’d be back, trying my best to get the interview. Without intending to sound filmi, though two entire days have gone aap ke naam but I’m not sitting upset, for I realise the significance of the very movement, the mood, that enthusiasm they have managed to bring about.

AAP has brought about a bloodless coup.No, none of those bloody violent uprisings witnessed in the Arab world but a revolution alright. AAP has been successful in provoking the masses to throw out the arrogant politician and place one from the masses on that hot seat.

Though two factors still stand in a haze of sorts. Will AAP be successful in taking on the communally-tainted politicians? And with that I am more than hinting at Narendra Modi and his associates. Will Kejriwal be successful in defeating Modi and with that sabotage the divisive politics of the Sangh Parivar? And the other factor is this—will they be successful in fulfilling those promises, along the format of cheaper bijli, paani-cum-free-flowing foodgrains? Not to overlook the fact that the political hawks in the BJP and the Congress will stand in the way. Frustrated and bitter, they would be determined to defeat any of those good gover-nance moves or measures put forth by AAP.

The battle has been won but what lies ahead seems a difficult phase, compounded with uncer-tainty. As of today—Wednesday afternoon—the political chaos has reached a level where nobody seems in a mood to govern New Delhi!

And with political parties gearing up for the upcoming general election, the 2014 spring ought not witness any of those bloody scenes. Worry writ large, as till date the BJP and Congress have not been able to accept the rise of AAP. They have not yet recovered from the shock that AAP’s triumph has brought along and this when AAP had no muscle or money power. In fact, this aspect gets writ large at their office level—there is nothing frilly about AAP’s office; manned by well-mannered, polite volunteers who seem to be there for a purpose—to try and reach out in that earnest way. That’s the crux of AAP‘s success. It has managed to connect you and me.

Will write more on this if I am successful in meeting Arvind Kejriwal or Yogendra Yadav.

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