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AAP Crisis

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A debate may rage over news channels and social media on the technicalities of the Delhi Liquor Policy that has Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia facing CBI scrutiny but, eventually, it is the courts that will rule on the alleged corruption. All the politics and drama will have no role to play and it is exactly the technicalities that will matter. From this point of view, Sisodia and his cohorts can only hope that the case will drag on for a long time, typical of the Indian judicial system, providing them an opportunity to strengthen their political base and even be in a position to influence the CBI.

The politics underway in the matter, meanwhile, is interesting and quite entertaining. What message is Sisodia sending out by claiming that the BJP offered him money, the Chief Minister’s post and the incentive to withdraw the CBI investigation if he split the AAP with the necessary number of MLAs? Is he obliquely warning AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal to stick by him in the present crisis instead of scoring brownie points by sacking his deputy? And is the Kejriwal statement that Sisodia deserves the Bharat Ratna a reassuring response to that threat? AAP is trying to make political capital out of the alleged targeting of Sisodia in Gujarat, where assembly elections are due and the party is hoping to make inroads.

Sisodia is being projected as the “world’s best education minister” (another one of his portfolios) on the basis of an article published by an Indian writer in the “world’s most powerful country’s most influential newspaper”. Does that imply that AAP is intending next to participate in US politics, or has it forgotten that its voters are in India? In more serious vein, the party intends to occupy space being ceded by the Congress, against whom it has had its successes – in Delhi and Punjab. Essentially, it is helping the BJP in its ‘Congress Mukta Bharat’ agenda.

What lessons has AAP learned from its absolute rejection in Uttarakhand when pitting itself against a ruling BJP government? Will it be able to perform better in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat? Or will it just play the role of ‘vote katwa’ for the Congress, particularly as it has lost its sheen of being a pro-people and principled party after the succession of scams erupting in Delhi? Having depended so much and for quite long on a projected image, the coming contests will reveal how much of a grasp the party has of ground reality.