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Delhi Dilemma


The eagerness of the Aam Aadmi Party to forge an alliance with the Congress in Delhi (and elsewhere, if possible) is indicative of the understanding that it lacks the support to take on the BJP. The big concern is, as has always been the case with the self-proclaimed ‘secular’ parties, that the ‘Muslim’ vote would get divided. And, if the Muslims were to decide that the Congress was the better bet in the national context, the AAP would basically be annihilated. As such, an alliance is a desperate attempt to survive as a political entity in what remains its only bastion. In fact, going by the current mood, even an alliance would find it hard get past the finishing post in Delhi.
It is, thus, for the Congress to decide if it wishes to give AAP a fresh lease of life beyond the hastening expiry date. It might win a couple of seats as a result, but is it worth allowing AAP to challenge it in future contests? By going it alone, it could possibly regain the space it lost to AAP, with which it shares much of its voter base. If for some reason, the BJP does not get the expected support, it is very likely the Congress that will benefit. Even in the case of a tie-up, there is no guarantee of votes being transferred, particularly of the Congress, which in many cases are more inimical towards AAP than the BJP.
So, why would Congress be willing to compromise? Some believe that another Modi tenure could lead to a number of criminal and civil cases reaching culmination against the party’s first family and several others. Any hope of diluting these cases can only emerge from some kind of a non-BJP government that would last the period needed to change the conditions in the corridors of power. As such, a long term political strategy could become an unsustainable gamble. It is not surprising that the two lobbies within the Delhi Congress comprise leaders that support these alternative views.
A tie-up (or its absence) would indicate which way the wind blows and what the priorities are for the party’s top leadership. The personal concerns cannot be expressed openly and it is the close aides that are maneuvering to keep the party’s ‘josh’ directed the preferred way. Delhi’s voters are pretty well informed and should be able to read between the lines when it comes to understanding the compulsions behind such political decisions.