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Grown-up now


The Aam Aadmi Party has landed in the thick of the complexities and contradictions that political parties in India have to face on a regular basis. The conduct of politics is always a ‘yaksha prashna’ waiting to be answered. To begin with, the party has been dealt a tricky hand by the voters. A few seats more, it could have bid to form the government; three or four seats less, it could have smoothly eased itself into the the opposition benches from where it could have continued to thrive on the back of people’s dissatisfaction. Instead, it is hanging Trishanku like with no solution in sight. Further pain is being inflicted by the allegations against a party MLA of having molested a woman, posing the question – how does an upright party deal with it?
Although the leaders of the party are divided on the issue, a bold face is being presented on the question of government formation in Delhi. It is pure mischief on the part of the BJP to demand AAP take over the reins of power, even though it is the party with the largest number of MLAs. It can afford to do so because its foundations are stronger. AAP and its cadre remain untested in the face of temptation and it takes little for the voters to change their minds. Although it is difficult for a sufficient number of AAP MLAs to split and support the BJP at the present, a couple of months down the line, conditions might change. Betrayal often comes for the most honourable of reasons.
If, both the parties, particularly the BJP, fail to form the government, people might well decide that they are incapable of doing so. One of the strongest arguments Congress has always presented is that it is the only party capable of ruling. If the situation develops to the point that elections are held again, the Congress cannot do worse than its present eight seats. It is bound to recover, particularly if it makes a better choice of candidates. Perhaps, the BJP is counting on the AAP base disintegrating in this grey world of incertitude. It is easy to have a clear moral stance on black and white issues, but the pursuit of Dharma requires greater subtlety.
The BJP is refusing to fall into Prashant Bhushan’s trap suggesting formation of a minority government. It would be an excellent situation requiring politicians of different hues to work together for the greater good of the public, but other AAP leaders are not willing to give a guarantee on this. It would under any circumstances be a difficult task and only one that a brave and confident leader would take up.
AAP must understand that the big parties want people to consider them the only alternatives. If the AAP ‘experiment’ fails because enough people get disillusioned by what has resulted, the party could be reduced to possibly half of what it is at present. It is a gamble to either bank on possible increased support from the people, or to go ahead and form a (very) short-lived but ‘model’ government. In the latter case, it could ask the people to punish the BJP for opportunism, as it did the Congress. The Lt Governor will play the Union Government’s game and try and prolong AAP’s misery by allowing the situation to drift into a suspended assembly. Politics will then go behind the scenes, even as AAP will be left with nothing to oppose and nobody to blame but itself.