ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Will AAP Deliver Anything Fundamentally Different?

Beyond Rhetoric

In the run-up to the Delhi elections in February 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party turned out to be a haven for all those who were looking for alternative politics even as large sections of the impoverished joined it. In government, the party now faces the crucial test of implementing its promises.

It seemed like an upheaval in the making. Early this year, talking to autorickshaw drivers, domestic helps and others would inevitably lead to conversations about the Delhi assembly elections that were to be held in February 2015. It was a charged atmosphere and the result was unusual and unexpected. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged riding on the aspirations of the common people. Whether it becomes a national phenomenon or not or whether it survives even as a regional force is not my concern in this article. The fact that it improved its electoral performance in 2015 as against 2014 merits attention. What is interesting is that it became a “hope” for the disenchanted left and liberal forces that had either left the party folds or were still looking for an alternative that their parties were not able to provide. This was visible on the social network sites as well as in everyday conversations. It became amply clear when the combined left supported AAP in the constituencies where they were not contesting (Times of India 2015a; Indian Express 2015).

On the other hand, the vast mass of the impoverished population–street hawkers, construction workers, domestic helps, autorickshaw drivers, etc, pinned their hopes on it. It would be worthless to simply look at the significance of this political force as David slaying Goliath. Rather the need is to understand the balance of class forces in context of this new emergence and ask questions like what kind of political ideology does it represent or what is the class basis of its politics?

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