On Punjab high, AAP begins raising cadre


Photo Credit Twitter Arvind Kejriwal

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By S Jha

New Delhi, June 10: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) now fancies Opposition void for rapid growth in the national politics. The sweeping Punjab victory makes the AAP believe that the party can quickly fill the Opposition void to find space in the national politics by the time the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are held.

The AAP appears clear that the party just needs to step in the territory where the Congress is on the fast retreat. While the Bharatiya Janata Party usurped the space of the Congress in the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to register two back to back national election victories, the AAP fancies that the natural space for the Opposition is large enough for them build a case for the Arvind Kejriwal-led political outfit.

In the recently held Punjab Assembly elections, the AAP swept the mandate after one failed attempt to seize the popular anger against the established political parties in the state.

But the electoral outcome in the Punjab elections showed that the AAP gained solely at the expense of the Congress while the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal retained their vote share even while they were sent to the margins of the state politics.

“The AAP took away all the votes that the Congress lost in the 2022 state polls. The BJP or the SAD couldn’t gain from the decline in the vote share of the Congress,” said a senior BJP functionary from Punjab.

The Congress leadership is in wilderness. The party is fast losing its state pool of leaders to the rivals. In the absence of the senior leaders at the top connecting with the mass, the state party leaders indeed see a bleak future for themselves. That gives the AAP an opportunity to grow and that too at a rapid pace since the BJP cannot theoretically speaking gain the 100 per cent vote share.

The Rajya Sabha MP of the AAP Sanjay Singh claims that the party’s ‘Shakhas’ will build the cadre. The AAP ‘Shakahs’ will have sessions on nationalism around the tricolor, besides discussions on the national and the local issues. This is a clear replication of the ‘Shakhas’ of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), which over the years has ensured a robust cadre base for the BJP.

Knowing well that the Indian politics doesn’t have a large space for the left of the centre politics, the AAP is seen building the party on the lines of the BJP, being politically correct on the religious issues and embracing the religion card with ease as has been seen with the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ card at the temples in times of polls.

The AAP’s right of the centre politics makes it acceptable to the larger vote base while the party suitably adjusts to the local requirements.

In the Rajya Sabha, the AAP is already the fourth largest political party.

In Delhi, the AAP has demonstrated that it can effectively use the usual tricks, media management and packaging with the pro-people measures for leadership branding, to dominate the political discourse.

The Congress leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi has evidently been tired and fatigued while being unimaginative in their people connect.

Sonia Gandhi, the working president of the Congress, is too busy to keep the flock together, with rebellion in its ranks. While the Congress is being led without a full-fledged party president and its high command not looking beyond the family for the leadership, the youth in the country will be looking for an alternative.

The BJP’s rich haul of the Lok Sabha seats largely come from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, where the saffron outfit faces the Congress as its rival, while it squares off with the regional parties in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and elsewhere.

In the assessment of the AAP leadership, if the party goes on usurping the anti-BJP space in the Congress’ traditional strongholds, there could be a scenario where Arvind Kejriwal could become an Opposition pivot.

Building a cadre for the national political space in the scheme of things of the AAP is the first step.

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