24 November, 2020

In Delhi's Power Arithmetic How Arvind Kejriwal's Solved The Complex Equations

Once branded as anarchists, the Aam Aadmi Party has learnt to survive in the political minefield by being mindful of what the grassroots seek from the people they vote for

Kejriwal makes an appeal for Lokpal Bill in 2012, as Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, Anna Hazare and Manish Sisodia look on
Photograph by Getty Images
In Delhi's Power Arithmetic How Arvind Kejriwal's Solved The Complex Equations

On November 24, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will complete seven years of turbulent political existence. In a political landscape that has a 134-year-old Congress staring at an existential crisis and a BJP celebrating its near total dominance over the Union, it may seem a trifle unfair to assess AAP’s brief history.

But then, AAP’s trajectory as a party and Kejriwal as its leader from that winter day of 2012 when they emerged out of Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal movement, promising an alt­ernative politics that would cleanse the system, is fascinating.

AAP was branded by many as an anarchist outfit with little future. Within a year, it made a surprise electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi assembly polls, winning 28 seats. Within 49 days, Kejriwal sacrificed the hard-earned victory; only to return to power in early 2015 with a clean sweep (67 out of 70 seats). Now, a month away from seeking a renewed mandate, do AAP and Kejriwal retain their aura of being harbingers of an “alternative politics”?

The jury is still out,...



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