Hard work pays and it pays really well. Narendra Modi is, as expected, the new hero of the country, thanks to the outstanding mandate received by the BJP and its allies. Another result which was quite apparent was the performance of the newest party on the block - Aam Aadmi Party.
Out of some 434 candidates for the Lok Sabha, four seats in its début General Elections is not a bad beginning for the inexperienced AAP. However, not winning a single seat in Delhi has disappointed the party. The party had clinched 28 Assembly seats in Delhi last year and went on to form the government with outside support from the Congress. However, AAP`s chief Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Delhi Chief Minister just after 49 days, which earned him the tag of “bhagoda”. After much hullabaloo about where he will reside to his activism on roads during his short and not-so-sweet tenure, the then Delhi CM managed to earn nothing but disrepute.
However, despite what has been stated, it will not be right to discard AAP`s phenomenal rise in the Indian politics and its significance.
The BJP won all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital, but AAP still managed to retain the Number 2 spot and push Congress at third spot with a good vote margin.
In Delhi, AAP continued to eat into the votebank of Congress and made the party leaders bite the dust. Law and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, who had won twice from Chandni Chowk, ended up in the third position. Same was the result for other Congress leaders such as Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit (the son of former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit), Krishna Tirath, Ramesh Kumar and Jai Parkash Agarwal.
AAP, which competed with the likes of the well-established Congress and BJP, could not tackle the Modi wave anywhere else across the country, but managed to make inroads in Punjab by winning four seats. Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib helped Kejriwal save his face.
In Uttar Pradesh, Kejriwal`s hope to defeat Modi in Varanasi dashed badly, yet he was 1,33,624 votes ahead from Congress` Ajay Rai.
The party`s strategy to choose high-profile seats to contest from helped it get media`s full-fledged attention. Whether opting to contest against Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit or BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Kejriwal knows how to draw attention of the public. The AAP fielded a poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi. This pushed the BJP to field Modi`s aide Smriti Irani from the high-profile constituency. Vishwas, however, failed to do any wonders despite months’ long campaigning. He had to settle at Number 4 with less than 26,000 votes.
This, however, cannot be denied that the tactics used by AAP during polls were trend-setters. Whether it is wearing caps or conducting small street-corner meetings, the BJP and Congress activists were seen imitating that. When AAP started reaching out to the youth of the country using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, BJP and Congress copied that too. However, Modi went one step ahead and started posting selfies too, which became famous instantly.
The AAP won just four seats overall, but this cannot be denied that fielding 434 candidates across India and that too when it is contesting for the first time shows that the AAP has succeeded in reaching out to people across the country. It will be premature to write off AAP, just because its first innings in the Lok Sabha elections did not help it earn many seats. The party, which was not even in existence at the time when India went to polls in 2009, now enjoys a relatively widespread Indian presence.
This is not the end of AAP, but a beginning for the party. Their task now is to introspect and again make direct contact with voters, for which they were famed. AAP is known to raise issues which aam Indians suffer from on a regular basis, and it should continue to do that. The role of the AAP cannot be underestimated. Can this be denied that their so-called revolutions against rampant corruption, sham bureaucracy helped the BJP seal the fate of Congress like the way it has done now. The untainted personal records of several top AAP leaders helped the party gain fame among people, who were annoyed with scam-tainted leadership. The party`s presence, even though scant, is definitely good news for the Indian democracy.