1. Can Congress expect the intervening one year will help it recover some lost ground expecting the time may abate the feeling of anger against the Congress led previous union government?

2. Would the party be able to draw mileage from ‘AAP breaching the trust of Delhi voters by deserting the Delhi government in just 49 days’ to increase its tally?

3. Even if the seven months of Narendra Modi led NDA government have performed exceedingly well on the foreign policy front, the government has nothing much to talk about positive changes back home beyond declaring some major policy changes, policy announcements and structural changes. There is some time before the nation would be able to realize the impact of these changes and thus their scope and scale. Would Congress be able to open a window of opportunity for itself here?

4. Everyone is writing Congress off. Analysts are predicting it to be a Congress Vs AAP contest this time. Can Congress leverage this position of ‘hopelessness’ around it to concentrate on ground work? After all, from a historic low, any gains, especially in Delhi, the national capital of India, would be morally boosting for the party?

5. Congress has chosen Ajay Maken, the senior Congress and former union minister, as its campaign head for the upcoming assembly polls. Would Maken be able to make any difference for Congress? As a minister and as Congress spokesperson and media cell in charge, he failed to leave any impact. The scene of Rahul Gandhi intervening in a press conference being addressed by Maken justifying the government ordinance on convicted lawmakers saying the ordinance was ‘a complete nonsense’ is still fresh in our memories.

6. Ajay Maken and Shiela Dikshit were seen as political rivals in Congress politics. Now, even the staunchest of Sheila Dikshit’s critics feel difficulty in rubbishing the fact that Delhi witnessed significant development under her three terms. Sheila Dikshit has welcomed the Congress move of choosing Maken. Would Maken be able to put aside differences building on the work done by Sheila Dikshit giving her thus the credit?

7. Ajay Maken was appointed on the day the Delhi assembly polls 2015 were announced. Some pre-poll surveys on the same day projected even more fall for the party, from its all time low of 2013 assembly polls. Though Congress won two seats in the Delhi Cantonment Board polls on the day, such small scale electoral exercises can never be the criteria to think about legislative assembly polls. Will Congress, away from making empty rhetoric, be able to take cues from the past year and from such pre-poll projections to fine tune its strategy including its chief-ministerial name and candidates to mount a credible challenge to other parties in the fray?

8. Moreover, will Congress be able to recalibrate its aim based on the reality of prevailing circumstances to concentrate its efforts on maximizing the winning ratio, even if in a modest range, a reality for the Congress of the day?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–


Did you say a wild comparison?

After all, one is a 49-day chief minister of Delhi, India’s National Capital Territory, who had to apologize for his ‘act of absconding’. Though he doesn’t accept it morally, the electoral and political compulsions after his ‘political martyrdom’ efforts tanked down in the Lok Sabha polls forced him to own the disaster his decision to vacate the Delhi CM’s office in order to look for greener pastures had become. He was forced to accept the ‘deserter’ tag in his own toned-down version.

And the other is the successful (though debatable on who sees what) President of the United States of America, the world’s only superpower (still). The world’s most powerful political person is in the second term of his Presidential office.

Professionally, Arvind Kejriwal began as engineer and graduated to become a finance professional working for the Government of India. Barack Obama is a Harvard educated lawyer.

So, where is the ground for comparison?

It is there, thanks to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and thanks to the Delhi electorate!

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First, it was an unexpected high. Then it was an unexpected low.

The unexpected high was for everyone, including the direct beneficiary. In fact, it came as a pleasant surprise for those who wished to see it happen but had not expected it to happen this way given the circumstances then.

The unexpected low was expected by everyone, (but) except the direct beneficiary, who could not read it or did not want to read it then and had a self-made spectacular fall – from grace, from the position of standing – that came to him because of the growing public frustration and disenchantment with the mainstream political lot.

That is the story of the newest political debutant on the mainstream political scene of India – the Aam Aadmi Party – and of Arvind Kejriwal – and of those who began their political journey with it – and of those who joined it later on, especially after the unexpected high of December 2013 – and those who left it or felt disenchanted enough to walk out of the half-baked activism and politics concoction – after the ‘expected’ unexpected low of May 2014.

Six months – from December 2013 to May (16) 2014 – sum up the what AAP has been so far and what it needs to do – to resurrect – or to decline even further to go to the final political oblivion.

As of now, it has absolute negatives in its score card –

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En-route, the nondescript, discoloured and stained wall caught attention. Now, Mr. Kejriwal on Delhi walls was no more an eye-catcher, yet this one made me stop by it, read it, and click it on my cellphone camera.

It was 49 Vs 49.

Now, 49 is a number of mixed emotions for Mr. Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party.

While they believe and intends us to believe in the sanctity of it being a momentous figure and a telling example of the politics of principles of AAP that pushed him to resign from the Delhi Chief Minister’s office just after 49 days of forming the government (with Congress support) on the pretext of ‘being not allowed to pass the Lokpal Bill of his government’. He blamed the BJP and the Congress party of betraying the people of Delhi.

But, electorally, it proved counterproductive, and humbled him (or forced him) to accept it was a wrong move. He even apologized (or had to) for it.

Though AAP had increased vote share in Delhi, it could not win any Lok Sabha seat here and across the country, almost of its candidates lost their deposits. It was an epic fall after the unprecedented high of December 2013 when AAP had registered a stunning debut in Indian politics.

And, the apology was more to appease the electorate of Delhi in the aftermath of the Lok Sabha polls rout and in the context of the possible Delhi Assembly elections ahead than being an honest and sensible introspection.

This poster and the Kejriwal style of politics so far, on reforming his party and on refocusing on Delhi, tell us nothing has changed.

Kejriwal Survey

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