It’s cold here – which is 7.8C. That’s 46F to us Americans. And tending to Absolute Zero for the Congress in four states, especially Delhi. It’s the winter of our discontent for Indians and they are expressing it in their votes. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) almost got a majority in Delhi, and could get one if there is another poll, which latter is likely. It is being called a win for Truth and Integrity. It is certainly a win for the People with a “capital” P.
But beware! This was the first battle in what is going to be a long drawn-out war. And now that the Congress is on the back foot, the fangs will really come out. There are too many vested and entrenched interests that will not allow transparency to expose the massive corruption that is part of the very fabric of the nation and especially of Delhi – its capital.
AAP workers and leaders have been beaten and ostensibly even murdered – quite recently too. Although it is unlikely that this will be repeated now that they are so much in the limelight and have become the darlings of the people, it is possible that many other underhand techniques in the arsenal of the corrupt will be unsheathed, and soon. Buying votes, intimidation of voters and party workers, pressure on bureaucrats by the powerful and many more such threats are to be expected.
So, the AAP, and especially its supporters, should not rest on their laurels, but gear up and roll up their sleeves for the real hard work ahead. Delhi is one of the smallest (but perhaps most iconic) of the State Assemblies and a win here (an almost win actually), though significant, is a drop in the ocean.
But the AAP may themselves undermine their success. Their excessively populist and anti-business stance may scare many business interests into investing support for the other beneficiary of the anti-Congress zeitgeist – the BJP.
And of course there is the BJP – the big dog in the fray. Compared to them, the AAP is puny and may be steamrollered by their national machine. But more on the BJP later.