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What AAP phenomenon means for Indian politics

New Delhi Now that we are done falling over each other to congratulate the Aam Aadmi Party and showering them with largely-deserved laurels, we can perhaps spend some time to analyse what the AAP phenomenon means for politics in India.

That this was a stunning debut cannot be denied, but it's not unique in the Indian political context. NT Rama Rao and his Telegu Desam had a far more impressive debut winning a massive majority in his first attempt and VP Singh fought a national campaign as "Mr Clean", promising to clean up the system if brought to power.

VP Singh came a cropper almost as soon as he started and the Telegu Desam remained confined to Andhra Pradesh in spite of its short-lived ambition to transform Telegu Desam into Bharat Desam.

That having been said, the AAP phenomenon is forcing political parties to make adjustments.

The BJP is making no attempt to form a government in Delhi, even risking a fresh election in a few months and this can be put down to AAP. The BJP can't afford to appear to be power-hungry in the face of AAP being seen to be running away from power.

Political parties, if faced with an AAP alternative, will be more careful about the kinds of candidates they put up. AAP has shown that it can be a credible alternative cutting across social and economic strata. AAP's use of social media and more transparent fund collection methods will also force a rethink regarding traditional methods.

The true test of AAP however will be how they govern should they win an election. They can't play the role of opposition forever. For parties like mine, we need to realise we can't morph ourselves into AAP, our DNA is too different for us to transform so dramatically.

Builders will tell you that it's easier to build a new building than it is to renovate an old structure. The same is true for political parties. So while we can learn from how the AAP functions, becoming another AAP won't work for us.

Source: NDTV

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