The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has shifted its strategy from engaging in confrontational politics to focusing on governance in Delhi. According to party sources, the AAP has realised that confrontational politics led to electoral losses in Delhi MCD and Punjab elections.
A senior party functionary told this correspondent, “The AAP was engaging in confrontational politics due to its larger national ambition, but we received a thrashing in the subsequent elections we contested both in Delhi and elsewhere and this made the party go for a course correction. Arvind Kejriwal (National Convenor of AAP and Chief Minister of Delhi) was also being misguided by the coterie that had little experience in politics.” “The party is now being guided by a new team that has made Arvind Kejriwal and his associates realise that governance in Delhi is of prime importance and winning over the electorate was only possible through good and effective governance—that is what the party is focusing on now,” the party functionary added.
Party strategists who spoke to The Sunday Guardian said that they had deviated from the “alternative form of politics” on the basis of which they had secured the trust of the people.
“In the last one year, we, like the Congress, had entered into a mode of making allegations and launching attacks on leaders, rather than focus on work. This diluted our image. We are working to change this perception,” a party functionary said.
In the past, the AAP regularly organised press conferences that launched direct attacks on the Prime Minister and the Centre. The party was also involved in a constant tussle with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, as well as the MCDs. All this has come down and it is believed to be part of course correction measures the party has adopted following its debacle in the Delhi MCD elections.
Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, political scientist and former AAP member, told The Sunday Guardian: “There clearly seems to be a shift in strategy of the AAP. They have come out of the comedy and treachery they resorted to for reasons best known to them. They have realised their mistakes and are now indulging in serious business.”
Some AAP members also feel that the alleged “arrogance” of some AAP leaders made it difficult for them to connect with grassroots volunteers and the electorate at large. Many also believe that Arvind Kejriwal had chosen his close friends as his advisors, rather than give space to people who understood politics and governance. M.P Singh, a political scientist and professor from Delhi University, told The Sunday Guardian, “The confrontational politics of the AAP for political gain did not go down well with the people and the public perception of the AAP had taken a major hit in the past two years.”
However, the party seems to have realised its mistake. Now, the party is going back to behaving the way it did during its 49-day first stint, which is focusing on governance and making Delhi a model state.”
Singh added, “Kejriwal seems to have realised his mistakes, and is now focusing on what the people of Delhi had elected him for.”