Column: AAP ki Tea Party

Dec 21 2013, 00:06 IST
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SummaryFrom their batting average to their political strategy and support base, both AAP and Tea Party are similar

The search is over. Ever since the conservative, doctrinaire, adamant, self-righteous, right-wing political movement called the Tea Party (TP) was formed in the US in time for the Congressional elections in November 2010, analysts and political junkies have searched far and wide to find its left-wing clone. And India has found it in its own backyard. There is a grand equivalence between the two and thus if you want to forecast what the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will do, for which we have no history, we can look at the Tea Party successes and failures to gauge the future. This is admittedly a counter-factual analysis, but it is the need of the hour.

The counter-factual works because the two parties are near identical in most important respects. To begin with, their entry into politics. It was the same year, 2010, with the Tea Party several months earlier. (Legitimate query—how much of tactical politics did the AAP actively and consciously copy from TP?)

The record of the TP is as follows: In their debut, the November 2010 elections, it won 5 out of 10 Senate seats contested and 40 out of 130 Congressional seats. Batting average—40%. The AAP party won 28 out of 70 seats—batting average identical, at 40%! Data for the 2012 election are murky in terms of definition as to who was a Tea Party candidate. Broad consensus is that the TP fared worse than 2010. It is believed to have won 4/16 Senate seats and about 15-20% less seats in the House. Batting percentage—a lower 25%. This is a decline of 15 percentage points from their initial 2010 performance. If symmetry and parallels were to hold, then AAP should win 25% in a re-poll of Delhi Assembly, or 18 seats.

How twin-like are the two

parties? Very!

n The Tea Party claims that it represents the voice of the true owners

of the United States—We the people. AAP has stated repeatedly that they represent the common man, the true owners

of India—Hum hain

aam aadmi.

n The core belief of the TP is in decentralisation of power; if the TP did not exist, one would have thought that the AAP discovered decentralisation, e.g., the plan to implement Mohalla Sabhas. The obsession with decentralisation is so complete within AAP that soon their supporters will be polled as to whether they believe in the Right to Happiness—and if they say

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