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Column: Why the BJP loves AAP

Dec 11 2013, 10:08 IST
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SummaryHeadline May 2014: AAP and Congress split the vote and Bharatiya Janata Party obtains a majority.

For a long time, or at least since Ms Sonia Gandhi started on her experiments with populist socialism, many of us had suspected that the 2014 Lok Sabha election would herald a new and different world order. And the December 8 state poll results have transformed that forecast into a welcome and impending reality. A brand new 1-year-old baby called AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), too young to be called David, has felled an ageing and fading Congress in Delhi. And with a little help from their Prime Minister nominee, Mr Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dispatched the same ageing, fading and toothless Congress into the record books in two additional states.

Unlike just a few days ago, the glitterati speculation is that all dreams (and nightmares) will become reality. That the 2014 election will be a two person Presidential contest between Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. That the Aam Aadmi Party will soon spread to the far corners of India and make the Indian spring happen. By obtaining 28 out of 70 seats in Delhi, and the BJP short of a majority by 4 seats in a 70-member parliament, the AAP is riding on hope for the future.

So are a lot of AAP supporters and the concerned middle class. But before we all get carried away, time to assess AAP as a mature adult rather than a new born baby, albeit a cute one. They have earned the respect and admiration of all. So time now to ask the basic question: if the AAP were an important player in governance, what else will they do besides supporting motherhood and being against corruption? Their views on economic policies provide a clue.

Economic policy according to AAP/Kejriwal should be as follows (obtained from interviews, manifestos, etc). “GDP growth should be directly related to the lives of the people, but such growth affects very few people … AAP opposes privatisation, wants government into oil extraction (and much else), recommends an increase in effective taxes on the middle class and supports increases in fuel and electricity subsidies. AAP would take measures to ensure basic facilities; e.g. electricity expense reduction of 50% and 700 litres of free water. Further, AAP believes in government provision of high quality education and health, regulation of fees of private schools, implementation of minimum wages etc.”

The AAP may signal the birth of honest politics (I believe it does) but

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