Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is preparing to celebrate three years of its rule on Tuesday. However, this is high time for AAP to meditate, properly weigh its hits and misses of three years and prepare a strategy for the future. More so because soon AAP may find itself engrossed in a two-front survival battle against the Congress and the BJP.
A lot of things have changed for AAP, which came to power promising to bring idealism back into politics in 2015. However, what it knowingly or unknowingly failed to tell people is that idealism and politics are strange bedfellows. They rarely gel together. It was no different in case of AAP.
Much of the idealism promised by AAP has taken a backseat. The party now appears to be firmly driven by realpolitik. A recent example of this was seen during the Rajya Sabha elections when Kejriwal decided to send two “outsiders” to the Upper House, rejecting the claims of some “senior” leaders in the party.
In the last three years, what has visibly changed for the party is Kejriwal himself. Gone are the frequent Twitter rants, video feeds targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi that used to happen almost daily. Gone is the “idealist” politician, who once resigned in the first term, hoping to catapult himself onto the national stage.
Kejriwal has gone calm but calculative after several controversies and defeats of AAP in MCD and assembly elections last year. But the habitual protestor in him is not dead as he keeps making news at regular intervals.
The road ahead for AAP is not going to be easy. In Delhi itself, the party is facing the prospects of mini-assembly elections before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. AAP stands the chance of getting sandwiched between dominant BJP and resurgent Congress.
The mini-elections for 20 assembly seats are expected to be announced soon in the wake of disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs by the Election Commission in connection with the office of profit case against them.
The polls would be the test for AAP and Kejriwal’s popularity which dipped considerably after BJP managed to win all three municipal bodies of Delhi last year.
For the expected polls in Delhi, the Congress is also planning hard to increase Kejriwal’s troubles, even as his party is seen toeing the line of the Grand Old Party in the Rajya Sabha.
Former three-time Delhi CM Shiela Dikshit is set to join Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken to take on Kejriwal in the capital. An announcement in this regard will likely be made on Wednesday – the day AAP will celebrate three years of its government.