Flip-Flop, U-turn, Volte-face are some of the terms which might come handy when talking about the latest turn in Delhi’s political magnum opus. The fiefdom that ended about a fortnight back with gay abandon and subsequently turned into a college-ishtyle gimmickry has now come to roost and pundits are gaga about what it means for the “revolutionary” party and the absolute tectonic shift their stupendous start-up has cast on the incorrigibly murky world of bad bad politics. Adjectives have a way of getting in-line for their free lunches these days, so often are they employed in and outside their comfort zones. No doubt, the recent elections have thrown up a wild-card entrant into the centre-fold of national politics, granted this activist has an impressive and inspiring track record of serving the public at large, understood the stronghold has been fractured by a naive political party and thumbs up to the fact that the discerning public now has more to choose from than a dynastic and an ideological party. We have been there before. Junta Party sowed the seeds and the inherent charisma of an alternative a long while back. Then when the country responded to the first after-independence Emergency with a resounding thump. This time around, corruption reared its ugly tail time and again in the central and regional sphere, ballooned to proportions that begged attention and accelerated the growth of this black sheep amongst the aam aadmi.
It’s important though to know that people and party change with time. As much is evident by the volte-face that AAP demonstrated post a verdict that left the fate of Delhi hanging on thin threads. Politics is an arena of improvisation as much as it is for opportunism. The direction that a party can take, especially when it has been in existence for merely a blip in the modern history of India, is tantamount to evolve. The constitution of the party itself will regroup and reform multiple times. In front of adversaries that have been in existence for so long that politics in India is unthinkable without them (unless we include the durbar of our erstwhile rulers), this one is a toddler, an infant, a tiny ant if you may. Even the myriad regional parties are heavyweights, some literally so. I can imagine them, sitting back and observing – as a trained driver does when made to sit and observe an amateur. This decision, to take the plunge and shoulder the burden of expectation is a courageous one. Yet, it goes against what the party has professed and its leader has let known. Yes, there would be multiple shares of a dated twitter-stamp with a resounding “no” for any alliance whatsoever by the face of the party. But is this a flip-flopping or is it a measured step towards greater recognition. The establishment will say – yeah, that’s how we started and seeing that this juvenile has picked up the trick we have now mastered so fast, we will see where they will be ten years down the line. The talks of “a party with a difference” (yeah, it was once used for a party once and look where it is now), would dissolve into party, another one at that. Power corrupts. The beginning has been inspiring, the decision lurking with land-mines, the future holds promises. My worry is, 6 months is too small a time to test this. Riding on the wave of a middle-class urban support, this party will very likely steal away cherished seats in double-digits from one or the other of the grand old party. What was once being heralded as a presidential style election has now transformed into, yet again, a burgeoning democratic process of alliances and coalitions (and most likely horse-trading and maligning). Is that a good thing or bad? I don’t know and neither do you. We cannot until we know how this debutante performs “in the system”. Of the multitudes of memes that are doing the rounds today, celebrating and applauding this new dawn in Indian elections, one that reverberate the most and probably the supporters tout the most is – “First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. Topical and accurate I would not deny that. If I may, an appendage perhaps – “then you win, with them”. Not such a bad thing, if the country wins. But if that will be, it very well remains to be seen.