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The AAP-Congress conundrum: What it means for the parties in Delhi

The AAP represents the same brand of minority appeasement and anti-Hindu politics that passes off as secularism in liberal circles. Therefore, an alliance with Congress is natural.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

The Aam Aadmi Party, for a while now, has been begging the Congress for an alliance. Congress, on the other hand, has been jittery about the entire prospect. Senior leaders in Delhi Congress, like former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, have clearly voiced their concerns against the proposed alliance.

However, there appears to be a significant section of other voices within the party who are pursuing it with the top leadership of the Congress actively.

For the Congress party, in the long run, the alliance would prove to be disastrous although, in the short term, the alliance is likely to accrue some benefits. That the Congress party is even considering the alliance, which would further constrict their national presence, is another evidence of the party’s terminal decline.

As we have said before, regional parties are actively trying to undermine Congress’ national presence. Only recently, Kumaraswamy had said that a senior leader from the JD(S) had joined the BSP with his consent so that the latter could win more seats in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP is not in alliance with the Congress party and SP and BSP in Uttar Pradesh have marginalized the Congress in a state which for a long time was a Congress bastion.

The conditions of the alliance between the AAP and Congress aren’t very clear yet and perhaps, will not be until the matter is formalized. The alliance could be limited to Delhi but Kejriwal is known to be cunning and will push for an alliance in Haryana and Punjab as well where the AAP could only gain from the alliance should it happen. For the purpose of simplicity, we would focus on Delhi only in this analysis.

What Could Go Wrong for the Alliance

Quite obviously, the formation of an alliance would lead to the consolidation of anti-BJP votes. Assuming that vote transfer for the candidates would work smoothly, the alliance might even exceed expectations and secure 5 or 6 seats in Delhi. However, there are several contradictions within the alliance itself.

Firstly, the Aam Aadmi Party is a product of the dark days of Corruption under the UPA regime. Therefore, their supporters may not be as excited about the prospect of an alliance with the Congress as their leaders appear to be. While Congress supporters are unlikely to care either way and will likely vote for the alliance without any hesitation, the same can’t be said about AAP supporters. The extent to which the people of Delhi feel betrayed by AAP’s abandonment of all founding principles and allying with the Congress will determine the success of the alliance.

Secondly, the Congress party is clearly a house divided on the issue. An alliance with the AAP will mean that certain Congress leaders will not receive the Lok Sabha ticket which they otherwise could have. Moreover, Sheila Dikshit, one of the most prominent faces of the Congress in Delhi, is clearly not buying whatever AAP is selling. Therefore, there is a very real chance that the Congress will suffer a rebellion if the alliance does go through. And the rebellion could seriously hurt the alliance’s electoral prospects.

Future of the Alliance

In many ways, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are natural allies in the same manner as Shiv Sena and the BJP are natural allies. While the latter pair are united by a single core ideology, Hindutva, the former pair are united by the utter lack of one and solely the pursuit of power. The AAP harboured great national ambitions before it got restricted to Delhi. Ideologically, there is no difference between Congress and AAP. The AAP represents the same brand of minority appeasement and anti-Hindu politics that passes off as secularism in liberal circles. Therefore, an alliance is extremely natural.

That being said, if there’s an alliance between the two parties for the 2020 Assembly Elections, the Congress will definitely increase its tally which isn’t saying much as they don’t have any representatives in the Assembly to begin with. However, chances are extremely high that there will be a rebellion, within the Congress at least, if such an alliance does materialize as Kejriwal is extremely unlikely to relinquish the Chief Minister’s chair.

The overall picture appears to suggest that Congress is likely to suffer in the long run while the AAP is almost certain to gain. But what happens afterwards depends on the results of the 2019 General Elections itself. If the alliance is successful, then the Congress may be very much eager to tie up with AAP for the Assembly elections as well.

The biggest takeaway, however, is the fact that a party that dominated Delhi for such a long time may be restricted to becoming the junior partner in an alliance with a party that was formed to resist them. If that is not indication enough of a party in a state of terminal decline, then nothing else is.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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