“Three AKs help Pakistan. AK-47 is used by terrorists who shed Indian blood…then there is AK Antony, the defence minister who says Indian soldiers were beheaded by persons wearing uniforms of Pakistan army, when the Army said clearly the soldiers were beheaded by Pakistan army men, The third is AK 49 – he has just spawned a party and on his party’s official website he has given away Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan. One of his associates says there should be a referendum in Kashmir. They are speaking Pakistan’s language.” –Narindra Modi
India striving to be a dynamic state initiated the processes of modernization and democracy soon after the partition; however it has remained the peculiar democracy where elite has used the democratic process to remain at the helm of the affairs. The same political process has developed into “caste based politics” at the state level. The surprising assent of the broom wielding anti corruption Aam Aadmi Party has created a major shift in the state politics from the “caste” to the “class” politics. The age old domination of Punjabi, Kahtris, Jaats and Brahmins got challenged and bulldozed by the AAP s Gandhian Ahimsa(non violence) and Satyagarh( truth force) in consequent manifestation of its surprising win at Delhi elections that saw its coalition government for 49 days. To understand AAP and its rise in the Politics of Delhi, one has to understand the demographics of Delhi. Delhi has a predominantly Middle class, a huge number of Muslims living in slums and Poorvanchalis (the migrants from the eastern Uttar Pardesh). These three classes have come to matter in recent times in the voting demographics of Delhi. The AAP’s rise came with the anti corruption drive of Anna Hazzre of which Arvind Kejeriwal was a part before splitting up and raising the AAP. The process of modernization through education has matured in the urbanized Delhi and the mango man was fed up of swinging between Congress and the BJP with the same results. The slogan of Swaraj and the anti corruption drive remains the hallmark of distinctive politics of the AAP. It presented itself as an alternative institution to more predominantly its later coalition partner the Congress. Interestingly the urban middle class, the slum dwellers and the migrants all combined emerged as the Vote bank for AAP that led it to make a government by winning 28 seats in the 70 member assembly; second largest group after the BJP and by making coalition with congress in its 49 days stint at government it had drawn battle lines where BJP got definitely on the opposite side of the line.
AAP after passing the litmus test of Delhi is eyeing to dent the formidable BJP and retreating Congress in 2014 General Elections. It has fielded candidates in 20 states while contesting on all seats of Gujrat and Madhiya Pardesh and Uttar Pardesh. AAP when failing to come up to its rhetoric of anti corruption and good governance promises wisely took the gamble to resign and brace itself for the upcoming elections; and that is where the state of Gujrat , Modi’s fortress of perceived development came into picture. With the public disillusioned with the economic and social policies of the Congress and Modi exonerated of Muslim genocide in Gujrat with a much touted Gujrat Development model, the scene seemed fit for the once again rise of BJP to the echelons of power. AAP has largely remained an urban middleclass party and have accepted so by announcing different election strategies for the urban and rural areas. AAP has emerged as the master of gimmicks of remaining in the headlines. It’s not the appeal of AAP in Gujrat that makes it important but the defiance of Modi towards AAP.
However taking a step back and evaluating the politics of the Gujrat, it is obvious that Gujrat’s political pyramid is still a caste and communal based structure with clear division between castes and communities. Gujrat, which ironically is Gandhi’s Birth place, has remained a manifestation of the extremist Hindu Nationalist opposition to the Gandhian ideas and Narindera Modi an RSS veteran has been its longest serving Chief minister. Modi has also held responsible for the Gujrat roits of 2002 that has once and for all drawn clear lines between Hindu and Muslim communities.
For the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Modi has chosen the slogan of Hinduvata and development combined a sort of neo – Hindu Nationalism that is attractive to the youth and traditional men alike. AAP had for some time tried to bait Modi to come out open and accept it as the force to reckon. With the AK-49 jab Modi has swallowed the bait. The Ak49 jab is an acceptance speech of Modi that he has decided to take AAP seriously. Due to AAP s strategy of using the anti corruption and development drive as Moodi’s rhetoric , as a change of tactics, Modi has turned towards the anti Pakistan oratory as he did in the past. Modi has almost swept Rahul Gandhi whom he sarcastically call “Shehzadey” under the Carpet and seem poised to enter as a winner in the Lok Sabha but here AAP enters as the show spoiler for Modi. Ironically, in near future, AAp is not a serious threat to Modi and displacing BJP does not seem the immediate aim of Arvind kejariwal either. AAP is still looked upon as an urban party by most of the caste classified Gujrat and Gujrat is still very much not Delhi. However, the aim of AAP seems to be replacing the Congress as the main opponent of the BJP in the longer run. As the Prime minister candidate Narindera Modi announced to contest his election in order to give saffron hinduvata the spice of UP s traditional city Varnasi (leaving the Gujrat turf to Advani) with slogan “Har har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi”. The AAP strategists have reciprocated with the announcement of Arwind Kejarival as their contestant for Varnasi with “Revolution in Varnasi: Har Har Arvind, Ghar Ghar Arvind” going viral on the social Media. The contest is not likely see Modi lose but it will surely dethrone him as the undisputed king with AAP’s canny attacks at his “Modinomics”. AAP is likely to break congress and allied parties votes in the contesting states that will ironically help BJP to gain more seats. However, for repeating the Delhi miracle in other states AAP perhaps will have to wait for some other time.