The emergence of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) as a viable alternative in the urban political culture of Delhi after the electoral results are out, is akin to nothing short of a small budget documentary film winning an Oscar. The author, director and narrator of the script are the indomitable Arvind Kejriwal & Co, who trounced the erst while Delhi Chief Minister by a big margin. The party that metamorphosed from the India Against Corruption aka Jan Lok Pal Movement. This break out victory gives AAP the energy to rise above the circumstantial moral authority of the saint from Ralegaon Siddhi- Anna Hazare and the NGO-esque mold. It gives the middle class leadership of AAP the critical to expand to a role to fill in the vacuum of being a proper urban political platform for India. Normal people, next door neighbour type of personalities being elected to assembly is a brilliant thing for representative democracy. AAP is a political start up from Delhi that has potential for a scale across urban centres. The biggest fall out, will the re-energising of the urban youth to take interest in participatory democracy. As I read somewhere on Facebook- ‘Greater Kailash gives lessons in Democracy 101 to South Bombay’ captures the energy of the moment. The push to move beyond social media platforms to actually working on the ground is a monumental game changer.
There are more political start ups that are reshaping the terrain of Indian Democracy. The Peace Party, The Welfare Party and AUDF are contesting for the taken for granted Muslim Vote. I welcome the rise of newer players to represent minority communities. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena may not be new as it has its roots in the five decade old Sena Movement in Mumbai, but it seems the larger than life image of Raj Saheb has enthused the Marathi youth to look beyond the status quo.
The other major political start up of the educated classes in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka is the Lok Satta Party of Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, a MLA from Kutapally in Andhra Pradesh. This is again a NGO converted in to a political outfit. The outfit could potentially be an ally of the AAP in the South, where the linguistic barrier could be a deterrent for expansion.
The Political Start Up is a blend of two factors- a strong personality brand and approachability uncharacteristic of the main political parties. I was a sceptic of the AAP, but its direct approach is an attractive draw. More Power to the Urban Politics of the AAP.