AAP 2.0 : Urban Activism does work

A few days back prior to the election, AAP was relegated to being an opposition player but after the electoral miracle it has captured the popular imagination of the nation. Kejriwal is the real anti thesis to Modi: Activist, Technocrat and Socialist. Both though great orators and have a down to earth connect with the masses, being original mass leaders. Modiji though with his 10 lakh rupee suit, lost his mojo. The fledgling start-up has received Series A funding from the voters to scale up and be ready for Private Equity funding in Venture Finance parlons. In short, run a total majority government for the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The anti corruption, anti VIP culture, pro poor message does indeed sell in the activism driven urban politics of the AAP. Delhi being an urban, and well educated ‘half-state’ is the microcosm of India. As the May 2014 polls for the BJP, February 2015 is a branding communications win too; this AAP victory has certainly had its messaging right. Local for local, community for community customized messaging actually very ala old Congress but very impactful, in hindsight; albeit, with too high promises and too high aspirations. A dangerous stance for governance, but an effective electoral campaign strategy nevertheless that worked. Arvind Kejriwal or AK accepted his mistake in running away from the 49 day stint, and sincerely apologized at every juncture and that connect clicked. But as the author observed during his time in Delhi during the December 2013 poll run up and the 49 day tamasha; AK was very popular with the man on the street as the core constituency was with the common man who eats ‘cholche kulche’ at the corner shop. The common man was not bothered by petty, rent seeking corruption effecting him. As AAP is an activist led entity, their eyes and ears on the ground was always present irrespective of Poll season or not. Mocked, humiliated by the Modi Brigade after the May 2014 Lok Sabha Polls, AAP went into a hibernation mode during which the Modi wave swept the nation winning state election after state election. AAP as per the corporate media was over, a one time fling. But the man on Delhi’s streets was getting impatient with a too much over confident BJP which had swept all seven parliamentary seats. BJP has always been known as the Brahmin, Baniya led Party with Punjabi support in pockets in the after partition areas. The AAP and its NGO movement progenitor India Against Corruption was a reaction against the corruption (read CWG, Coal scam) of the Congress during UPA 2. The Jan Lok Pal movement captured the moral and political imagination of the youth of Delhi. Many educated youth joined the movement as their own contribution to the country, leveraging technology of social media, and conventional communication mediums on print and radio to pass on their message to the potential voter. Catchy jingles by star music composer Vishal Dadlani mobilized the party activists to the ethos of ‘Paanch Saal Kejriwal’ or Five Years in Power for Kejriwal. This time around, the AAP’s activism was sober sans antics and the electoral management was better, Even with its depleted team with defections to the BJP (read Ilmi and Binny) they captured the right segments with a pro poor, pro minority image, leading to a transfer of votes from the Congress to AAP in addition to its own votes from December 2013. This catalyzed as landslide of 66 seats of 70. An unthinkable feat in contemporary Indian Political History for a fledgling political outfit, struggling to survive vis a vis a powerful BJP stopped its tracks. Kiran Bedi as an icon devalued her stature by accepting the BJP offer to join the party just prior to the polls. Kejriwal is a politician, Bedi is not. The veterans of the Delhi BJP did not like her and sabotaged their own campaign. In any case, the BJP has run the Municipal bodies inefficiently over the decades. Kejriwal is a street fighter with a middle class mindset and connects well with the man from the street as well as the international media in English, with Ashutosh and Prof. Yogendra Yadav; AAP has a fantastic media management team with robust research data to back up their arugments. Of course you can ‘Barely Speak’ with Arnab on the News Hour, the Fox News styled News Debate show on primetime Indian TV. Raghav and Aatishi as politicians are wonderful youth icons too. Nerdy and cool, certainly. AK and AAP defeated the supari or contract killer journalists of the corporatized media in the words of Rajdeep Sardesai (as stated in his website and also on scroll.in), himself a victim of the Big Media. The members of the AAP are normal people and that is the most powerful takeaway from the poll. Normal people can win. You don’t have to somebody’s son or daughter to win. At the inauguration ceremony today, AK was composed and collected. He is the man of the moment. His tenor was of a person in for the long haul and with sky high aspirations of the aam junta, he needs more work and less talk to start of the journey as the second term CM of the NCT of Delhi. AK chided the ‘Big Boss’ mindset paparazzi media for their 24×7 news cycle inputs and asked them to be patient for five years. AK is in here for five years for sure with the AAP. Don’t lose your activism AAP, because that is what makes you different. Ultimately Activism is about Politics.


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