With the outpouring of punditry over the advent of AAP, you would think that there was nothing else in the election results to be excited about. I am not saying that the incredible success of a new and different kind of political party is not something to be excited about, only that there is much else that deserves attention.
AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) has done very well in Delhi, but it is not going to be what happens in Delhi that decides the results of a general election that is now just around the corner. In my humble opinion there are two things that will decide the results of the next general election. The first is whether Narendra Modi has succeeded in getting the acceptance he needs to become India’s next prime minister, and the second is whether the Gandhi dynasty has lost the allure that has kept it ensconced in power in Delhi for most of our years as an independent country.
Let us deal first with the Modi question. Congress spokesmen and pundits of secular bent have gone out of their way in the past week to assert that the results indicate that there was no ‘Modi wave’ except in Rajasthan. If there had been a wave, they point out, then the BJP would have won Delhi and won much more convincingly in Chhattisgarh. More neutral pundits and election analysts have said that the significant jump in the BJP’s vote share in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is proof that there is a Modi factor. Not being a skilled number cruncher, I am going to stick to what I sense of the public mood on my travels, and at the risk of someone flinging this in my face next year, I am going to say that I do sense a wave for Modi personally. Not so much for the BJP.
The reason why it is important to make this distinction is because, if it were a straight fight between the BJP without Modi and the Congress, I am not sure whether the BJP would make much difference to the seats it already has in the Lok Sabha. What Modi has brought with him is a hint of something new. He has succeeded in projecting himself as a strong leader, and if you talk to your average ‘aam aadmi’, you may find that what he yearns for at the moment is a strong