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Most of last year, until the very end, the conventional and universal belief was that Election 2014 was an old/new two-way fight between Narendra Modi of the BJP and Rahul Gandhi of the
Congress. Ideologies were balanced into their respective boxes but the weight of economic evidence at the centre and the radically different economic performance of Modi in Gujarat meant that the odds were in favour of Modi winning the general election. Most believed that the Congress would be hard pressed to cross 100 seats, a more than halving of their 2009 tally. The BJP under Modi was likely to get 180 seats (upwards of the first opinion poll forecasts of 120 seats) and even with 20-odd seats from its allies in Maharashtra (Shiv Sena) and Punjab (Akali Dal), BJP-plus would be hard pressed to cross 200. Given 73 short of requirement, there was healthy talk of the Third Front leading from behind.
And then, Delhi happened and the Aam Aadmi Party arrived on the national scene. Suddenly, the Third Front idea is no more idle chatter, but a distinct possibility. Forget Third Front, there are many who argue that the AAP will get close to 100 seats. So, Prashant Bhushan, senior member of the Trinity ruling the AAP (along with Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav) can be forgiven for indulging in a bit of hyperbole when, on the day the AAP announced they were going to contest only 300 of the 543 seats, he proudly boasted that there was no reason why AAP could not get 400!
The AAP has been in power for only three weeks, but they have not been sitting idle. As befits a national party (though at this stage strictly a wannabe one), they have made pronouncements on economics, law and order, foreign and social policy.
The AAP has been busy—but has it been good? The party has several “natural” advantages over the old workhorses like the Congress and the BJP. They are refreshingly young, modern, and media-savvy. The last attribute seems to be part of a well-thought-out strategy—enrol and give senior positions to journalists. Journalists control the media, and the incestuous journalists are extremely loathe to criticise fellow-travellers.
Possibly the most distinguishing feature of the Aam Aadmi Party is its commitment to eradicate corruption. Though eradication may not be feasible in the short run, the goal is clearly a lofty one. Who