The Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular electoral debut coupled with the huge setback for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi is good – as well as bad – news for Narendra Modi.
A clear front-runner for more than a year, constantly increasing his lead over Gandhi, the verdict of assembly elections is the first real political worry for Modi. But, before the bad news let’s look at the positives.
The good tidings stem from two counts: virtual decimation of the Congress and the limited time available for either the AAP – on its own – or any other national alternative to coalesce. The main challenge to Modi at the moment comes from an assortment of regional parties. Unless they succeed in projecting themselves as a credible
pan-Indian alternative, those rooting for Modi because they look at him as a strong personality and a doer are unlikely to look for alternatives.
The worries that the recent verdict has generated for Modi stem from the possibility that the AAP effect may now spill beyond Delhi, and constituencies where it can draw blood have so far been in the BJP’s comfort zone. AAP’s
current social base is primarily urban, though not only the urbane. Immediate acceptability of its political idiom is likely to be restricted to urban constituencies. Here, lower middle and working classes feel most strongly about the twin issues that form the cornerstones of the AAP campaign: corruption and price rise. Here, lower middle and working classes feel most strongly about the twin issues that form the cornerstones of the AAP campaign: corruption and price rise.