Tuesday, April 1, 2014

AAP needs only 3 seats to win India

The Aam Aadmi Party doesn’t need 272 seats to win India. Just 3.

Bear with me, this might be long, but it might also be worth a read.

This isn’t just my theory – this is something I’ve heard from folks who are close to pretty high-on ups in the AAP, and something that makes a lot more sense when I talk and think about it.
Here’s the thinking – see how it fits your brain: Let’s start with the AAP itself. In some ways it’s the least ambitious party when it comes to retaining power – see how easily they gave up Delhi when the Congress and BJP came together to deny passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill. In other ways it’s the most ambitious – see how they’ve come from nowhere to field candidates for over 380 seats in the Lok Sabha polls?
These guys play for the long game – if they think they need to make a queen sacrifice today to win the chess board a year later, they will. They have no particular urgent hunger for power.
What they’re playing for is NOT for AAP to be elected – but for the duopoly of UPA and NDA to be ended in India. Remember their origins were in India Against Corruption, not in India For Anything Else. Think about it – for decades we’ve been ruled by the same two blocks of parties – and every 5 or 10 years, we get sick of the corruption of one and throw it out, thinking the other guy was better. Repeat after 5 or 10 years. Anti-incumbency factor is the name we give it. Fatigue with corruption and mis-governance is more like it. And conventional wisdom says we’ll do it again this time, throwing out the Congress for the BJP.
The AAP’s stance is that both are corrupt, perhaps only in varying degrees and that we need to get rid of both for India to get a fresh start.
aapThe BJP certainly owes a lot to the back-room support of Mukesh Ambani and his tentacles in government, oil and news. Dhirubhai’s elder son famously said of the Congress, when they were his favoured lot: Congress hamaari dukaan hai – the Congress is our shop. And of the BJP he later remarked “BJP hamaari jeb main hai” – The BJP is in our pocket. Nobody thinks the Ambanis are paragons of virtue – we all just “know” how they’ve been good at “fixing” governments.
Despite its TV commercials about being anti-corruption, the BJP openly welcomes it, calling back Karnataka’s thief-in-chief Yeddyurappa and mining scammer Sriramulu, as well as woman-hating Sri Ram Sene rogue Muthalik. Modi’s record, too is less than stellar, with Solanki, Amit Shah and other well-known thugs in his inner circle.
What the BJP is strong on is efficiency – and they are efficiently doing all they can to tie up alliances with known devils and even police-sheeters to ensure their 272 seats of support after the polls close.
The BJP has a practical view for sure – let’s sleep with the known criminals to get power – we’ll see after that what happens. A pragmatic view, perhaps. But one that begs the question – what ministerial berths will they have to give away, along with a tacit promise to loot India – like the Congress had to do with Karunanidhi’s A. Raja, whose job was to loot for his party chief when he was made Telecom Minister.
(As an aside, I wonder how the markets will fare if BJP and allies do get elected – and the allies get plum ministerial berths. It’ll just be Congress with a different face all over again. Will we see Sensex 20,000 and Nifty 6,000 again?)
But the BJP has one disadvantage the Congress doesn’t have – a bunch of strong regional satraps who are angry about Narendra Modi’s sudden prominence, and who would like nothing better than to send Modi packing back to Gujarat. But we’ll re-visit this in a bit.
Now to the Congress. Nothing much needs to be said about this, perhaps the most corrupt bunch of thieves that has ever walked this planet. But they do have a different defining characteristic – they’re owned and controlled by Sonia’s purse strings and her Dubai bank accounts flush with funds. Without Mummy’s money, Baba will be nowhere. And perhaps the party will be nowhere either.
Still with me? Good.
Now it gets interesting.
Try to see this as a war – and you’ll see two strong goliath armies. On the one side, there’s the evil Congress, with its scheming empress Sonia and weak heir-apparent Rahul who is trying hard to look bulked-up. There is no second line here – no regional commanders, only foot-soldiers on low pay.
And on the other side is the chieftain of the moment Modi with his strong regional satraps going along for the ride to victory – but happy to take on power if Modi were to fall by the wayside.
Into this battle strides a little David, with no money, no resources, nothing.
What is David’s best option?
A quick analysis will show that if Rahul and Sonia were knocked off their perches, the Congress will quickly collapse. And if Modi was to lose his Varanasi seat even after winning his Gujarat seat, the pack of wolves in the BJP will themselves send him back, tail between legs, to Gujarat.
So what’s the most efficient use of David’s meagre resources?
I’d say it is to take Rahul, Sonia and Modi head on – and defeat them.
Three seats.
That’s all.
The AAP wouldn’t come to power. It’d win a few more perhaps even 50 or 100 more.
But within months or a year, what is left of the Congress in parliament and what is left of the BJP in parliament will be sure to self-destruct – and the country will go to the polls again, mid-term.
And this may be 2014 – or 2015 or 2016 or even 2019 – but that is when the AAP can actually make a stronger effort to come to power. And break the see-saw duopoly of UPA and NDA that they believe plagues the country.
Let’s see what they’ve done so far. They’ve put up a strong guy against Rahul G – and he seems to be doing well in Amethi – and an upset may well be possible there. Kejriwal set himself up against Modi – a positioning master-stroke, telling the world he was no less than the Gujarat CM in leadership potential. And who knows what can happen there. I personally wouldn’t bet against Kejriwal here.
Shazia Ilmi said no to to the AAP for going up against Sonia, not sure if they’ll field some one else – but it’ll be an amazing win to take on and defeat Sonia too.
But it might not be 3 on 3. But even 2 on 3 is good enough for the Gandhi dynasty to end in the Congress and the Modi raj to end in the BJP.
Now it’s too complex to tell the voter, don’t worry, there’ll be mid-term polls and we’re happy to come to power then. So the AAP positioning will be one of strength, one of toppling the twin demons right now.
But my point is just this – it doesn’t matter if the AAP gets 5 or 55 or 105 seats in the Lok Sabha.
If it wins Amethi and Varanasi – it’ll have pretty much set India to the path of repeal of the twin demons. And if it can pull off Rae Bareilly too, then it’s a comprehensive rout.
But let’s see what happens. All this is theorizing.
I’m no Congress fan, or Modi bhakt or anti-corruption zealot. But I have a pretty good idea what I’ll be voting for. :-)
Oh, and thank you for reading this. Share it at will, if you like. And criticise it at will, as I am sure you will like, too :-)

Mahesh Murthy
April 1, 2014

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