New Delhi: With the Gujarat Assembly elections fast approaching, the AAP’s campaign led by the party’s senior leadership is getting more focus against the ruling BJP in the state. Now the election seems to be a straight fight between the BJP and AAP, with the Congress seeming to be a reluctant entrant.
AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has claimed that his party is on track to win the election by a big margin.
Meanwhile, senior AAP leaders have also repeatedly said that the 2024 general election will also be a battle between the two parties.
“I want to say that the 2024 general election will be BJP versus AAP. The election will be held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kejriwal,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said during a press briefing on the ongoing probe into the Delhi Excise Policy.
Sisodia also claimed that the Excise Policy was not the BJP’s main concern, but Kejriwal’s “rising stature”.
“He is evolving into a leader who works for the public across the country and this has become their (BJP) headache. After the Punjab Assembly polls, Kejriwal has come out as a national alternative and their main concern now is to stop him.”
The AAP focuses on two main fronts — ideological values and policy promises.
The party’s ideological strength lies in the soft nationalism in the guise of a campaign launched to ‘Make the Country No. 1’ along with some taglines like ‘Kattar Deshbhakti, Imandaari, Insaniyat’.
The AAP says that it will not compromise on the issue of nationalism.
During the Budget session of the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal had said that India will always be his top priority and that he will work till his last breath towards making the country better.
Kejriwal had said that he is often asked about his party’s ideology by the opposition and many others.
“Three pillars make up the AAP ideology — staunch nationalism, hardcore honesty and humanity,” he added.
On the second aspect of its policies, the AAP’s national pitch can be seen in its four-point formula — free and quality education; world-class health infrastructure; employment for every hand; and finally the issues of farming and farmers.
However, one important aspect which should not be ignored about Kejriwal is that he does not belong to any political school, instead he is a by-product of Indian politics coming from a bureaucratic background.
In such a situation, he may find it difficult to ally with other parties. Coming from a bureaucratic background, Kejriwal is not in the habit of accepting criticism.
With the divided opposition camp and the egos of the regional leaders, the combined unity against the Modi-led Central government is itself questionable in 2024.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom only Kejriwal shares good relations possibly in the opposition, is striving hard to project herself as a potential opposition candidate against the Prime Minister.
The list can be endless with the names like NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Telanagana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, among others.
The opposition unity stood fragmented when a meeting was convened by Mamata Banerjee to build consensus on fielding a joint candidate.
The leaders of the Congress, Samajwadi Party, NCP, DMK, RJD and the Left parties attended the meeting, while the AAP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, now called Bharat Rashtra Samithi, and Odisha’s ruling BJD had skipped it.
With a divided opposition, the road ahead does not seem rosy for anyone as the egos of regional leaders can prove to be a stumbling block.
Additionally, Kejriwal, for not being a member of any political ecosystem yet, may find it tough to join any fragments in 2024.
Even, the party is not sure of its political future this time which will largely be dependent on the Gujarat election.
Kejriwal’s emergence as a consensus candidate is not even a near possibility, and with the same degree of possibility, he will not join any pre-poll alliance.