There is a sudden apprehension that the rising star of India’s politics, the Aam Aadmi Party may be faltering. In my view, this is not true. It is correct that there are worrisome developments, like for example, Somnath Bharti’s impromptu raid on a local drug and prostitution den. This is compounded by the deliberate rosy buildup of Aam Aadmi Party in media, before a barrage of raising doubts about it. This is nothing new for media, and I had warned at that time, that Aam Aadmi Party needs to learn to ignore media when they are in honeymoon mood, unless they have the budget to keep it happy after the honeymoon is over.
Aam Aadmi Party needs to plan more for the fallout of its actions on the pampered elite, be prepared to defend actions in a manner our brainwashing allows elites to understand.
It isn’t so much a matter of Aam Aadmi Party’s fatal flaws becoming suddenly visible in a week, so much as it is a problem of people not being able to understand the scope of changes that are happening so soon, and defaulting to conclusions a motivated media feeds them.
Aam Aadmi Party has gone ahead and challenged status quos in several directions at once, which is allowing various disagreements to amass and create a perception that the party is going very very wrong. Yet, if you see individual issues, how strong is the opposition to each? How many people have a problem with the water and electricity? How many have a problem with the drug raid? How many have a problem with the stereotyping of prostitutes and Nigerians (which is my peeve)? How many have a problem with Delhi police being accountable to Delhi people through elected representatives? How many want FDI in retail in Delhi?
I doubt if the opposition to each issue is as severe, and a little planning could have prevented the various disagreements from creating a perception of the party suddenly going dangerously wrong.
Politics is a game of perceptions as much as it is one of people’s interest. If media has 10 articles on how Aam Aadmi Party is going wrong, the reader may disagree with maybe one or two, but the perception that they suddenly have started making a lot of mistakes builds anyway. This is a completely avoidable self-goal without actually doing something massively wrong.
Change doesn’t (and perhaps shouldn’t) happen overnight. Aam Aadmi Party has to think of itself as a long term player and understand that people perceiving that more things are happening in their interest than against is also an important political goal.