India Today - - COVER STORY -

founded on mu­tual re­spect rather than an al­liance. Though, as Ajit Jha points out, when it suits Ke­jri­wal’s pur­poses he is eager to form al­liances, join­ing hands with the Con­gress to form a mi­nor­ity govern­ment and then seek­ing to do so again af­ter the Lok Sabha de­ba­cle. Yo­gen­dra Ya­dav, who has founded Swaraj Ab­hiyan, a po­lit­i­cal move­ment and party staffed mainly by AAP rebels, bri­dles at the mere men­tion of AAP as an “al­ter­na­tive”. In an ar­ti­cle, he noted that “AAP’s elec­toral suc­cess made it seem that al­ter­na­tive could be vi­able, that good could be ef­fec­tive. Hence the ex­tra­or­di­nary na­tional eu­pho­ria around this new party that had tasted suc­cess in just a city.” But, Ya­dav goes on to write, “AAP rapidly de­te­ri­o­rated into a main­stream po­lit­i­cal party, just the kind it was meant to pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive to... it failed to re­tain even min­i­mally the in­tegrity that de­fined the quest for al­ter­na­tive pol­i­tics. This may not mean the end of AAP as a suc­cess­ful en­tity; but it does mean the end of a dream.”

Ajit Jha is even more dis­il­lu­sioned. AAP, he says, is a party for a post-ide­o­log­i­cal age. This is per­son­i­fied in Ke­jri­wal’s prag­ma­tism. Jha as­serts that there is not an is­sue on which Ke­jri­wal won’t com­pro­mise, point­ing to the much-di­luted Jan Lok­pal bill which AAP is try­ing to “pass off” as the ful­fil­ment of the prom­ise it made to the elec­torate as it tran­si­tioned from the In­dia Against Cor­rup­tion move­ment into a full-fledged po­lit­i­cal party. Sur­jit Bhalla, the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic an­a­lyst, has writ­ten sev­eral col­umns crit­i­cal of AAP’s ide­o­log­i­cal in­co­her­ence. Even on the phone, he be­comes iras­ci­ble when the sub­ject of AAP is broached. “They don’t do any­thing


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