Party hopping is not a rare phenomenon in India. More often than not, in Indian politics we find that leaders are changing sides. Shifting of loyalties has become so common these days that sometimes it even goes without notice. It seems that people of the country now consider it as one of the most common features of Indian politics.
But what Aam Admi Party (AAP) founder Arvind Kejriwal is doing these days has made the people dumb-founded. Till the results of the last general elections were declared, he was among the prominent faces in the opposition camp. Even in the run-up to the elections, he made it mandatory to fire regular salvo to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). And now, after elections, the scenario has changed so swiftly that even the most disinterested people have begun questioning as to what happened to India’s face against corruption, Kejriwal? Since Narendra Modi has come to power for the second time, be in within parliament or outside, Kejriwal and AAP appears to be working as the BJP’s junior partner. All the important bills that the Rajya Sabha has passed in the just concluded session, AAP supported the government, divorcing its friends in the opposition. Even during the bill to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir into two, Mamata Banerjee’s party passionately appealed to AAP members not to support the bill. But Kejriwal tweeted that it was done keeping national interest in mind. Is it really the national interest which is taking AAP towards BJP? If one examines the prevailing political scenario in Delhi, the answer is no. Rather, it can be concluded that Kejriwal has warmed up to the saffron party only for survival. In Delhi, during the last four and a half years of AAP being in power, AAP’s support base has been eroded considerably for various reasons. First and foremost, many who were with Kejriwal since the beginning of his crusade against corruption had left the party alleging that Kejriwal runs the party as a dictatorship. Secondly, when it comes to governance, AAP government has failed to prove that it is different from other governments. Third, Kejriwal’s habit of blaming the Centre for all his government’s misdeeds, has disillusioned the people. All this combined together have reduced AAP to third place in the last general elections. Forget about winning a parliamentary seat in Delhi, AAP came third, even behind the Congress in five out of seven seats in Delhi. With the Assembly elections knocking at the door, Kejriwal and his party can clearly see the writings on the wall. If the situation remains the same, it will be difficult for AAP to retain power in Delhi. So Kejriwal has drawn up a new blueprint. He is now trying to prove himself as a nationalist, rather than being a politician for whom the welfare of the people is supreme. Kejriwal has realised that minorities have gone back to Congress. Thus the only chance of retaining Delhi is to soften the BJP supporters’ mood towards AAP. As in Delhi BJP has no such face to match Kejriwal in an electoral contest, AAP is hopeful that a division in BJP vote will keep them in power. But this is a far-fetched idea. The fate of Kejriwal has been sealed as he fails to provide a viable alternative to both BJP and Congress.