Four-five years back, India witnessed the spectacular rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national political scene. The recent events have led some political pundits to claim that AAP’s decline is nearing and its going to be as dramatic as its rise was. It is not only the external enemies of the party that AAP has been fighting since its inception, but internal conflicts have been on the rise as well. Increasing differences within the party and controversies affected the prospect of AAP in recent elections where the party has failed enormously. If we compare AAP’s results in the recent Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections with that of 2015 elections when it came to the power, it is clear that the party has lost 26% of its voters from the last time. AAP’s poor results in both the MCD and the Punjab Assembly elections are obvious signs of the party’s and its supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s rapid slide down the hill.
The Supremo must take responsibility
According some analysts, Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership in the party as well as the government shows some dictatorial tendencies. There is a habit of constant self-glorification that is not only hurting his party but his own image as well. In fact, his political style resembles that of his arch-rival so well that he is often called the ‘Chhota Modi’. Many party members, some of them even founders of the party like Shazia Ilmi quit AAP citing a glaring absence of inner-party democracy. Others like Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav was expelled for voicing similar concerns. At least 15 leaders have quit or were expelled by the leadership. Many former members of the party have complained that the party has compromised on its founding principles and is now run by a crony clique.
Controversies, criminal cases and corruptions
The above is not the only reason behind AAP’s fast declining popularity. Quite a few AAP MLAs are facing criminal charges. In 2016, cases were filed against former AAP cabinet-member Somnath Bharti for attempted murder, domestic violence and cheating. Recently, another AAP MLA, Amanatullah Khan, was arrested for threatening a woman who went to his house to protest against the power cuts. A total of 11 AAP MLAs have been arrested by the law enforcement agencies so far. The controversies and accusations of corruption of the party-led government or inside the party itself increased over the years. In 2014, ex-AAP MLA Rakesh Garg released audio tapes that allegedly record Kejriwal discussing horse-trading of six Congress MLAs. The most recent case of controversy is the accusations made by the expelled-AAP MLA Kapil Mishra. Mishra alleged that Kejriwal took a bribe of Rs 2 crore from the Health Minister in his own cabinet, Satyendra Jain. Mishra claims that he has evidences that reveal the complicity of two of Kejriwal’s close aides in the water tanker scam.
Though it is not yet time to write an obituary of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a strong trend of decline has already began. And it is the inner-party fights and corruptions – not the external pressure – that is going to be responsible for the fall of AAP.