AAP’s stunning victory in Delhi has surprised the political pundits in India and has created a new chapter in the history of Indian democracy.
Widely acclaimed electioneering strategist Amit Shah has been humiliated and invincibility of Narendra Modi has been thrashed by a humble socialist Arvind Kejriwal, an engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
Minorities felt overjoyed as the results may help weaken the saffron wave of extreme right Hindu nationalists who have been increasingly threatening the secular fabric of India since Modi came to power as India’s PM last year.
When elections in Delhi were announced couple of months ago, Modi Wave was still prevailing across India. BJP had won a a number of state elections and it was in no doubt that similar results would be repeated in the nation’s capital.
Aam Admi Party (Common Man’s party) was not seen as being capable of challenging the authority of Narendra Modi who had launched several popular programmes in India and was applauded for his charismatic leadership skills during his overseas trips including US and Australia. Political opponents had described Kejriwal an unstable character who had run away from governance within 49 days of being elected the Chief Minister of Delhi early last year.
However, Kejriwal knew the real issues of the ordinary masses which they were made to forget by manipulative political leadership of India for past several decades.
Delhi’s water supply is scarce, electricity expensive, half of Delhi population lives in slums, unauthorized colonies are overpopulated with little facilities. Kejriwal raised issues that concerned the common people in the capital.
Young people, fed up with corruption saw in Kejriwal genuine honesty which was not to be found elsewhere. They volunteered with much enthusiasm throughout the election process and got the and were rewarded for their tireless efforts where AAP Tsunami wiped out Modi Wave and the AAP ended with 67 of the 70 seats, only three won by Modi’s BJP.
It is important to realize that despite being routed in Delhi Assembly elections, BJP was successful in retaining its share of vote bank of BJP loyalists at approx. 33%. They are defeated as the rest of the vote was not divided among opposition parties, as would be the case generally.
AAP’s election victory in Delhi is a great success story of India’s revolution which had begun 4 years back with Anna Hazare movement. Repeatedly, millions came out to streets in Delhi and across India to protest against corruption and against lack of government action to curb crimes such as rapes and murders. The forward march of this revolution would still be difficult as unscrupulous, at times criminal and corrupt leadership across India will find it confronting to face obstacles of an honest opposition. However, democratic institutions of India are so strong that AAP’s march to progress is expected to continue in coming years.
Despite all its difficulties, India emerges as a role model for many third world and Muslim countries. In neighbouring Pakistan, Imran Khan had led a similar movement in 2013. Pakistan’s youth was equally excited about the change as Imran had promised them corruption free governance which would also be free from foreign interference. The elections were badly rigged and Imran Khan did not have many options to prove his case.
Arab spring in many Muslim countries ended up with far worse results for the people of those countries. The great historical movement of Tahrir square in Cairo falls in ruins. The powerful monarchs of gulf nations crushed the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government by financing the powerful military of Egypt and to the pleasure of democratic champions in West. The Syrian ruthless dictator still holds his position as the great historical monuments of Syria are destroyed and hundreds of thousands of civilians pay penalty with their lives for trying to rise up against their autocratic regime. While Iran and the Arab monarchs compete for greater influence in the Middle East, several fringe terrorist groups played havoc as Muslim men, women and children continue to be sacrificed in the name of Islam by the rival groups who claim that they only were the true followers of the religion.
Despite Hindu extremists in India being noisy and threatening, they accepted the verdict of the people. They will find it harder to challenge the secular and democratic values of the nation after the latest election results. India thus sets a good example for many nations including the Muslim world for peaceful transfer of power.