BJP wins, but real winner is AAP

Delhi polls 2013:

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AAP wins big in Delhi
Delhi Election Result: AAP office erupts in celebrations Delhi result 2013: close races are testament to AAP’s phenomenal groundwork Will be a strong Opposition, wont ally with Cong, BJP: Kejriwal 05 06 07

Analysing the AAP phenomenon
Why Arvind Kejriwal’s supporters swore by him and won Why technology is the wind beneath AAP’s wings AAP has disproved the cynics, but lets not get swept away Story of a home-grown David: How AAP triumphed in Delhi 09 11 13 15

The end of an era: Sheila Dikshit loses to Kejriwal
Sheila Dikshit ki bewaqoofi: The fall of the Lutyens regime Shock and awe after Sheila Dikshit’s crushing loss to Kejriwal Sheila Dikshit’s 15-year tenure ends: All you need to know Kejriwal doesn’t worry me: Why Sheila will have to eat her words By the numbers: Why Kejriwal’s victory over Dikshit is so incredible 19 21 22 24 25

Harsh Vardhan leads BJP to victory but falls short
Delhi election results: Vardhan thanks Dikshit, congratulates Kejriwal Dr Saab to CM nominee: Meet Vardhan, the man who united BJP in Delhi How the RSS went all out for Harsh Vardhan - but fell short Will talk only to Modi, want deputy CM post: Delhi’s lone independent MLA Why BJP won’t get any help from AAP in Delhi 28 29 31 34 35

BJP won’t resort to horse-trading to form majority in Delhi, says Harsh Vardhan 33

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How Delhi’s voters picked their MLAs
Delhi election results: Congress decimated in its strongholds Delhi elections spell gloom for dynastic politics Delhi result: NOTA loses, less than 1% used right to reject 38 40 41

Beyond Delhi: Lessons for Congress and BJP
Delhi election 2013: Six things AAP has changed in politics Assembly election result: Modi can’t ignore Kejriwal’s AAP anymore Congress will do AAP bigger and better, promises Rahul Gandhi Why Rahul Gandhi’s better-than-you- can-imagine promise fails to enthuse What assembly elections say about Modi and Nehru-Gandhi dynasty Hard lesson of the assembly elections: How Congress can stop Narendra Modi Dear Rahul Gandhi, here’s what you could do to save the Congress 43 45 47 49 51 54 56

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AAP wins big in Delhi

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Delhi Election Result: AAP office erupts in celebrations
It’s Modi’s turn next, say volunteers at teeming office of the AAP in Delhi.
Shruti Dhapola Dec 8, 2013 The other big news for the AAP came from Seemapuri where deceased AAP candidate Santosh Koli's brother Dharmendra Singh is leading by over 11,000 votes. In RK Puram, star AAP candidate Shazia Ilmi is trailing. An AAP worker believes they might just lose that seat. In Malvika Nagar, Congress cabinet member Dr Kiran Walia is losing to AAP candidate Somnath Bharti who is at 13,000 votes followed by BJP candidate Aarti Mehra. The Congress is a distant third. "Sheila tai bhag gayi, sister Sheila is gone," one slogan goes up, to be followed soon by another: "Sheila ko haraya hai , modi ko harayenge. We beat Sheila , it's Modi's turn next."


t's Delhi election result day and the Aam Aadmi Party office is easily home to one of the capital's loudest celebrations. Teeming with people since 7 am on a chilly winter morning, it now appears that there is no end to the celebrations with the party having clear leads in more than 25 seats. For a party that was formed only in November 2012 and registered with the Election Commission in March this year, its performance has been overwhelming, what everybody including AAP workers and political observers are calling a spectacular debut, one that has defied all critics. The biggest shouts go up when news filters out that Arvind Kejriwal has defeated three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi constituency by over 10,000 votes. The news is confirmed by AAP workers, though the Election Commission website is still to be updated.

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testament to AAP’s phenomenal groundwork
Even in the seats that the Aam Aadmi Party lost, it gave the BJP and Congress candidates a spirited run for their money. Shazia Ilmi, AAP candidate from RK Puram lost by a mere 326 votes in the polls.
Shruti Dhapola, Dec 8, 2013

Delhi result 2013: close races are


ven in the seats that the Aam Aadmi Party lost, it gave the BJP and Congress candidates a spirited run for their mon-

Vihar, AAP’s Dinesh Mohaniya won by 777 votes. He got 24,851 votes while rival BJP candidate Shiv Charan Lal Gupta got, 24,074 votes. In Sadar Bazar too, AAP candidate Som Dutt won by a vote margin of 796 votes defeating BJP’s Jai Prakash. The other constituency which saw a close contest was Rohini where AAP candidate Rajesh Garg defeated BJP’s Jai Bhagwan Agarwal by a margin of 1872 votes. Garg got 47,890 votes while Agarwal got 46,018 votes. In Delhi Cantt AAP candidate Surender Singh won by a margin of 355 votes. He defeated BJP candidates Karan Singh Tanwar. Surender Singh got 26124 votes while Tanwar got 25,769. In Sultanpur Majra, Congress’ Jai Kishan won by a margin of 1112 votes. He polled 31,458 votes while rival AAP candidate Sandeep Kumar got 30,356 votes. In Vikaspuri, AAP candidate Mahinder Yadav has a slim margin of 405 votes, over BJP’s Krishna Gahlot. Gahlot polled 61,627 votes while Yadav got 62,032 votes till now, and the counting is still in progess.

Shazia Ilmi, AAP candidate from RK Puram lost by a mere 326 votes in the polls. She got 27691 votes and gave her BJP rival Anil Kumar Sharma a huge scare, as he scraped through with 28,017 votes. Two constituencies saw AAP candidates winning by a margin of over 700 votes. In Sangam

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Will be a strong Opposition,
wont ally with Cong, BJP: Kejriwal
“Ordinary people have ensured the defeat of heavyweights,” Aam Admi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal said, addressing thousands of supporters outside the party’s office in New Delhi.
FP Politics, Dec 8, 2013 Ordinary people have ensured the defeat of heavyweights," Aam Admi Party's Arvind Kejriwal said, addressing thousands of supporters outside the party's office in New Delhi.


AAP's outstanding performance in the Delhi Assembly elections have clearly indicated the mood of the people, one against rising prices and corruption. "If parties do not change, then the people will change them... who are we? we are just common people standing for change," he said. Kejriwal also highlighted various party candidates who defeated three-time MLAs in their strongholds, saying the elections were fought on the plank of honesty. "We had said we wanted only Rs 20 crore, once we reached that limit, we stopped. Which other party does the same? No where in the world does this happen." Kejriwal also said asked other elected representatives to serve the people in their constituency, saying that was the basic purpose of politics. "I don't have personal enemies, if I have hurt anyone during the campaign, I apologise for it," he said, adding that his main fight was against corruption and inflation.

Stating that his party was clear that they would not offer or accept support from any political party, Kejriwal said he was ready to sit and be a strong opposition party.

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Analysing the AAP phenomenon

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Why Arvind Kejriwal’s
While skeptics may have doubted Kejriwal’s ability to take on Dikshit, AAP workers say they have always had full faith in him.

supporters swore by him and won


Shruti Dhapola, Dec 8, 2013 office, well before the results or numbers had started coming out. She was steadfast in her belief that Kejriwal would win. Sonkar is a housewife and AAP party worker for the last nine months. She tells us, "Till now I had never voted for anyone. I had no faith in these politicians, but with AAP it's different. I'm confident that Kejriwal will win in New Delhi. I've campaigned for AAP to so many people that even I don't remember." She was also one of the poll booth managers for AAP at the Gole Market area in New Delhi. When asked if she thinks AAP will form the government, she’s hesitant. “Not so sure about government. But I have full faith ki hamara banda to jeete ga (our guy will win).” Another person who was confident of Kejriwal’s win is Hamender Ghagat. Ghagat was in-charge of the Gole market zone. He’s never doubted Kejriwal’s win. “I’m hoping for an AAP government. There’s no question of our party going into an alliance with BJP or Congress,” he says.

ew Delhi: AAP’s Hanuman Road office near Connaught Place is an old yellowing house in the middle of a lane that is sprawling with bungalows and Mercedes cars. But today this quaint little road was jampacked with AAP workers when the election results were declared. The AAP House itself was overflowing with people celebrating, cheering, dancing, and waving AAP’s jhaado as the party put up a spectacular debut performance in the Delhi elections.

The biggest winner of the day was the party’s leader, Arvind Kejriwal, the man around whom AAP has built much of its image. Kejriwal defeated Delhi’s outgoing chief minister Sheila Dikshit from the New Delhi Constituency, and a three-time MLA from the seat, by a margin of 25, 864 votes. It was nothing short of David slaying Goliath. While skeptics may have doubted Kejriwal’s ability to take on Dikshit, AAP workers say they have always had full faith in him. Neelam Sonkar was one of early birds to arrive at the

Why was Ghagat so sure of Kejriwal’s win? “When we went to people's homes they told us, hamara vote toh Arvind ke saath hai, (Our vote is already with Arvind) don’t waste time on us. Go and convince other people. Across Delhi, I’ve been in touch with people and I know people have voted for jhaadu ”, he says. As the day progresses and news comes in that AAP is leading in 30 seats, the party office erupts into celebrations. From sweets to waving jhaadus, the AAP workers are in no mood to let the moment pass by.
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Outside the party office road, holi celebrations begin. Three or four National flags are also bought out and waved. A reporter sternly points out to one of men waving the flags, “Don’t let the jhaadu touch the flag. You could get into trouble for that.” They promptly correct their actions and thank her for pointing it out. But not all is good. In RK Puram, star AAP candidate Shazia Ilmi is trailing. An AAP worker believes they might just lose that seat. Since I’m the only one with a tablet, pretty soon I’m flooded with requests to see how the candidates are doing in each constituency. RK Puram seems to be on everyone’s mind. Eventually, it’s clear that Shazia has lost the seat by a whisker, a mere 326 votes. While celebrations continue, some point out that Shazia’s loss should not be mentioned. “Morale kaam ho jaaye ga,” says someone. By 2 p.m., it’s clear that AAP the underdog has done the un-thinkable. It has decimated the Congress and given the BJP a run for its money. Chants of “Bhag gayi bhag gayi Sheila tai bhag gayi” (Sheila tai has run away, run away) and “Sheila ko haraya hai, Modi ko harayenge” (We’ve defeated Sheila and will beat Modi next) are heard at the AAP office. In Delhi, it seems AAP is all set to play the role of opposition. DD Sharma, AAP worker has been showing a key and shouting, “Mil gayi, rajneeti ki chaabi mil gayi.” (We’ve got the key to politics.”) No one really knows where the key fits but for now it seems AAP has indeed unlocked the door to political stardom.

“We’ll show BJP what an opposition is supposed to do,” Sharma says. Ask him if AAP could have done better and he says, “Kuch, kuch kami toh rahe gayi. We’re not that experienced in poll booth management. That is one place where we were weak. We had lots of people coming from outside to campaign for us. Since they are not locals, it was tough for them. Plus local people are also afraid of big parties. They don’t want to get into trouble by managing things for AAP.” “But anyway, it’s an election. First time hai, we’ll learn as we go,” he says. For now the next step appears to be opposition in Delhi and Lok Sabha Elections 2014. By three p.m., it’s evident that Kejriwal has won and that AAP has done exceptionally well for a first timer. Manish Goel, who is from Hisar the same place that Arvind Kejriwal belongs to, has been with the movement since 2011. When asked why he thinks Arvind succeeded, he says, “He has good people management skills. If he can manage this movement and so many people so well, I’m sure he will manage people in the government too.” I ask him if he thinks the road ahead will be easy for Arvind if he becomes chief minister. “No, frankly speaking, no. I know it will be very hard for him. You can’t expect Arvind to come and break the cycle of corruption in one day. He will try and I have full faith in him.” It is that faith that has working for Kejriwal

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Why technology is the
wind beneath AAP’s wings
While AAP’s media and marketing tactics have been analysed to death, their use of technology to reach out and convince new voters has been equally successful.
Pranjal Kshirsagar, Dec 8, 2013 that call will be connected to a random number that is owned by a citizen of Delhi. Once connected, the volunteer can convince him or her to support the AAP too. After the call, that number will automatically go into a list of used numbers and will never get connected again. This enabled the AAP to come out with an army of volunteers without much effort or cost. The volunteers too, even those who had time or financial constraints, could contribute effectively. There are no privacy issues here as the solution makes sure that the volunteer and the receiver of the call both cannot see information about each other. According to statistics shared by The TechPanda, - Aam Aadmi Party is using more than 100 calling channels. So at a given time, above 100 volunteers can simultaneously make the call to the citizens of Delhi. - The campaign is live since November 20th and according to the data nearly 5,00,000 calls have been done in one week by more than 7,000 volunteers. - Team VoiceTree expects this number to increase to nearly “60,000” calls a day, seeing the intensity of the campaign. Another highlight of this campaign is that while a call receiver will be someone in Delhi, a volunteer can call from anywhere in the world. This has gotten many Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) also on the bandwagon. In another instance, Kejriwal conducted a
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n Delhi's most keenly watched contest, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder Arvind Kejriwal edged past Chief Minister Sheila Dixit in New Delhi assembly constituency, officials said.

While the AAP seemed to have taken the country by storm this year, there's a little bit of technology that puts wind beneath its wings. Be it the caps or the broom as its election symbol, the AAP has always been innovative with its PR and marketing strategies. It already has the usual social media arsenal with a Facebook page, group, Twitter handle and an Android app. Taking it a notch higher displaying its collaborative thinking and 'of the people, by the people, for the people' attitude, the AAP tied up with cloud telephony services provider VoiceTree. What VoiceTree brought in was the capability that enabled any random citizen of India become a volunteer for the party at absolutely no cost. It came up with a solution where a volunteer can call up a toll free number. On calling,

Google Hangout video session with Indians living in Singapore to promote the party’s Adopt a Constituency, in which NRIs could pick an area in Delhi and help the local campaign team reach a fund-raising goal of 1.4 million rupees, or $22,500. Kejriwal also held Google Hangout question-and-answer sessions with Indians in the United States, Britain, Australia, Belgium and Germany. A blog on NY Times explains how AAP milked the best of Facebook too. As Aam Aadmi members visited households in Delhi, they used smartphones to photograph the phone numbers and emails they acquired from Delhi residents who were undecided or voting for another party. Then these campaign volunteers posted the phone numbers onto the Facebook group.

From there, volunteers at phone banks in the United States and elsewhere aggregated these phone numbers into a large electronic database, focusing on the phone numbers of undecided voters. This database was then distributed through the party’s website, giving each overseas caller a list of names and phone numbers of people in Delhi. “N.R.I. support has been very, very crucial,” said Ankit Lal, the head of information technology at AAP. “Such a successful planning and implementation for the campaign would not have been possible without N.R.I.’s. They have a different level of expertise.” Pushing AAP from being an underdog to a game-changer, technology has definitely changed how political campaigns work.

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AAP has disproved the cynics,

but lets not get swept away
As more statistics roll in, I cannot help but feel a little less cynical about the voters of Delhi.
G Khamba, Dec 9, 2013


ike a lot of other people in Delhi, I didn’t think Arvind Kejriwal had a shot in hell.

cynical. Yesterday however, magic happened. I was watching news channels monitor election results coming in from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Delhi, and Delhi was the most exciting of the four because the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had made a bid for the capital, much like Alok Nath asking an industrialist for his daughter’s hand for his poor son. The hired dholwala left the Congress headquarters by 9am (referred to as an early trend) and soon it was clear that the state would be split
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It’s not that the anti-corruption message didn’t resonate, I just thought fasting was not the answer to every problem. Maybe it came from my discomfort at how Kejriwal caught our attention — by idolising someone who got people flogged for drinking in his village, sharing a stage with the likes of ponytailed manager who has no sense of irony — somewhere along the way, I became deeply

between the BJP and AAP. It was then that we were treated to the clown circus called 'panel discussion'. I feel bad for political party representatives on election-result day because they have to defend the party line even in face of loss, rather than speak honestly. BJP representatives have it easy because all they have to do is trip over each other saying, “MODI IS GREAT MODI IS AWESOME MODI IS HE-MAN MODI IS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER MODI MODI MODI!” If you started downing tequila, sorry, aam ras shots every time someone said “Modi effect”, it’d take you five minutes to start slurring. Still, it was nice to see Rajiv Pratap Rudy smile instead of his usual look of suffering from acute gastroenteritis. Congress representatives like Jayanti Natarajan, however, had to resort to platitudes like “We accept this verdict with humility”, as if they had a choice. My personal favourite: “It was a victory for democracy.” Victory for democracy after losing an election is like Pakistanis’ trying to take credit by saying an Indian doing something

applause-worthy is a “victory for South Asia”. By this time, Arvind Kejriwal’s was leading against Sheila Dixit by over 10,000 votes and soon even the most pro Congress panelists were asking Dixit to stop defending Rahul Gandhi. But I suppose one cannot afford to lose one’s job in such a tight economy. It must also hurt to be schooled on changing the political system by an AAP representative who uses words like “wanna” and is wearing a cap made famous by one of the Congress party’s icons. I just hope news channels gave them a tube of Vicco Turmeric their way out. As more statistics roll in, I cannot help but feel a little less cynical about the voters of Delhi. This is an excellent start (and for now, that is all that is). The fact that the party managed to prove a lot of us wrong is truly exceptional. Maybe there is still a place for idealism in Indian politics. Now if only they’d stop dancing around with brooms because really, they don’t look cool. They just look like tantricks playing quidditch.

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Story of a home-grown David: How AAP triumphed in Delhi
Big party apathy and pride caught the BJP and Congress off guard as AAP beat all expectations with innovative methods

ne of the fundamental rules of forecasting is to make as many forecasts as possible and then publicise the ones you get right. On August 4, 2012, I wrote a piece on Firstpost in which I compared what would become the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) to a disruptive innovation. The term disruptive innovation was coined by Clayton Christensen, a professor of strategy at Harvard Business School. He defines it as “innovations that transform an existing market or create a new one by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility and affordability. It is initially formed in a narrow foothold market that appears unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents.” A great example of a disruptive innovation is Micromax. Micromax and a host of other Indian phone makers built up a significant presence in the smartphone market, while the biggest player Nokia was busy elsewhere. Bharti Beetel, which produced India's first landline phones which had buttons on them, did not wake to the opportunity of the mobile phone market. This despite the fact that its sister company Airtel was India's biggest mobile phone service provider. RCA, America’s leading radio company, did not see the rise of battery powered pocket transistors which were first made by Sony in 1955. Sony changed the way the world heard music by launching the Walkman and the CD player. But it handed over the digital music player market on a platter to Apple and other companies. Sony did not capture the mp3 player market because it feared that it would play havoc with all the


Vivek Kaul, Dec 9, 2013 music rights that it owned. When it comes to low cost airlines Southwest Airlines first woke up to the opportunity. None of the bigger players in the market like Pan American, British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta etc, saw the opportunity at that point of time. Even in an Indian case, a rank outsider Indigo has captured the low cost market, instead of incumbents like Air India and Jet Airways, which continue to make huge losses. There are scores of such examples in business, where the biggest player(or players) in the market has been rattled by a new player. AAP is a similar disruptive innovator. In the August 2012 piece, I had said that what “works to the advantage of disruptive innovators is the fact that the major players in the market ignore them initially and do not take them as a big enough force that deserves attention.” And this works to the advantage of the disruptive innovator, which can quietly keep doing its thing. The bigger player is not interested because the market that the disruptive innovator is catering to is too small for them to take seriously. Take the case of smartphones. Smartphones have been around since the late 1990s, but they only took off in the last few years. Hence, Nokia never got around to take them very seriously. When Sony first launched pocket transistors they catered primarily to teenagers. This led to RCA ignoring the market, because the bigger market was elsewhere. Apple's first personal computers were targeted towards the youth, leading to the existing players who manufacCopyright © 2012 Firstpost

tured minicomputers ignoring the market completely. Along similar lines, the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Congress, looked at AAP as a party which catered to the frustrations of the middle class. And given that the middle class in this country does not care to vote, the existing political parties felt that there was no point in paying attention to what the AAP was upto.

go with the doctor.” The only possible explanation for this change is the fact that the BJP came to realise, slightly late in the day, that the AAP was no pushover. Hence, it had to project a chief ministerial candidate with a clean image. And this got Dr Harsh Vardhan into the picture. The fact that it wasn't taken seriously by its opponents allowed the AAP to go about building itself right from scratch in Delhi. The results suggest that what the AAP has managed to do in the span of a little over a year is unprecedented. No other political party established from scratch has ever won the number of seats that it has, since independence, in its very first election. On various discussions that happened across television channels yesterday political analysts brought up the example of NT Rama Rao. NT Rama Rao stormed to power by winning the January 1983 assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh. His Telegu Desam Party won 199 out of the 294 assembly seats. In comparison, AAP's performance looks pale. But its worth remembering here that NT Rama Rao was the biggest Telgu film-star at that point of time. He may have been contesting elections for the first time, but everyone in Andhra Pradesh knew who he was. And given how crazy Andhra Pradesh was and continues to be about cinema, NTR did not have to start right from the start like AAP did in Delhi. Some others also compared AAP's success to the defeat that Mamata Banerjee handed out to the Left Front in West Bengal in 2011. While what Mamata did was huge, it is worth remembering that it took her almost three decades to do that. And when she moved out of the Congress Party to form the Trinamool Congress, a large section of the Congress Party moved with her. This meant that there was some sort of organisation that was present at the ground level when Mamata seriously thought of taking on the Left parties on her own. When the success of AAP is looked at with these factors in mind, it really is unprecedented. Another point that comes out here is what marCopyright © 2012 Firstpost

In fact, Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of Delhi for the last 15 years said so in several interviews. In an interview to the Open magazine published in early November, Dikshit said that “he(i.e. Arvind Kejriwal, the National Convener of the AAP) is not even on our radar.” In a rally without referring to Kejriwal, she even called him ‘barsaat ka keeda’. In another interview to Tehelka, Dikshit said, “My reaction to the Aam Aadmi Party is nothing..absolutely nothing.” By the time Congress woke up to the threat from the AAP, it reacted the only way it could, by ordering a probe into the foreign funding sources of the party. The Bhartiya Janata Party also woke up around mid October, six weeks before the election, and decided to project Dr Harsh Vardhan as its Delhi chief ministerial candidate. As the India Today reported on the issue, “Highly-placed sources in the BJP have told that the party wanted to go into the elections with a leader who had a clean image and that made it

keting gurus Al and Laura Ries make in their book The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. In the last few decades the biggest brands have been made through public relations and not through advertising. As Al Ries told me in a October 2008 interview that I did for the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) “Almost all of the recent brand successes have been public relations (PR) successes, not advertising successes...In its first 10 years, Starbucks spent less than $10 million (total) on advertising which is a small amount in a country of 300 million people. The Body Shop has never advertised. Yet recently, L'Oreal paid $1.1 billion to buy the company...Red Bull today is a worldwide brand with $3.3 billion in annual sales, yet the company does little advertising. Same is true about Google, Facebook, Twitter, which are now some of the biggest brands in the world.” In fact, the success of AAP is a very good example of the same. The party did not have enough money to go through the conventional route of advertising on television and in newspapers. They came up with innovative ways of advertising which did not need a lot of money, like getting their volunteers to stand with banners of the party at strategic traffic points. They also advertised on autorickshaws, which was a cheap and effective way of reaching a large number of people. In fact, they got spectacular coverage in the media by exposing corruption in business and crony capitalism. Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP were on the front pages of newspapers all over the country, for fairly long periods of time, over the last one year. In the end, this strategy was overused, businessmen cracked the whip and finally a large section of the media stopped covering there exposures. The door to door campaign in Delhi that it carried out was also a spectacular public relations exercise. As I said earlier, the big boys never really took the AAP seriously. They asked all the practical questions. Where would the AAP raise all the money to fight an election? How would they be able to put an effective organisation in place, in such a short period of time? How would they manage to achieve all that we have achieved in

the last sixty to hundred years, in a period of one year? The party did this and a lot more. It raised money directly from people, something that has been unheard of in Indian politics. The party also innovated when it came to reaching out to people, something expected from a disruptive innovator. It organised small mohalla sabhas attended by a few hundred people at a time, all across Delhi. Of course, existing political parties used to large rallies, did not see much worth in organising events where at best a few hundred people turned up. The AAP also used social media very effectively when it came to drumming up support, something no one other than Narendra Modi, has tried to do. The question is will the AAP be able to replicate its success in Delhi through other parts of the country? The answer is not simple. The incumbent politicians would like to believe that it will be very difficult for the AAP to play the game of caste so important in large parts of the country. But what should give them hope is the fact that the larger political parties are still not taking them seriously. A senior BJP leader said on NDTV India yesterday that comparing BJP with AAP was like comparing “Raja Bhoj with Gangu Teli”. Another BJP leader challenged them to win even a single seat out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharasthra. This tells us that the incumbent politicians are still not taking AAP seriously and feel that they will find it difficult to replicate their success outside Delhi. How successful AAP is outside Delhi, only time will tell us. To conclude, AAP's spectacular debut in Indian democracy was best summarised by anchor Punya Prasun Bapai on Aaj Tak yesterday, when he said “Jhadu, Tiranga Ke Saath Lehra Raha Hai”. Vivek Kaul is a writer. He tweets @kaul_vivek

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The end of an era: Sheila Dikshit loses to Kejriwal

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Sheila Dikshit ki bewaqoofi: The fall of the Lutyens regime
Middle class Delhites are no longer impressed by a politician’s ‘convent’ accent, or her understated polish of class. Age-old infatuation with status has given way to impatience, even resentment.
Lakshmi Chaudhry, Dec 9, 2013 ewakoof hain na hum," snapped a weary Sheila Dikshit when asked if she underestimated the Aam Aadmi Party. The quote unwittingly summed up the cluelessness of Delhi's political elite of which Dikshit was a leading light. More than the Congress party's decimated numbers, it is the former Chief Minister's personal fate that tells the bigger story. In the months leading up to the election, Dik-


shit dismissed Arvind Kejriwal with typical upper class condescension. “My reaction to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is nothing,” she told Tehelka, “Absolutely nothing.” It was the kind of hauteur only a politician of Dikshit's pedigree could summon. The daughter-in-law of Uma Shanker Dikshit, who was brought into politics by Rajiv Gandhi and kept close at hand by Sonia, was a card-carrying member of the Lutyen's elite. And in a city that worships privilege, she
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was its citizen number one. "Mrs Sheila Dikshit is far more difficult to defeat than her party, Congress, because she is still the person every Delhiwallah would be happy to welcome home as a guest, and then brag about it," wrote MJ Akbar in the Times of India. And yet defeated she was because the average Delhite-- including the residents of elite New Delhi constituency -- has changed. Middle class Delhites are no longer impressed by a politician's 'convent' accent, or her understated polish of class. Age-old infatuation with status has given way to impatience, even resentment. As with the Gandhis, 'elite' in politics reads increasingly as out-of-touch, and can be more easily be interpreted as downright callous. When she loftily refused to take responsibility for law and order in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape, saying “My own daughter is unsafe," Dikshit's insincerity enraged all the average Delhiwallahs who live underfoot Delhi's lalbatti culture. Her bizarre passivity in the face of escalating prices confirmed the CM's image as LBZ's resident Marie Antionette. 'Let them ride the metro,' she seemed to say, anytime someone complained about bijli or pyaaz. And it is Dikshit's bad luck that she landed as a rival the one man who would underline her privilege. Everything about Arvind Kejriwal — from his Amol Palekar demeanor to the name of his party to its lowly jhaadu symbol — screamed plebeian with a capital P. In contrast, he made Dikshit look less unfussy librarian and more

Lutyen matriarch. Her refusal to engage with him read not as a dismissal of AAP but of the aam aadmis and aurats he represented. Worse, Dikshit was also betrayed by her own; her fellow upper class liberals who preferred the genuine populism of a Kejriwal to the jaded Congress-style rhetoric of noblesse oblige. Hence her shocking defeat in the heart of Delhi's most expensive real estate. It is the Congress loyalists who deserted Dikshit, and proved her and her party's undoing -- even as most BJP supporters stayed true to their own. BJP's wise last-minute decision to change horses, and bet on the modest Doctor saab, likely saved them from losing ground to Kejriwal. A compromised, old style politician like Vijay Goel would have guaranteed an AAP victory. Talking heads on TV may natter on about the return of the Sonia coterie, but the real message from Delhi is that durbar-style politics and all those associated with it are now in great peril. In 'new' India, entrenched privilege in Indian politics can still be an advantage, but the right opponent can just as easily transform it into a fatal weakness. We no longer want a leader who can "give adequate voice to man on street," as Rahul Gandhi seems to believe. We much prefer a leader who is the man on the street. Kejriwal taught Sheila Dixit that bitter lesson on Sunday. No doubt, Narendra Modi is looking forward to doing the same in 2014. As he well knows, there is no one better equipped to bring down India's ruling dynasty than a former chaiwala.

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crushing loss to Kejriwal
Not too long after counting began on Sunday morning, the impending doom and gloom became evident.
hree-time chief minister and one-time darling of the middle class who refused to even acknowledge Arvind Kejriwal as a challenger was handed a humiliating defeat at the hands the rank newcomer.

Shock and awe after Sheila Dikshit’s


Pallavi Polanki, Dec 8, 2013 support. Asked whether she had failed to read the mood, Dikshit remarked sarcastically, "Bewakoof hai na hum. (We are fools aren't we?) " Not too long after counting began on Sunday morning, the impending doom and gloom became evident with the Congress's tally struggling to move beyond single digits. Dikshit's lead in her home base of New Delhi was short-lived. And hope quickly evaporated as Kejriwal's margin of lead grew from 4000 to 7000 before the election was called in Kejriwal's favour who won by a massive margin of over 25,000 votes. There was stunned silence at Dikshit's Moti Lal Nehru marg residence. Dejected party-workers were lost for words, some of them blaming "price-rise" and the "youth-support for Kejriwal" for shock defeat. The residence remains deserted with only friends and family permitted inside to meet her.

A visibly upset and disappointed Sheila Dikshit emerged from her residence where she remained holed up all morning to make a brief statement to the media shortly before 1 pm. Refusing to take questions, Dikshit accepted defeat and thanked the people of Delhi for their

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ends: All you need to know
The highs and lows of her 15 year tenure

Sheila Dikshit’s 15-year tenure


FP Staff, Dec 8, 2013 her father-in-law's work. Gandhi nominated Sheila as a member of the Indian delegation to the UN Commission on the status of women. She was elected as an MP from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh in 1984 and became a minister in Rajiv Gandhi's government between 1986 and 1989. In 1998, she was appointed president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), being given charge of a party that was riven by factionalism with just six months to go for Assembly polls. Nudged along by an anti-incumbency wave against the BJP government owing to a
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n 2003, on a twin plank of governance and development, Sheila Dikshit, then 65, became the first Delhi Chief Minister to get a second successive term. She won with a twothirds majority even as Congress governments in three other states were shown the door on an anti-incumbency wave. It was only upon her marriage into the family of former Union Minister Uma Shankar Dikshit that she was exposed to politics. (She married Dikshit's son Vinod, an IAS officer.)

Her first big assignment came when Indira Gandhi began to notice her while she was handling

serious onion crisis in Delhi, Sheila's Congress won 52 out of 70 seats that year. Good governance and infrastructure development have remained Sheila Dikshit's keywords throughout the three terms she has enjoyed since. A big plank for her next election would be the introduction of the bhagidari (partnership) system with residents' associations of Delhi in governnace decisions. The bhagidari system helped set right several Delhi ills -- pollution, encroachments, traffic chaos and more. A variety of social welfare schemes focusing on pension for marginalised groups, an improved Public Distribution System are also among her achievements. The big downers in recent years -- the 2010 Commonwealth Games corrruption scam, and the December 16 gangrape in Delhi and the outrage subsequently. In the case of the former, Sheila insisted that nothing has been proved, and in the latter she threw her hands up saying law and order was not in her hands and that she

does not control the police. And then she didn't cover herself in glory when she ventured to say that women in Delhi should not venture out after 8 pm. A Wall Street Journal profile of Sheila quotes Sidharth Mishra, author of “Capital Phenomenon,” a book about Delhi, as saying Dikshit gave subordinates “functional autonomy”. Her other big asset has been her networking with the legislative party. “Her main strength is her legislators, who she knows have good local connections,” Mishra is quoted as saying. From the Delhi Metro to a string of flyovers and from a brand new public transport system to accepting that the BRTS simply does not work for Delhi, she has put Delhi firmly on the global cities map. If India's growth rate is 8.33 percent, Delhi's has been 10.33 percent. On Sunday, however, the much-loved CM lost what was a chance to make history with a record fourth term.

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Kejriwal doesn’t worry me: Why Sheila will have to eat her words
Sheila Dikshit has always had a rather low opinion of AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal but that might change. Here are five things she had said about Kejriwal in the past.

fter winning the New Delhi seat for three terms, Sheila Dikshit was convincingly defeated by AAP's Arvind Kejriwal today in perhaps the biggest upset in the elections across the four states.


FP Politics, Dec 8, 2013 Here are five things Dikshit had said about the AAP convenor who defeated her today: "His entry into New Delhi does not worry me... I don't want to comment on his campaign. My campaign is reflected in my style of work. I believe in one-on-one meetings and have been doing this continuously," Dikshit to CNN-IBN on 4 June. "The common man doesn't believe in what Kejriwal is talking about," Dikshit on 28 June. "It’s a phenomenon. It might carry on; it may just vanish," Dikshit to Reuters on 30 October. "Ask Opposition not to target us on corruption. I would want to ask them to give us details of where the corruption is and not talk without evidence," Dikshit to Times of India on 14 October . The person who came with a very clean image now has a darkened image. That’s all I can say,” Dikshit said after sting operation on AAP that alleged corruption in the party.

Sheila Dikshit has never had kind things to say about her opponent since he decided to contest against her and pit his party against the Congress in the party. Whether that will change remains to be seen, but she's going to be a lot more wary of him if they're ever in pitted against each other again.

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By the numbers: Why Kejriwal’s
victory over Dikshit is so incredible
Kejriwal beat Dikshit by a whopping 25864 votes, a margin of defeat that the Congress leader herself has been unable to hand opponents.
FP Politics, Dec 9, 2013 No one would have given Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal an outside chance against Sheila Dikshit about a year ago. However, the AAP leader is now going to go down in history as a leader who handed the three-time Delhi Chief Minister one of the most humiliating losses in her political career. Kejriwal beat Dikshit by a whopping 25864 votes, a margin of defeat that the Congress leader herself has been unable to hand opponents over the years that she has contested Delhi Assembly elections. In 1998, Sheila Dikshit beat the BJP candidate Kirti Azad by over 5,600 votes. 1998

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And then in 2003, she beat her opponent by over 12,000 votes. 2003

In 2008, she improved her tally to improve her victory margin even more to over 13,000 votes.

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Harsh Vardhan leads BJP to victory but falls short

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Delhi election results: Vardhan thanks

Dikshit, congratulates Kejriwal
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan on Sunday thanked voters for giving the party the maximum number of seats in 70-member Delhi assembly.
PTI, Dec 8, 2013


ew Delhi: BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan on Sunday thanked voters for giving the party the maximum number of seats in 70-member Delhi assembly. "I am confident that we will be able to serve the people of Delhi," he said, declining to take questions about the formation of next government as the party looked short of majority in the assembly. Vardhan extended his wishes to Arvind Kejriwal

of AAP and outgoing CM Sheila Dikshit, who is likely to lose her New Delhi seat. "I will congratulate Kejriwal on the good show of his party against expectations. I will also offer my thanks to Dikshit for serving Delhi for 15 years," he said. He expressed happiness over his resounding victory from Krishna Nagar constituency and said he was thankful to people for electing him with a whopping margin of over 43,150 votes.
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Dr Saab to CM nominee: Meet Vardhan,

the man who united BJP in Delhi
Harsh Vardhan, anointed BJP’s Chief Ministerial nominee less than a month before the Delhi Assembly polls after a bitter internal squabble, steadfastly united various factions to bring enthusiasm among workers to keep the party on course to regain power from Congress after 15 years.


PTI, Dec 8, 2013 the 1998, 2003 and 2008 assembly elections. Fondly called "Doctor Saab" by supporters and opponents alike, Vardhan is known for his efforts in eradicating polio in Delhi when he was the Health Minister. He is known to share a very cordial relationship with RSS and people close to him say he still retains the Swayamsevak's tendency to downplay the "Swayam" (self) giving precedence to "Seva" (service). Senior Delhi BJP leaders said his anointment to the top post has helped the party give a tough fight to both the greenhorn Aam Admi Party and Congress. In the campaigning, Vardhan attacked the Congress on range of issues including price rise, corruption, rising power tariff, scarcity of water, unemployment and promised to offer a clean government besides promising to slash by 30 percent the power tariff, an emotive issue for Delhiites. During his Ministership in the Delhi government (1993-98), people had found him remarkably accessible and officials respected him for his hands-on style of functioning. "He joined politics with the laudable objective of using his considerable medical knowledge and experience for serving the common man," former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said once about Vardhan. Apart from being an effective minister, he also proved his organisational capabilities by rebuilding the BJP's operations in Delhi, virtually from scratch, after the party's defeat in the 2003 Assembly Election. In late 2003, he was appointed as president pf Delhi BJP. He is credited with rebuilding the party at the grassroot
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ew Delhi: Harsh Vardhan, anointed BJP's Chief Ministerial nominee less than a month before the Delhi Assembly polls after a bitter internal squabble, steadfastly united various factions to bring enthusiasm among workers to keep the party on course to regain power from Congress after 15 years.An RSS member since his younger days, 59-year-old Vardhan, a practicing ENT surgeon known for his disarming simplicity, sucessfully connected with the voters while leading a highvoltage campaign from the front despite undercurrents of friction in the Delhi party unit.

People close to him said Vardhan's easy-going attitude and disarming smile were his greatest assets because of which the party drew support from various quarters, some of them unexpected. Vardhan had entered the political fray in 1993 when he successfully contested the Assembly polls from Krishna Nagar constituency in East Delhi in 1993. He went on to retain the seat in

level after the party's defeat in the assembly polls that year. In April 2007, the party recaptured power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and in 2008, the party emerged victorious in the Delhi Cantonment Board election under his leadership. Vardhan, known for his simplicity and amiable leadership style, is admired by many leaders belonging to various political parties. Recognising his leadership qualities, Vardhan, who hails from Baniya community, was given presidentship of Delhi BJP for three terms between 2003 and 2008. Vardhan managed to bring enthusiasm among grass root workers whose morale had taken a beating following party's image of a "divided house" when Goel openly staked his claim for the post. Born on December 13, 1954, he had done his schooling from the Anglo-Sanskrit Victoria Jubilee Senior Secondary School in Daryaganj in central Delhi. Later, he did his MBBS and specialisation in ENT from GSVM Medical College in Kanpur. As a Health Minister, he had launched the polio eradication initiative in Delhi in October, 1994. Taking cue from the success of the programme, the Union Health Ministry adopted the same as a national programme later. He had also

visited various states to persuade the health ministers to cooperate in making the country polio free. He is also credited with bringing the Delhi Prohibition of smoking and non smokers health protection bill. Soon, many states followed Delhi's example, culminating in a Central legislation banning smoking in public places in 2002. The World Health Organisation, recognising his contribution, had awarded him the Director-General's Commendation Medal in May, 1998. In December 2004, Vardhan had come out with his own account on how he conceived and implemented the Pulse Polio programme. The book, titled - A Tale of Two Drops -- was released by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Married to Nutan, a specialist in hospital administration who preferred to be a homemaker, Vardhan has two sons and a daughter. Vardhan is also involved in promoting ideologies of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, the founder of the Jan Sangh, and Deen Dayal Upadhyay. As secretary of the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Foundation, he has taken up projects to assemble the collected works of Mukerjee, to restore his house in Kolkata and to promote research in topics of national importance.

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How the RSS went all out for Harsh Vardhan - but fell short
The RSS in Delhi pulled out all the stops to make Harsh Vardhan the CM, but its efforts underestimated the Aam Aadmi Party wave.
Arun Anand, Dec 8, 2013 he Bharatiya Janata Party should probably thank its ideological patron - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - in Delhi for not bearing the complete brunt of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It was a massive grassrootslevel operation in typical RSS style which helped the BJP salvage the situation during the last 10 days of campaigning.


Harsh Vardhan's name was announced as the BJP’s CM candidate. Thus began a quiet operation in the second week of November. The organisation identified 1,700 “bastis”(habitats) in the city comprising around 4,500 polling booths where it had a strong presence. There are around 12,000 polling booths in Delhi. The RSS had set up 1,700 teams to cover each of the polling booths within a span of 10 days. Each team comprised two to three RSS functionaries. These polling booths were spread across Delhi. They were supposed to cover it within a span of 10 days. The teams carried out their “mass contact” programme till 3 December, a day prior to the polls. The members of the teams were carefully selected and comprised local RSS functionaries who knew the area well and the residents too. They provided continuous feedback about the situation at ground zero to their senior functionaries who in turn communicated to the BJP leaders. The mandate of the teams was clear: “Visit every home in the area assigned and urge them to vote for a nationalistic and patriotic party.” It is interesting to note that these teams did not openly ask the people to vote for the BJP. The message was subtly conveyed though. The RSS's Delhi State “Parachar Pramukh,” Rajiv Tuli, said: “The Sarsanghachalak (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat) had said this year in his address on Vijayadashami that swayamsevaks should urge the people to come out and vote in large numbers. That is why our swayamsevaks urged the people to come out and vote. We wanted to ensure 100 per cent vote. ”

In fact, while a number of BJP leaders had been dismissive of the AAP in a fortnight before polls and not taking the threat to the BJP’s bastions seriously enough, the RSS had read the writing on the wall to some extent, though not fully. One of the prime reasons why the RSS worked so actively for BJP was because it had become a prestige issue for the Sangh. Dr Harsh Vardhan was the RSS's choice. Resistance within the BJP about going to the polls with a CM nominee was vetoed by the RSS as it pushed Harsh Vardhan’s name as the one and the only choice. To ensure that its choice was not proven wrong, the Delhi RSS swung into action as soon as

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Tuli further added: “We urged the people to vote for a patriotic and nationalistic party and make the right choice.” While visiting these families, the RSS did not distribute any literature. The teams just held informal conversations. They were also able to gauge the general mood, but, as a senior RSS functionary admitted, “We could sense a strong anti-Congress sentiment and an undercurrent for AAP but frankly even we could not gauge the extent of support for AAP.” However, a cautious RSS had activated its network on polling day, especially as reports started coming in during the early hours of polling that AAP was making a strong dent in the BJP’s

favourite seats. RSS functionaries across the city ran a parallel network about which even some BJP candidates had no clue. Thus many BJP supporters were brought out from their homes to vote. The RSS can take solace from the fact that it helped the BJP to emerge as the single largest party in Delhi, but the results also indicate that despite the might of the RSS, the BJP has struggled to reach the half-way mark. That could be a cause of worry for not only the BJP but also for the RSS! (Arun Anand is a senior journalist and tracks RSS and BJP)

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majority in Delhi, says Harsh Vardhan
The hung verdict in Delhi Assembly polls has raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital. With 31 seats, BJP emerged as the single largest party but is still short of the majority mark of 36 in the 70-member Assembly.
FP Staff, Dec 8, 2013 he hung verdict in Delhi Assembly polls has raised intriguing questions about government formation in the national capital. With 31 seats, BJP emerged as the single largest party but is still short of the majority mark of 36 in the 70-member Assembly. The second largest party is the newbie Aam Admi Party with 28 followed by Congress with 8 seats. One seat each has gone to an Independent, JD(U) and Akali Dal, which is an ally of BJP. The options for BJP are to either stake claim to form the government or wait for Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to invite its leader Harsh Vardhan to do so as leader of the single largest party. However, the catch is that the Lt Governor is likely to ask a BJP government, so invited, to prove its majority in the house within a specified time. Given the composition of the House, it is unlikely that BJP would be able to prove its majority unless there are defections from the Congress or AAP which may not happen. In an interview with NDTV, Harsh Vardhan said the party will not coax or resort to any horsetrading to form a majority in New Delhi. While Vardhan admitted that the BJP underestimated the support Aaam Aadmi Party was enjoying in the capital, he reiterated that he will not use unfair means to get support for a majority. " I am in a helpless situation. Since I do not have 36 seats, I cannot be part of any government formation in Delhi... I do not know what will happen," he added.

BJP won’t resort to horse-trading to form


Meanwhile, Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel said the party will not resort to any unfair means to reach the magic figure of 36 and prefer to sit in the Opposition. "We will not resort to any unfair means to get support of the required number of MLAs. The people of Delhi have given the verdict and we respect it. We will prefer to sit in opposition rather than forming a government through horse trading," Goel said. Former BJP President and incharge of Delhi Nitin Gadkari said, "We will form government if we get support in natural process. Otherwise we would like to sit in Opposition." If there is no way out of the impasse, there may be a spell of the Lt Governor's rule for a maximum of six months in one go which could be extended up to one year. Talking about various options, a Constitutional expert said a lot would depend upon the discretion of Lt Governor and whom he invites to form the government. Another expert, S K Sharma, former Director of Lok Sabha Secretariat, said in most likelihood the Lt Governor will invite the single largest party to form the government and give it a chance to prove majority on the floor of the House. "The Supreme Court in the S R Bommai case had ruled that the House is the appropriate forum for proving the strength of any ruling party," Sharma said.

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Will talk only to Modi, want deputy CM

post: Delhi’s lone independent MLA
With the Delhi elections giving both the BJP and AAP a mandate just short of a clear majority, the political kingmaker in the elections is now the lone independent candidate - Rambir Shokeen.
FP Staff, Dec 9, 2013

fter the Delhi electorate gave both the BJP and AAP a mandate just short of a clear majority, the political kingmaker in the national capital could now be lone independent elected representative - Rambir Shokeen.


dka constituency admits he is a big fan of BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi. "I am not in talks with BJP or any other party yet. But if Modi asks me, then I will talk to the BJP. I am a huge fan of Modi," Shokeen told CNN-IBN. And what post does Shokeen want? "The only condition of joining the BJP is the post of deputy CM, I don't want anything to else. If Modi offers me the post of deputy CM in Delhi, then I will join BJP." Shokeen said he will go back to his people and ask them which party he should join - BJP or AAP. "Whoever they like and feel they can trust, I will join that party," he said.

But Shokeen comes with a set of conditions. While he denies having spoken to any party yet, the new elected representative from the Mun-

While BJP sources have said that he also had an additional demand, that Vijay Goel be made the Chief Minister, Shokeen says "he will see what happens."

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from AAP in Delhi
Perhaps smarting from not winning Delhi outright, BJP leaders took to denigrating their latest challenger, suggesting AAP was unfit for governance.
FP Politics, Dec 9, 2013 he assembly elections were supposed to end in a 4-0 sweep for the BJP but someone forgot to tell the Aam Aadmi party about it. Founded just over a year ago, AAP made a barnstorming debut in Delhi, winning 28 seats and preventing the BJP, which got 32 seats, from gaining an outright majority.

Why BJP won’t get any help


The triumphant wave at AAP headquarters has also given the party the impetus it was looking for to take the plunge into national politics, which appears to have ruffled the BJP’s feathers even more. Perhaps smarting from not winning Delhi outright, BJP leaders took to denigrating their latest challenger, suggesting AAP was unfit for governance and that it would be swept aside by Modi-mania in the 2014 Lok Sabha During a discussion on NDTV, a BJP representative warned the AAP about showing humility and of the consequences of the coming of Modi. "The anti-Congress mandate is clear," he said. “All surveys have showed Narendra Modi is way ahead of Arvind Kejriwal as a preferred Prime Ministerial candidate. So if AAP doesn't respect that, the people will reject them. What they do - the wire cutting gimmicks - is exciting, but it isn't governance.”

AAP’s success also put a crimp in the premise that a BJP wave is sweeping the nation. While the BJP rolled to power in Rajasthan, boosted its majority in Madhya Pradesh, and edged ahead in Chhattishgarh, it was essentially a twohorse race between it and the Congress in those three states. In Delhi however, voters were presented with a third alternative and a sustantial number picked the newest kid on the block. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Arvind Kejriwal, the founder and face of AAP, thumping threetime Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit by over 25,000 votes.

It was a sentiment that would be echoed by Ravi Shankar Prasad on CNN-IBN, when he said India is yearning for a change and that those people who have voted for AAP in Delhi would vote for Narendra Modi in the national elections. Even a seasoned politician like Arun Jaitley felt the need to criticise the AAP after the party refused to join hands with either the Congress of the BJP in Delhi. "You're an insider already and you're still positioning yourself as an outsider,” Jaitley said on NDTV. “What does that even mean? It means that you
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are embarrassed to be a part of a government from the fear of being criticized. What kind of politics is that?" Jaitley, who comes from the traditional paradigm of politic insisted that parties need to take pragmatic decisions and cannot be motivated by idealism. He, and other BJP leaders, also suggested that the AAP’s desire to sit in the opposition represented a shirking of responsibility and showed they coud not be taken seriously. However, Prashant Bhushan of the AAP rubbished these arguments. "We are not just an alternative political party,” he said. “We are trying to give the country an alternative brand of politics. How can we gang up with the same people, whose politics we have condemned? People are fed up of the duplicity and communalism of the BJP and Congress, hence they voted for us." He was backed up by Yogendra Yadav, who as usual spoke in measured tones. Yadav pointed out that the only possible way of 'cleansing' Delhi of he traditional form politics practised by the BJP and the Congress was to win an outright majority. Failing that, the party had no option but to take up the guise of a principled opposition. It was therefore juvenile to assert that the AAP didn’t want the responsibility of government because they refused to partner or support the other two parties. They were simply sticking to their principles and promises on the back of which they had been elected.

Yogendra Yadav then smartly turned the tables on Jaitley. "Actually, I can throw the suggestion back to Mr Jaitley. Why doesn't BJP ally with Congress and lead the government? If they can say, 'how can we do it', why can't we say the same too? People who have voted for us have done so because they are wary of the same corrupt political traditions. We can't do some back door deal with any of them," he said. . Jaitley and others also argued that the AAP was not equipped to govern, saying it was easy to point fingers but much harder to actually lead and that if AAP did actually have to govern, the party would be found out. Once again Yogendra Yadav would not be drawn in to a mud slinging argument. Instead, he simply pointed out how the BJP and the Congress had been wrong about the APP from the beginning. “At first you said we'll fail if we formed a party. They you said we'll fail if we contest the polls. Now you're saying we'll not last long enough," he pointed out. While Harsh Vardan, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Delhi admitted the party had underestimated the AAP, it seems like the BJP’s central leadership is determined to keep underestimating this upstart. Whether the BJP like it or not, the AAP is now set to grow beyond a Delhi-centric party and already has 307 district units in place across the country. "After this performance, more people will want to join us and fight for us," Prashant Bhushan said.

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How Delhi’s voters picked their MLAs

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Delhi election results: Congress

decimated in its strongholds
In pulling off the biggest upset in recent election history by defeating Sheila Dikshit, Arvind Kejriwal and his spectacular debut has brought the curtains down on an era of a decade-and-a-half of uninterrupted Congress rule.


Pallavi Polanki, Dec 8, 2013 last four elections – have abandoned the party. In three of those seats, the Aam Admi Party’s candidates have achieved stunning victories, with the BJP snatching the Uttam Nagar seat from the Congress heavy weight Mukesh Sharma. AAP pulled off a remarkable victory in South Delhi's Jangpura constituency defeating fourtime MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah by close to 2000 votes. Former PWD minister Raj Kumar Chouhan,
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ew Delhi - In pulling off the biggest upset in recent election history by defeating Sheila Dikshit, Arvind Kejriwal and his spectacular debut has brought the curtains down on an era of a decade-and-a-half of uninterrupted Congress rule. The Congress party’s serial MLAs -- some of them in power longer than Dikshit -- have been decisively voted out by Delhi’s voters. Constituencies long known to be strongholds of the Congress party such as Uttam Nagar, Jangpura, Ambedkar Nagar, Mongolpuri – all of which have voted for the Congress party in the

who was the favourite to win his fifth term from the Mongol Puri seat, has been yet another casualty of the AAP wave. Chouhan lost by a wide margin of 10,000 votes to the Rakhi Birla of AAP. In another shocker, former speaker of the Delhi Assembly and former Delhi Congress chief Prem Singh, who hasn’t lost an election since the 1955, finished third, losing his seat to AAP’s Ashok Kumar. Only three former ministers of the Dikshit government survived the anti-incumbency wave. Former food and civl supplies minister Haroon Yusuf who retained his seat from Ballimaran, former health minister A K Walia from Laxmi Nagar and former urban development minister Arvinder Singh Lovely was voted back to power from Gandhi Nagar, but by half the margin he

won in 2008. Three-time Congress MLAs, who were considered a sure shot ticket to victory, too have been have been swept away by the anti-Congress wave. Subhash Chopra from Kalkaji, Naseeb Singh from Vishwas Nagar and Narendra Nath from Shahadra lost to their BJP rivals and Veer Singh Dhingan from Seempuri, Mala Ram Gangwal from Madipur and Rajesh Jain from Sadar Bazar lost to AAP candidates. Reduced to eight seats from the a tally of 43 in 2008, the remaining five Congress candidates who won are Prahlad Sawhney from Chandini Chowk, Asif Mohammad from Okhla, Hasan Ahmed from Mustafabad, Chaudhury Mateen Ahmed from Seelampur and Jai Kishen from Sultanpur Majra.

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for dynastic politics
Despite being a BJP stronghold, the upmarket south Delhi constituency of Greater Kailash which voted for V K Malhotra in 2008 gave his son Ajay Malhotra the thumbs down
Pallavi Polanki, Dec 8, 2013

Delhi elections spell gloom


ew Delhi: In a vote against politics of dynasty, Delhi voters rejected three out of four sons of prominent politicians who contested from the BJP and the Congress tickets. The most shocking of all being the defeat of Ajay Malhotra, the son of veteran BJP leader and chief ministerial candidate in the last assembly election V K Malhotra.

Despite being a BJP stronghold, the upmarket south Delhi constituency of Greater Kailash which voted for V K Malhotra in 2008 gave his son Ajay Malhotra the thumbs down. Even though Malhotra senior had won by a wide margin of 10,000, the family name failed to carry Ajay who was washed away by the AAP wave which saw their candidate Saurabh Bharadwaj win by a massive 13,000 votes. The other two sons of veteran politicians who met the same fate were BJP leader O P Babbar’s son Rajiv who lost from Tilak Nagar and son of controversial Congress leader Sajjan Kumar Jagparvesh Kumar who was defeated in Sangam Vihar. Rajiv and Parvesh lost to AAP candidates Jarnail Singh and Dinesh Mohaniya, respectively. Parvesh Sahib Singh was the only son of a politician to make it to the assembly. Son of former Delhi CM Sahib Singh Verma, Parvesh won the Mehrauli seat defeating the AAP candidate Narinder by a margin of 4500.

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than 1% used right to reject
Proving everyone who predicted a landslide victory for NOTA wrong, it appears that the people of Delhi preferred for a ‘positive vote’.
Soumik Mukherjee, Dec 8, 2013 Vinay Kumar, a voter from Patparganj. From the reaction of voters, it seems that the rise of AAP has been one of the major reasons why the much debated NOTA had few takers. "The option would have been valid if I had to choose between the bad and the evil. But our minds were made up that our vote would go to AAP," says Harpal, a voter from the New Delhi constituency which is heading towards an unthinkable victory for Arvind Kejriwal over incumbent CM Sheila Dikshit. The political parties, however, claim that NOTA did, however, create a certain pressure as there was a strong apolitical wave before the election. "The same apolitical wave that has given AAP a leverage could possibly give NOTA a heads-up, but thankfully people preferred to vote for the candidates," said a state BJP leader. Political analysts believe that in a triangular election and more importantly in an urban election like Delhi, NOTA is redundant. "It was a good move to try it as a pilot project in this election but in an election like Delhi, NOTA is invalid. Here people had enough options to choose from. But it will be useful in states such as West Bengal or UP or Tamil Nadu, where the local people vote for respective candidates under immense pressure from political strongmen," says a journalist cum political analyst. Now with the final results only an hour away it seems that the Arvind Kejriwal magic not only uprooted the Congress government but it also gave a positive direction to voters.

Delhi result: NOTA loses, less


n the run up to the Delhi Assembly elections, in terms of speculation and hype, the only contender that came anywhere close to matching the attention that was lavished on Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party was neither a candidate not a party. IT was another new entrant in Indian electoral politics -NOTA, or None Of The Above, the right to reject handed to the voters through a Supreme Court order.

However, as the results unfolded, one thing was clear -- voters in Delhi had no place for NOTA. So far, according to Election Commission updates, only less than 1 percent votes in Delhi were polled for the NOTA button. In a few constituencies such as Bijwasan, Sangam Vihar, it reached 1 percent. Proving everyone who predicted a landslide victory for NOTA wrong, it appears that the people of Delhi preferred for a 'positive vote'. "There is no point wasting a vote using NOTA. It was an opportunity for us to opt for change for the first of its kind election in Delhi," said

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Beyond Delhi: Lessons for Congress and BJP

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AAP has changed in politics
The spectacular showing of the AAP in Delhi will change national politics in 2014 even if Arvind Kejriwal’s party does not win too many seats

Delhi election 2013: Six things

he assembly elections have yielded their results, but one result will dominate national politics in 2014 – the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the prominence of its underlying message. After being denied a clear-cut victory in Delhi, the BJP will be tempted to say that the issues in the national elections will be different, and that Narendra Modi will be a more important factor in April-May 2014. But that would be underestimating the real impact of the AAP, which goes beyond its immediate performance in Delhi.


R Jagannathan, Dec 9, 2013 proved that a third option is possible – even if it does not win. In many states, there are third and fourth parties that can now combine with AAP and queer the pitch for the national parties. This means all parties have to rethink their strategies. Second, Delhi is not just any other state. Its citizens come from all over north India, and how they voted may impact decisions back in their home states. Pollsters will have to figure out how Biharis, UP-ites and Dalits voted in Delhi, since it could point to potential shifts back home too. Third, AAP is setting the agenda for clean politics. After the results, all parties have to begin wondering whether they can win with the sheer number of criminals in their midst. This is particularly true of the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which will be decisive for all parties in 2014. All parties will have to, at the very least, reduce the number of criminals and corrupt candidates the next time. Trying to do this can result in short-term revolts within parties, but some parties may consider this well worth the risk. Fourth, while AAP is not a national force as yet, and its mobilising powers may not be as strong in other states as in Delhi, the fact is national elections are won with wafer-thin majorities. In UP, the party winning 30 percent of the vote takes the bulk of the seats. This is the same in almost every state. What this means is that if the AAP is able to garner even 2-5 percent of the popular vote, even if it doesn’t win, it will impact the election results. Example: In Maharashtra, the mere existence of Raj Thackeray’s MNS has robbed the SenaCopyright © 2012 Firstpost

There are six things that will now inevitably change and if the big parties fail to take note, they will pay a price – as the BJP nearly did in Delhi. All parties will be impacted by the AAP phenomenon. First, given the importance of the Delhi vote to the national audience, the clear message coming through is that TINA (there is no alternative) is a much over-rated factor in elections. Till yesterday, you had to think of the Congress and the BJP as the most viable alternatives to each other, both in Delhi and nationally. AAP has

BJP combine of possible victory at least twice. In Andhra, Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam (now merged with the Congress) took away a chunk of the vote and enabled YS Rajasekhara Reddy to make a clear sweep in 2009. This time, the Andhra Pradesh vote may be even more unpredictable in view of the Telangana factor. Small players can make a huge difference. This is why AAP could conceivably change the landscape for 2014 even if it does not win a single seat. Fifth, for the BJP in particular, the current strategy centering around the incompetence of the central government will have to be nuanced and possibly reworked. It will have to take note of the new kid – on the block, and the new issues he is bringing to the fore. It is no longer possible to pit Narendra Modi against Rahul Gandhi and hope for a walkover. Given the high media savviness of AAP and the likelihood of the party getting more national play on the media in the coming months, one cannot rule out the possibility of the focus shifting to larger issues beyond the Congress’ incompetence. In this scenario, Modi’s pitch may need altering. Sixth, the Muslim vote is going to matter to all

parties this time – even more than usual. For the last few years now, several Muslim parties have been coming to the forefront – from Assam (AUDF) to Maharashtra (MIM, Welfare Party) to West Bengal (Welfare Party, Social Democratic Party), and Uttar Pradesh (Peace Party). In last year’s Jangipur Lok Sabha bypoll, for example, Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit barely squeaked through as two Muslim parties cut into his vote. The Welfare Party of India and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) polled 41,620 and 24,691 votes, while the Congress won by a mere 2,500 votes. With the AAM in play, it is not inconceivable that new alliances will be formed, for there is now strong evidence that Muslims are tired of voting for Congress and some of the regional parties (Samajwadi) merely to keep the BJP away. In Delhi too, a significant chuck of Muslims may have voted for AAP. The systemic impact of the Aam Aadmi Party will thus go far beyond what its own immediate prospects indicate. And this is what could prove very important in 2014.

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Assembly election result: Modi can’t

ignore Kejriwal’s AAP anymore
The pollsters have more or less got it right, and AAP is the big winner in 2013. This changes the neture of the challenge in 2014 for all political parties.
R Jagannathan, Dec 8, 2013


ven as we are mid-way through the election result trends in the four major assemblies of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Delhi, the broad trend seems to be thumping wins for the BJP in the first two, a challenging revival of the Congress in Chhattisgarh (though a win can’t be predicted for either party at this time), and a spectacular debut by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, which will probably rob the BJP of a clear majority.

a strong message of idealism and the ability to channel and organise public support effectively. The interesting thing about AAP is not that it has made waves so quickly after formation—regional parties like Telugu Desam have done that before—but that it is largely an urban party, driven by the middle and lower-middle classes. It heralds the change that urban India is seeking in politics. Third, while it is true that assembly election results cannot be extrapolated to decide how national elections may pan out—both Delhi and Chhattisgarh may vote differently in 2014— what is clear is that the Congress is on a slippery slope. It will surely make course corrections and try and pull back, but from now on the momentum is in the other direction. Fourth, the resounding defeat of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and the close fight in Chhattisgarh indicate that freebies are not a sure way to win elections. Gehlot, in his last year, has been flooding Rajasthan with freebies (food, health, etc). Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh has been widely lauded for his cheap rice scheme. Sheila Dikshit's Delhi also announced the launch of the food security scheme before the elections. But barring dirt-poor Chhattisgarh, it seems that using taxpayer money to buy votes is not any more a critical factor in elections. At best, these schemes may accentuate an existing trend. Fifth, the Narendra Modi factor will be discussed endlessly, with his critics pointing to what happened in Delhi, and his backers talking about the sweep in Rajasthan and MP, and the creditable performance in Delhi and Chhattisgarh. The reality is somewhere in between.
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But some broad conclusions can clearly be drawn from these trends – regardless of what the final seat count numbers are in these four states. First, the pollsters appear to have got it more or less right – even in Chhattisgarh and Delhi, where there was a tight race on. Their predictions are well within the margins of error they had predicted. Second, the biggest victor is clearly AAP, which has not only gatecrashed the Delhi election scene in one fell swoop, but also established the viability of new parties in politics if they have

While Chhattisgarh was probably fought totally on local issues, Rajasthan—which adjoins Gujarat—clearly benefited from Modi’s extensive campaigning even though Vasundhara Raje could possibly have won even without Modi. What Modi’s campaigning achieved was probably a sharper sweep for the BJP in Rajasthan. In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan clearly carried the day, and Modi may not have added much to the tally—though one can’t say that conclusively. In Delhi, if the BJP crosses 30-32 seats, one can say Modi probably prevented AAP from emerging as the biggest party—which it could well have. In short, Modi made a difference – but it would be fair to say that the local elections could not have been won purely by him. In the national elections, though, he may be a bigger factor, and this is what the BJP will be hoping for. Sixth, the AAP victory is also a warning signal to regional parties. Thus far, all commentators have been glibly telling the BJP that in the states where regional parties are strong, the BJP may not be able to make much headway. But AAP is an idea, and the regional parties do not necessarily have a better image than the Congress or BJP in their states. If AAP becomes a factor in metros such as Mumbai and many state capitals, one can’t rule out a dent in the regional vote too. The regional parties have only one differentiator from the national parties – being closer to local issues, and being able to choose their own leaders. With AAP in the fray, they too will have to rethink their strategy. They can’t afford to make the BJP’s mistake of underestimating the challenge from AAP till just a month before the Delhi election, when they changed their chief ministerial candidate. The BJP now has to reckon not only with the Congress, but also a freshly-minted party (AAP) in the urban areas. Even though the Delhi exit polls showed a high overlap between AAP and Modi supporters, given six more months, and

the announcement by AAP that it will contest in many more places, the BJP will have to change its messaging if it is to contain the damage from AAP. If the anti-incumbency vote is split, one cannot expect the Modi additional vote alone to deliver victory for the BJP/NDA. The Congress has been given a shock, but it now has time to set things right. Four months is enough time to change its message and candidates. And the message clearly cannot be freebies and the Gandhi family. It has now nothing to lose by dumping all its old and doubtful candidates and trying new faces with less antiincumbency problems. The Congress can make a small comeback if the Dynasty takes a back seat and instead allows local leaders to come to the fore, fully empowered. The regional parties will have to take note of the recent election results. There are small city-based parties already in existence—like the Loksatta Party in Andhra Pradesh—and it would make sense for them to align with AAP. A state like Andhra Pradesh, which is already in the throes of political crisis due to the Telangana issue, may be just ripe for an interloper like AAP-Loksatta to overturn all conventional logic significantly. Most important, while negative campaigning worked for AAP—it had no record to defend— the BJP and regional parties have to make a positive pitch for themselves. The BJP remains the frontrunner, but it will have to rethink its old gameplan of only targeting the Congress with the Modi aura. The Modi aura at the national level is unmistakeable, and like AAP, he too will benefit from being an outsider to Delhi, but he can't afford to ignore either the regional parties or AAP. In short, all bets are off for 2014.

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Congress will do AAP bigger and better, promises Rahul Gandhi
The Congress President said that the party would declare its prime ministerial candidate at the opportune element.
FP Politics, Dec 8, 2013 aving suffered losses in four major states ahead of the 2014 elections, the Congress leadership put up a brave face and party vice president Rahul Gandhi credited the Aam Aadmi Party for involving people like no other party and promised that he would learn from them - and then do a better job. "We are going to do a better job than anyone in that party and in a manner that you can't even


imagine," Gandhi said. The Congress Vice President said he believed Sheila Dikshit had delivered good governance in Delhi despite her loss and said that the party needed to move to a paradigm where people were given a voice in political parties. "I am going to put all my efforts to ensure that you get a party that lives up to your expectations," he said.
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The Congress Vice President said that both parties particularly the Congress had been thinking about politics in a traditional way. "The people have given us a message with these elections... I and the Congress party have taken this seriously," he said. "The Congress party has the ability to stand up the expectations of the people and it will do so," Gandhi said. The Congress Vice President said that the party has heard what the people had to say and promised that they would do whatever they could as a party and individuals to live up to people's expectations. He refused to comment on Narendra Modi and said that the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate had his own perspective. "My focus is on how I can help the people of this country. That's my focus... What the BJP is doing and what other people are doing is their focus. What we're doing is our focus," he said. Speaking before him party president Sonia Gandhi congratulated their opponents for their performance in the four states and said it meant the party would need to introspect. "Naturally this results calls for deep introspec-

tion... We have to look into the way we took or didn't take our message to the people," Sonia Gandhi said. She said people must have been unhappy with their governments in states and acknowledged that price rise might have been a factor in their losses. "We will introspect seriously and take all necessary steps to rectify our method of functioning," she said. The Congress president said that the national elections will differ greatly from the state elections and these results didn't offer any indications on how that would go. "The elections will be quite different from the state level," she said. She was also whether the party had lost any momentum because they didn't have a prime ministerial candidate. The party will decide on its prime ministerial candidate, she said, with Rahul Gandhi standing beside her with a cryptic smile on her face. "At the opportune time the name of the PM candidate will be announced," she said.

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Why Rahul Gandhi’s better-than-youcan-imagine promise fails to enthuse
Changes in organisational structure and roping in citizen’s participation were ‘revolutionary’ changes Rahul has tried earlier. They failed.
FP Politics, Dec 9, 2013


n the inscrutable manner reserved only for the Congress high command, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi addressed a brief press conference on Sunday evening, appearing to accept defeat graciously, congratulating opponents who more than convincingly stole their thunder, but also simultaneously making some indecipherable noises.

defeat, there is already ample reason to believe that this too will end badly for the Congress. The party's media managers are rumoured to have been briefed to stick to the line that Sonia attempted too, that national general elections are a completely different ballgame, and that local issues that dominated these elections are likely to be very different from issues that will hold sway when the summer of 2014 comes around. Panelists at TV studios will also steadfastly reject any suggestion that this result is a referendum result on Rahul Gandhi's leadership. Coming back to Rahul's promises. Nobody, not even the Congress high command, can ignore the message that the four states delivered on Sunday. Before Sonia and Rahul's press statement, similar statements came from the next generation of Congressmen. South Mumbai MP Milind Deora congratulated Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter and then added a tweet: "Results of hundred battles help one prepare well for the war ~ Sun Tzu. Good time for Congress to introspect & reward the deserving." MP campaign chief Jyotiraditya Scindia and Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot were gracious in defeat too, promising to learn from the party's mistakes. But Rahul's lofty announcement of changes in the party that are better than anything Indians can even imagine does not sound promising. Because tall promises about organisational structure have been made earlier, including promises about involving the general public in decision making.
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"A new paradigm," Rahul promised, adding later that the lessons they will learn from the Aam Aadmi Party would be implemented better than the AAP. Citizen ("common men's" to use Rahul's term) participation in governance decisions would be introduced in a way that is manner that is so good "that you can't even imagine". A little consternation however mild, "deep introspection" as promised by Sonia Gandhi and willingness to learn from opponents -- these can only be good things for a depleted Congress party. Still, even though it's early days still since the Gandhi parivar's unexpected graciousness in

Truth be told, people dislike Rahul despite the dimpled smile and the occasional charm. His manner of speech builds no connect with those who're listening, despite the frequent use of 'bhaiya' and 'suno na'. Rahul has already promised that ticket distribution would be based on merit and not nepotism -- this promise remained unfulfilled. He already aired his ideas about Congressmen connecting with voters through social media initiatives such as the now-forgotten 'Khidkee' -- this too bombed. There was more: a new website, a plan to teach Congress candidates about the UPA's showcase schemes, nothing worked. Weren't the

visits to Dalit homes also about hearing what Bharat has to say to the Congress? The sudden ebullience on Sunday evening just appears misplaced, yet another display of the arrogance that has brought the party down. What Kejriwal brought to electoral politics is rebellion, a questioning of the old status quo. Like his victory, Kejriwal's politics has hinged on seeking what was considered impossible. To replicate that, there is only one thing the Congress can do -- present a whole new Congress, give the the leadership status quo the big heaveho. That is what India truly can't even imagine. And what Rahul won't do.

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Modi and Nehru-Gandhi dynasty
While the emergence of Arvind Kejirwal as a giant killer and the slide of Rahul Gandhi and Congress are the two established, indisputable aspects of Sunday verdict, the most debated issue has been how much impact Modi had on the results.
Sanjay Singh, Dec 8, 2013 he election results across Rajasthan, Delhi, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are a loud and clear rejection of the Congress. The Grand Old Party has never suffered this kind of rout in the region. It is a complete demolition – reduced to single digits in Delhi with chief minister Sheila Dikshit losing her own seat very badly, getting only over one-tenth of the seats in Rajasthan, giving Shivraj Singh Chouhan a bigger two-third majority and a third term in MP and not being able to snatch victory

What assembly elections say about


in Chhatisgarh. The big takeaways from Sunday verdict are three fold: 1)The rejection of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s brand of politics of attempting to win votes by offering handouts to people with only a passing nod to good governance. 2) Even though the BJP may form the governCopyright © 2012 Firstpost

ment in Delhi, the big story is the emergence of Arvind Kejriwal as a giant killer and his Aam Aadmi Party as a force to reckon with. 3) An aggressive Narendra Modi’s march to Delhi could become virtually unstoppable should the run-up to parliamentary elections not take some unpredictable turns in next three to four months. The ever diminishing capacity of the Congress to catch votes and the fading aura of the Gandhi-Nehru family could severely impair the UPA’s structure. Omar Abdullah, a key UPA ally and a personal friend of Rahul Gandhi, sent out an interesting series of tweets that are indicative of the restlessness setting in among the ruling coalition partners. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in one of her rare media interactions, spoke of introspection by the party and Rahul Gandhi talked of a paradigm shift in party’s structure in days to come. Sonia Gandhi even said that the “people need not worry. At opportune time, the Prime Ministerial candidate will be announced”. Omar’s tweets become even more interesting in this context. He took a dig at Narendra Modi with eloquent words but the big political message was sarcasm directed at Rahul Gandhi, albeit without naming him. “The Notes to self for #2014 big public meetings don't always mean votes but poorly attended ones definitely indicate big trouble.” The message for Rahul couldn’t have been clearer. He has pinched at the raw nerve of the Congress Party. Rahul had poorly attended rallies in Delhi and Jodhpur, where people started leaving even while he had started to speak. In another tweet Omar said, “Note to self #2014 there is no "wave" but the effect on their cadre is obvious. Can't afford to underestimate this going ahead.” Modi is Omar’s political opponent and the rivalry has become bitter after the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate’s Jammu rally. So Omar’s comments on Modi is that of an opponent who is articulate in his expressions but while ques-

tioning the existence of a Modi wave, he is also being cautious. While the emergence of Arvind Kejirwal as a giant killer and the slide of Rahul Gandhi and Congress are the two established, indisputable aspects of Sunday verdict, the most debated issue has been how much impact Modi had on the results. Senior BJP leaders see a clear Modi impact in these elections. BJP president Rajnath Singh spoke positively of Modi’s impact. Vasundhra Raje was the first one to go on record and talk of about Modi’s role in influencing the record three-fourth majority that she got. Shivraj Singh Chouhan too acknowledged his role. However, Vasundhra and Shivraj are mass leaders in their own right, Shivraj has achieved what Modi could not - returning the party to power with an increased two-third majority for a third term. Though BJP first came to power in 2003 with a massive majority under Uma Bharti’s leadership, the party had nearly lost the plot until Shivraj was made chief minister under most challenging circumstances. Some analysts are mistaken when they try to find an existence of Modi wave in numbers that the BJP gets in Delhi and Chhattisgarh. Modi’s influence can be seen in the low numbers for the Congress. His aggressive campaigning and constantly challenging Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty with new idioms and catch phrases had its impact. The numbers are embarrassing for the Congress, for which Modi might say “Congress Mukt Bharat”. There are a number of BJP leaders who genuinely believe that had Modi not been involved, the BJP would have lost in both Chhattisgarh and Delhi. His intervention in replacing Vijay Goel with Dr Harsh Vardhan had been decisive and his campaigns energised the cadre. In the latter phases of the run-up to the Chhattisgarh elections, the BJP made a strategic shift in campaigning. Modi acquired a bigger space than Raman Singh. Modi also stuck to campaigning for last two days. In first phase he was there for two days. Modi’s charisma lay in
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charging the atmosphere for his party and instilling required doses of confidence to take on their rivals. A charged cadre makes a difference in the electoral arena. A number of Congress leaders have been arguing through the day that the outcome of these assembly elections will have no impact on parliamentary elections. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier said “Congress party is going to the election with a sense of self-confidence and that should not be mistaken whatever may be the outcome of the provincial assembly elections. As an organised political party, we cannot underestimate the power of opposition to unsettle the ship.” Others party leaders have taken that argument a step further. They argue that the BJP had won these states (except Delhi) in 2003 and buoyed by the outcome, the Vajpayee government went to early elections in April-May 2004 and lost. They are right on facts of what happened a decade ago but wrong in the assessment. The

two scenarios are completely different. In 200304, the BJP forced the nation into an election, which was due later in 2004. It was in any case facing an anti-incumbency of six years. Despite all the positive hype of about then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he did not look to be in best of his health and someone who could carry the burden of being in office for another five years. The government’s credentials were further tarnished by a series of scandals, including the one exposed by Tehalka tapes. This time around, it is the UPA Government that has lost its sheen and Manmohan Singh has lost his Teflon-coated credibility of an honest, economist Prime Minister. People in vast parts of the country have been itching to express their preferences and these assembly polls gave them that opportunity. Given the traction Modi has been getting, the likelihood is the momentum will continue. For the Congress, the scarier prospect would be that the Modi wave grows even taller over the next few months.

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Hard lesson of the assembly elections: How Congress can stop Narendra Modi
Difficult though it may be for the Congress to believe this, the only way the party can remain politically relevant is by further weakening itself.
Hartosh Singh Bal, Dec 8, 2013 he conclusion from the results is straightforward; the Congress is a political force in decline. When you consider the fact that the gap between the two parties is only set to widen -- more so in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with Narendra Modi as the candidate, and with the BJP likely to fare far better in Chhattisgarh in 2014 -- it seems there is little the party can do to arrest this decline in the run up to the general elections.


believe this, the only way the party can remain politically relevant is by further weakening itself. Within the party there is already talk of Rahul Gandhi playing a more subdued role, and Sonia Gandhi re-emerging as the most prominent face of the party. But such remedies is to misunderstand the verdict. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where it was in a direct fight with the BJP, the party has been decimated, and even Chhattisgarh is unlikely to be a close contest in 2014 -- Sonia Gandhi or no Sonia Gandhi. In Delhi, the Congress has slid to third place, a result that no one could have predicted earlier in the year. Will Sonia Gandhi and the Congress need to take a back seat for 2014? AFP Will Sonia Gandhi and the Congress need to take a back seat for 2014? AFP As several analysts have argued, it is Delhi which is more representative of the battle that lies ahead. Despite the Congress’ poor showing, the BJP has face a real fight due to the Aam Aadmi Party. In a majority of the states, the challenge to the BJP is not from the Congress but from various regional parties. The real determinant of what sort of government will emerge in 2014 depends on the numerical strength of the regional parties. There are two straightforward alternatives that give the BJP and Narendra Modi an overwhelming advantage. One where the BJP has sufficient numbers -- and this would mean anything over 190 or so -- to make sure the government that is formed bears the stamp of Modi. The second is where the numbers so add up that the only alternative to a Modi-led BJP is a rag-tag coalition that will collapse in a couple of years paving the way for a much stronger showing by a
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For many in the country this is a welcome development, including people like me who have no hesitation in affirming liberal and secular values. But where I differ from the cheerleaders of BJP is in believing that the diminishment of the Congress is only a step towards ensuring that an authoritarian personality cult centred around Modi and his exclusionist ideology does not come to dominate the country. For me, it is the central requirement of Indian politics over the next decade. Difficult though it may be for the Congress to

Modi-led BJP. It is for this reason that the Congress cannot sit back and let things take their own course, relying only on the performance of the regional parties to stymie the BJP. It has to start working now to facilitate a formation that is a practical alternative to Modi. But a coalition where the Congress is an overwhelming presence whether inside the government or outside is doomed from the start -- as the history of the coalitions in the 1990s bears out. Such a coalition would work only if the Congress ends up with a tally of 75 or so -- rather than anything over 100. This would leave the Congress free to play the role the Left played UPA I, cementing the government from outside with support that is based on a pre-set agenda. The Congress is unlikely to end up with this low a tally, but it must work toward achieving exactly this. Such a goal may sound paradoxical, but consider what this would actually imply on the ground in states such as UP and Bihar. In UP, there have been several rounds of discussions between the BSP and the Congress over a possible alliance. The sticking point seems to be clear: while the BSP wants an alliance that extends across the country the Congress wants one restricted to UP. The Congress needs to

give in and concede seats to the BSP in other states while remaining modest in its demands for seats in UP. Not only will this strengthen the resistance to Modi in states like MP and Rajasthan, it will also bolster an already strong BSP in UP. Such an approach is required even more so in Bihar where the Congress has to chose between Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. The party backed by the Congress can hope to see a consolidation of Muslim votes behind it, but most of the seats handed over to the Congress in any alliance in Bihar would be a dead loss. Similar arguments extend across several states, and the resulting alliances that result from such concessions can serve as the nucleus for a coalition, even laying down a common minimum agenda for governance. All this, of course, assumes that the party is capable of such a vision, which consigns the family to the background. On the evidence so far, there is little reason to believe the party will take the leap. But perhaps the Congress needs to think back to 2004. If government formation then was marked by an act of abnegation by an individual, in 2014 it may require an act of abnegation by the entire party.

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Dear Rahul Gandhi, here’s what you could do to save the Congress
It’s no use invoking the merits of the Aam Aadmi Party as long as the Aam Aadmi in the Congress Party has no say in its politics.
Dhiraj Nayyar, Dec 9, 2013 fter decimation came introspection. A very very disappointed Congress Presidnet Sonia Gandhi told the press that she would reflect on the grand old party’s dismal performance in Delhi, MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, even while insisting that her incumbent governments in Delhi and Rajasthan had done a good job.


appropriate time. Now, this could be any time between tomorrow and next April when the General Election gets underway. It could equally be after the election, in true Congress style. Rahul should insist that the party’s PM candidate be projected sooner rather than later. He should follow that insistence by insisting that the PM candidate be chosen in an open election in which every primary member of the party has a vote. Rahul would, of course, be most welcome to enter this intra-party process as a candidate. But recent evidence suggests that he isn't really interested in the job, not in 2014 anyway. If the High Command (read mother and son) anoints the Prime Ministerial candidate in the manner of a monarch (a la Manmohan Singh), the voters of India will know that the Congress has had no real change of heart. If, on the other hand, the candidate is chosen in an open election, Rahul’s promise of reforming the Congress will at least sound genuine. The Family’s confidence trick with Manmohan Singh – he the deserving technocrat-turnedpolitician – has been found out. India will not accept another puppet as PM. Remote controls cannot run governments effectively. India will no longer accept Rahul Gandhi’s numerous (but ultimately false) promises of reforming his party. He needs to do something dramatic to restore even an ounce of faith. It’s no use invoking the merits of the Aam Aadmi Party as long as the Aam Aadmi in the Congress Party has no say in its politics. Words have never been Rahul's forte. Perhaps then radical action can save a fast sinking political trajectory.
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Rahul Gandhi was more ambitious when he promised to involve the Aam Aadmi (not the party) in the workings of the Congress. The irony of his statement (coming from the Vice President of a party which claims to be wedded to the cause of the Aam Aadmi) clearly escaped him. Still, he promised that he would do ‘it’ better than AAP, in a way that would challenge the imagination of us ordinary Indians. Here’s an unsolicited suggestion to Rahul Gandhi as he contemplates how to life his party from the nadir. Why doesn’t he make a start by involving the Aam Congressman in the decision-making process of his party? Speaking before Rahul, Sonia Gandhi dropped a hint that the Congress would name a Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Election at an

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