Aam Aadmi Party has Great chance of People in Bangalore was one of the centres of the Anna Hazare Movement. When Arvind Kejriwal formed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bangalore city responded heartily. And when Delhi/NCR went to the polls, Bangaloreans played a key role. So, will the city follow the Delhi/NCR and become the next Ab Aap Ki Party “Aam Aadmi Party city?
Enthusiastic AAP members, activists and political scientists believe the IT city has both the space and opportunity to do so in future.
At present, Bangalore AAP has its units in 18 districts in Karnataka, and is active in five cities — Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Udupi and Hubli-Dharwad. In Bangalore alone, it has 12,000 registered members.
“We’re the fastest growing party,” says AAP national executive member Prithvi Reddy. “Our members are ecstatic and outside support is amazing. We’ve told our supporting members and associations to start working like a political party at the grassroots, and have our members in every booth.”
Party workers and experts are unanimous that though it would be difficult for AAP to make a mark in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the future certainly looks bright. “AAP is clear-headed,” says activist S R Hiremath, who is supporting the party. “The corruption in major political parties will help AAP expand. What’s applicable to Delhi may not be applicable to Bangalore. But if serious and balanced efforts are made, I foresee a good future for AAP in the state, especially in Bangalore.”
A Narayana, who is on the faculty of Azim Premji University, feels Bangalore has a good chance of becoming an AAP city in the long run, but not in the near future. “There’s space for them,” Narayana says. “People are disenchanted with political parties and are looking for a credible alternative. Time is short for the 2014 LS polls. In the long run, yes.”
He says both Modi and AAP are vying for urban voters. “In Bangalore, the middle class favours the BJP, while the rest favours the Congress,” he says. “There’s no great anti-incumbency wave against the Congress. Whose votes will AAP split? I feel once the Modi model fails, the AAP will rise. It’s just a matter of time.”
Can AAP replicate Delhi in Bangalore? “It depends on the constituency’s demands,” says former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde. “In New Delhi, AAP won nine of the 12 reserved constituencies. I don’t think one city’s example can work in another, as the issues differ. AAP gauged the minds of Delhi voters for nine months before deciding to contest.”
K N Chandrakanth, treasurer, AAP-Karnataka, admits the party needs a strong leader in the state. “In the immediate future, we may not achieve what Delhi has,” he says. “But over a period of time, we’ll surely be a force to reckon with.”
Meanwhile, many party activists have enrolled in the Civic Leadership Incubator Programme being conducted by the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) to train people of integrity and competence to be corporators in 2015.