Will Modi’s demonetisation drive hit the AAP, Arvind Kejriwal the most?
In politics it is well-known that, longer a political party remains in power continuously the more anti-incumbency develops against it. It happened to the CPM in west Bengal and happened in Bihar as well when Lalu Yadav went out of power. Also if there are only two political parties, and these parties dominate the system for long enough, there a fear of public sentiment turning anti-establishment can crop up. Such a sentiment is not satisfied merely by throwing one party out of power and bringing the other.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to put a ban overnight, on the use of Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes for legal tender might have a huge impact on the political establishment across India? The question is whom it is going to hit the most and will it be the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal?
AAP’s stunning debut performance in 2013 Delhi state assembly elections as can be termed as electoral insurgency. As a political outsider, Kejriwal was able to convince the voters, people of Delhi that he would be completely different from both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Modi as well exploited this image of an outsider to Delhi along with a governance record in Gujarat to come to power at the centre by a margin not seen in last three decades.
This happened quite in the past, 2013 by Kejriwal. These days, he does not leave an opportunity to target Modi and his policies. In doing so, He is trying to fill the principal opposition space displacing Rahul Gandhi of the Congress. He is no longer an insurgent against the establishment.
We can see AAP party as a party having indirect coalition (comprising of Trinamool Congress, National Conference and others) formed to agitate against the currency swap decision. He supported the Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar assembly election last year and was seen sharing stage with Lalu Yadav, a convicted politician. He has again and again proved himself to be a next party or the principal opposition party for the BJP.
Narendra Modi on the other hand has decided to walk a hard path that might lead ‘self-disruption’. The iPhone that Steve Jobs developed for Apple negatively affected the sales of iPod, another marquee product of the company. But Jobs understood the necessity of disrupting oneself in order to surge ahead. Modi’s currency swap is also not good news for all BJP politicians. BJP is not immune of corruption that afflects political parties across. A number of BJP politicians might have taken the hit as well in this currency surgical strike and this might as well affect the BJP
Coming back, Kejriwal was earlier seen as a politician who can bring a change and one who can bring about reduction in corruption. However, Modi’s demonetisation scheme has changed the political balance, which was seen tilting towards other parties and especially the modi;s popularity which was ther at the time of election has come back with force and this has shaken other political parties from their base or foundation, like AAP which is now totally against demonetization and want to ban it as well. NAMO has grabbed the space and message that could so-easily have been of Kejriwal’s. The latter may not be possessing illegal cash and hence will not suffer monetarily but his political count are likely to go down and will take time to recover.
Having already said that, disruptions—especially self-destruction—are not so easy to manage. Given the chaos of cash exchange and withdrawals across the country, this can already be seen by different media like NDTV.
Modi does have time, but not much. He will have to ensure the chaos is over and economic costs are contained well before the next round of elections.