AAP vs BJP in the Lok Sabha elections 2014

The current Indian politics is definitely going through a complete changeover. It was only a few months back that India was gearing up for BJP as the alternative to Congress, but with the phenomenal success of AAP, a completely new entrant might just be the spoiler for the BJP. This article puts focus on this very interesting battle between politicians and non-politicians.

Ideological differences between AAP and BJP

AAP declares on its website that it doesn't believe in any "isms" or "ists" and are completely people oriented. Unlike propagated in the media, they actually do have a clear agenda and vision - to see a corruption free and decentralized India where people would be the center of governance. They also have solutions such as Swaraj, Jan Lokpal Bill, properly structured referendums in the forms of Right to Recall and Right to Reject. BJP has an ideology of Hindutva, which is also misrepresented largely in the media to be a right wing religious ideology in favor of Hindus, which is not true. BJP believes in bringing people from all religions together for the nation. BJP's vision, so far, is to see a Congress free India and up until now the efforts are on to prove how BJP is better than Congress in terms of development when compared to the BJP led NDA rule from 1998 to 2004 to the Congress led UPA rule from 2004 till date. The focus of BJP is also to highlight the growth of BJP ruled states Vs Congress ruled states in India. Both these parties are yet to come out with a detailed manifesto for India's development plans post 2014 Lok Sabha elections, hence a direct comparison between what each is offering cannot be made currently.

Similarities between BJP and AAP

The principle of transparency and accountability which has been talked about by the AAP has also been practiced by BJP in Gujarat. Narendra Modi has implemented systems which makes government servants accountable. They hear the grievances of the people through a well placed system. The work done by the government institutions is made public. Like AAP, Narendra Modi also talks about less government and more work. Taking out government's control from certain business areas is also an aspect of decentralized power which is talked by AAP. If observed closely, Narendra Modi and AAP both wish to serve the country and make India a better place.

Narendra Modi for PM Vs Swaraj by AAP

The Gujarat growth model can be implemented on the national level by Narendra Modi, who is considered as pro-business. The slogan Namo for PM among the BJP supporters highlights the importance of a strong leader and their belief is a top-down pro-business solution for India. Narendra Modi's focus is to grow business and if India grows, the problems of corruption, crony-capitalism and non functioning institutions can be reduced. On the other hand, although Arvind Kejriwal is the talking point for the media and AAP supporters, the focus is on the solutions proposed and not the leader. The people associated with AAP are more inclined to see proper systems in place with the help of transparency, accountability, decentralization, strong anti-corruption laws. Their main agenda is to solve people's day to day problems and their belief is that if businessmen are given a level-playing field, growth in India is imminent.

BJP as communal/crony-capitalist and AAP as socialist/opportunist

There are a number of accusations brought out in the Indian media such as BJP is a communal party, AAP is a freebies socialist party, BJP promotes crony-capitalism and AAP is an opportunist party as it took support of Congress in Delhi. Although there is some truth in these accusations due to their actions/comments in the past, this has been blown out of proportion by the Indian media. Neither is BJP communal or crony-capitalist, nor is AAP a socialist or opportunist party.

Problems with AAP

The biggest problem with AAP is the burden of expectations from the people. AAP said that they are here to change the systems in place. They would declare their donations and expenditure publicly, they would end VIP culture, bring decentralized governance with the help of Jan Sabhas and Mohalla sabhas and involve people directly regarding local issues and bring a strong anti-corruption law. Once good systems are put in place, problems would start reducing. However, people want immediate returns, which might not be achievable. But they have to show that they have taken appropriate steps. The excellent work done in putting systems inside the party needs to be replicated by putting right systems in the government as well. AAP has to make their stand on each of the national issues clear. They have to bring out a vision document for India sooner rather than later.

Problems with BJP

BJP needs to declare its donations openly with the people. They cannot hide behind the Rs.20,000 caveat and not declare the funds. They would also have to keep transparent the party funding. Most importantly, they must come under the RTI. They have to keep criminals and corrupt ministers out of the party, which they are not doing. BJP supporters and volunteers are also one of the biggest problem that might lead to the downfall of BJP. Before AAP became center-stage, the entire BJP strategy has been to promote Narendra Modi using the development plank which worked very well with the voters. But with the emergence of AAP, BJP has shifted focus from pro-development to anti-AAP. Every small decision taken by the AAP is been criticized to ugly levels by the BJP supporters and the AAP is being called all sorts of names on the social media as well as openly in the Indian media. By calling them agents of Congress, backstabbers of Anna Hazare, socialists, communists, anarchists, naxalites, anti-nationals and what not, BJP is actually harming its reputation.

Key difference between AAP and BJP

A very important difference between BJP and AAP is that AAP is formed by people who were not career politicians. Their intention is not to do politics, but to change it. Had it been otherwise, they could have never stood against these traditional political giants - BJP and Congress. The only reason they got the popularity was because of their honest intentions and widespread anger against the current political system.

Lok Sabha elections in India 2014

While Congress is the ruling government, nobody is even considering Congress even as a contender. Looking at AAP as a contender is also premature, considering their inexperience as they are just 1 year old. Getting around 10 seats would also mean a huge debut for them at national level. They have nothing to lose. BJP has the best ever chance to actually form the government of India. If AAP does well in the Lok Sabha elections, it will be largely due to failure of BJP to get their act together. If BJP doesn't form a government in Lok Sabha 2014, they will never be able to form a government in India again.


Author: Ajesh Kumar18 Sep 2014 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

It is very important to go through this article once again, post elections. The results of elections shows that loksabha elections do not reflect exactly the logic that we think based on circumstances. This particular election, BJP got a clear majority due to tireless hardwork of one strong man Narendra Modi. People forgot the accusation against him and instead kept hope on him to revive the country.

However, he is now slowly losing image because of his government not meeting expectations. The expectations has been too huge for any government to practically achieve. In addition, none of his ministers have that same caliber as him to deliver.

What would interesting to see is people reaction in a future election. Recent state elections have shown a set back for BJP. But, that is too early to make a conclusion. The performance of the government in another few months is going to decide whether BJP can actually deliver its promises of good days.

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