Will AAP suffer the same fate as Asom Gana Parishad?
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is on the verge of a split, due to deepening internal differences following its embarrassing defeat in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls. The fate that AAP seems to be heading towards eerily evokes memories of the political marginalization of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) formed in Assam around 30 years back. Is AAP headed the same way?
AGP resulted out of the Assam Accords (1985) which ended the Assam Agitation, waged to avoid change in social and economic structures of the state due to illegal immigration of Bangladeshis. Contesting for Assam state elections in December 1985, AGP breezed into power winning 67 out of 126 seats. Having ruled Assam twice, the Party's hold, however, weakened after repeated internal splits.
While AGP resulted out of an anti-foreigner agitation, AAP evolved out of the India Against Corruption movement, spearheaded by Anna Hazare in 2011-2012. Further AGP and AAP saw youth play a crucial role, with young leaders, Prafulla Mahanta and Arvind Kejriwal getting elected as Chief Ministers. Moreover, both Parties lost credibility from corruption allegations and internal strife after their first term.
AAP has been spiralling into internal chaos, due to growing differences among its top leadership, including Arvind Kejriwal, Kapil Mishra and Kumar Vishwas. While Vishwas and Sanjay Singh disagreed on blaming Kejriwal for the election loss, Kapil Mishra has accused Kejriwal of corruption. Kejriwal's disagreements with those including the Lieutenant Governor and the PM further has resulted in the Party's popularity taking a hit.
Mahanta suffered an abrupt blow a short while into his second term, when the Congress regained power, while Kejriwal seems to have lost ground to BJP. Similar to Kejriwal, Mahanta has also been termed an inefficient leader and has been accused of corruption.
Like AAP, AGP's downfall began when it split, due to growing differences amongst its top leaders, Mahanta and Bhrigu Kumar Phulkan. Further, in both the cases, the Party's decline has happened with its leaders losing face. Both Kejriwal and Mahanta are being accused of turning mass movements into personality cults. Both the parties saw top leadership defecting to other parties including BJP and Congress.
The political journeys of AAP and AGP are strikingly similar. AAP is likely to suffer the same fate if Kejriwal fails to sort out differences and steer the party out of chaos. Unless there is a drastic change in political circumstances, AAP is further unlikely to regain its voter-base. However, similar to AGP, AAP can politically thrive through taking part in broader coalitions.