Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party: The spoiler among the masses

Aam Aadmi PartyAam Aadmi Party

Though it has been projecting Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister-designate who would "cleanse the system", the Aam Aadmi Party looks set to end up a mere "spoiler" in Delhi, one that can at best bring about a change of guard.

Apart from Seemapuri, Bawana, Patparganj, New Delhi and a couple of other constituencies, the AAP seems to have emerged the "swing factor" in most seats. And it is among the Congress's traditional voters — jhuggi-dwellers and Valmikis — where it appears to have created an impression.

The Sheila Dikshit government's decision to regularise 895 unauthorised colonies with the promise of adding more to the list after the polls was meant to strengthen the Congress's hold on its traditional vote banks. But the AAP's populist, if tall, promises such as halving electricity bills and making water supply free up to 700 litres seem to have caught the fancy of jhuggi-dwellers.

At Sundarnagari in Seemapuri, where Kejriwal's NGO "Parivartan" has been active for years, everybody from Shankarlal 'Reriwalla' to tailor Inder Mohan has a grievance against the Congress regime — food inflation, corruption, open sewers, power outages, inflated bills. "We have been electing (Congress MLA Veer Singh) Dhingan for 15 years but nothing has changed. It's time we tried a new party," says Mohan, citing the promises of "no power bill" and free water. Asked whether he believes the AAP can deliver when others didn't, he says, "Kejriwal is at least saying it; others are not even talking about it."At JJ Colony in Bawana, people have similar complaints.

Even Valmikis appear to be shifting their traditional loyalty from the Congress and the BSP to the AAP. Leanings do not always convert into votes but if they do, it would be advantage BJP because the AAP, in the absence of popular faces in candidates-centric elections, can only make a dent in the Congress bank.

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