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Posted On: 09 MAY 2019

Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar

The total annihilation of Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a year ago in the Delhi municipal corporation elections reflected the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and policies. Four years ago AAP rose to power bagging an unprecedented 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly with huge support from the lower strata of the society compensating for the disenchanted middle class. But the pendulum swung the other way as Modi's fiscally-prudent Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas found favour with the public over Kejriwal's model of doling out freebies to select vote banks.

Kejriwal owes his political ascendance to Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement and became the darling of the middle class after sitting on a hunger strike along with Anna. Later, he wooed the lower middle-class voter by supporting a strike by the Delhi autorickshaw union and sitting on a fast against inflated electricity bills. It translated into his newly-formed AAP coming a close second to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2013 Delhi assembly.

AAP formed the government with Congress support which lasted 49 days. A scheming Kejriwal used the failure to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill as an excuse to quit when in fact he had made a mess of governance in Delhi and overestimated his chances in the impending 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Theatrics dominated his 49-day stint like the10-day dharna on Rajpath in protest against Delhi Police's inaction on law minister Somnath Bharti's allegations against African nationals running a drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi. His faceoff with discoms on power subsidy led to massive outages. Kejriwal was playing to the galleries with acts like giving free water and taking on the water mafia. The middle class was losing its patience with AAP and the party with pretensions of being a national force was left with egg on its face in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Kejriwal himself came a poor second to Modi in Varanasi. But his tactics yielded dividend in 2015 assembly elections when an AAP tsunami swept Delhi.

Kejriwal's second stint as the chief minister has seen the unraveling of AAP even in Delhi. The educated middle class which invested heavily in AAP especially feels let down by his poor governance and communal politics. The voters are now waiting to punish him. His failure to sew up a joint front in 2019 against his b'te noire Narendra Modi is a shining example of his bloated ego and narrow mind.

On the other hand, the Modi government which already enjoys the support of the middle class has effectively implemented a slew of welfare measures for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. These include the Ujjwala, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana and the Ayushman Bharat schemes. The direct benefit transfer has resulted in weeding out middle men who used to fleece MNREGA's targeted beneficiaries. Demonetisation and GST had hit the middle class as well as the MSME sector in the short term and left the business class discontented. But the ironing out of glitches in the GST system and Mudra loans has led to the revival of businesses and generation of jobs. Improvement in the ease of doing business has added to Modi's popularity in the corporate sector as well as the startup eco system.

Voters across the social spectrum believe Modi hai to mumkin hai that they will achieve their aspirations. Prime minister's universal appeal will ensure Phir ek baar Modi sarkar with a larger mandate of at least 350 seats. RIP AAP!

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