Indian State Elections were held on December 8th, 2013, and it is safe to say that the status quo was turned on its head.
The polls resulted in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning 31 seats in a House of 70, followed by new comer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which bagged 28 seats and the Indian National Congress managed just eight seats. BJP ally Akali Dal secured a single seat.
This headline comprehensively sums up the situation:
They polls may have gone in favor of BJP, but Delhi still may not have a government in the near future. The leading party needs six more seats to form a government.
Aam Aadmi Party wants to sit in the opposition instead of forming a government and the BJP would also prefer the same.
The surprising part is the number of seats secured by the AAP and the crushing defeat suffered by Congress. These factors indicate that India is likely to vote differently in the upcoming general elections in May 2014. The state elections will undoubtedly have heavyweights BJP and Congress scratching their heads, especially as upstarts AAP have secured a significant vote bank.
The Common Man’s Voice Finally Represented
The AAP seems to be about the common man and that is perhaps the secret to its new found popularity. It strikes a card with the man on the street, who is usually overlooked by politicians and governments.
Hundreds of activists wearing boat-shaped Gandhi hats carried the slogan, "I am a common man" and held brooms in their hands to celebrate.
Arvind Kejriwal, a civil servant and the man behind the party, promises transparent political funding, populist policies, a cut in the prices of daily commodities and other policies that appeal to the middle and lower income brackets.
Even Rahul Gandhi, a prominent member of the Indian Congress Party and son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, sees the power of the new political force when he says, "I think the Aam Aadmi Party has involved a lot of people that traditional parties did not involve."
"We are going to learn from that and we are going to do a better job than anybody in the country, and involve people in ways that you cannot even imagine right now," he added.
With the AAP’s surprising popularity, the BJP and Congress have much to worry about in 2014, as the ‘common man’s’ party seems to be gaining momentum and going from strength to strength.