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Though spatially confined to Delhi, the landslide victory of AAM AADMI PARTY appears to be a microcosmic resonance of what the nation had witnessed a few months before in the form of ‘Modi wave’. The all-pervasive mandate given to AAP has defused quite convincingly the political theories explaining or anticipating the electoral behavior from the kaleidoscope of largely ‘pre-conditioned’ social matrix motivated by ‘ascriptive values’. In simpler words, people have voted for development and good governance cutting across the lines of caste, class, religion, and gender which is not so frequently seen in the state elections.

The series of unending debate and discussion will continue for few days across the length and breadth of the country where attempts will be made by intellectuals either to build or amend their respective theories with ‘retrospective’ effect justify their previous stand or to seek a dignified retreat till the dust is settled or to celebrate the unexpected and fortuitous conjunction of their hyperbolic assertions and emerged reality. Actually, the exit poll failed miserably but the ‘wreckage’ of their anticipation fell on the safer side of the fence. They, no doubt, caught the trend but failed in terms of accuracy by a considerable margin.

Every election takes place in a specific contextual setting, therefore one has to be cautious against the temptation of ‘theorizing’ its outcome to anticipate futuristic developments without adequate concern for the peculiarities of time, space and the most complex phenomenon that is popular aspirations the revolutionary shift or the evolutionary metamorphosis of which do not always make it amenable to definite scientific explanations. Yet, a comparatively, more consistent pattern of behavior amid all chaotic and perpetually ‘effervescent’ currents of the political spectrum can be identified rather safely.

The oceanic electorate of India (which is otherwise characterized by a mindboggling diversity ordained by the long established and sharply stratified social-economic structure, the differential set of preferences emanating from ‘poly –normative’ and ‘poly communal’ society of ours) seem to be reflecting a rare ‘unity of direction’ and purpose in their sense of ‘political eclecticism’.

Are we witnessing a rare ensemble of a D.U.professor, a Chandni Chowk businessman, a civil servant, a local vendor, sweeper with municipal corporation, common household woman, youth and others responding with largely a uniform set of criterion pertaining to good governance or a uniform mood of frustration with existing political dispensation or a strongly unified aspirations for change and development?

People have started defying the much sought after terms like political bastion, stronghold or vote bank and others reflecting the rigid and centripetal power structure of medieval feudalism and by consequence ‘out of sync’ with the contemporary aspirations of democratic India. The increasing awareness of people orchestrated by the 24 by 7 media and civil society and their own experience of the governance in day to day life has facilitated a more realistic, un-embedded, practical and utilitarian expression of political preferences which is likely to put all political parties on alert too.

Thus Mulayam Singh could not save it in UP in the name of ‘Yadav – Muslim’ integrated bastion in Lok Sabha elections and Mr. Modi riding at the top of the crest pervading India and abroad could not save it in Delhi. People did hear all, cheered all but finally decided in favor of what they found more proximate, accessible and sensitive to their day to day problems. They showed due to concern for ‘Modi’s vision’ for India but ‘Kejriwal’s mission’ for Delhi.

No one can take people for granted anymore?

One more interesting thing about this victory is that it was not so much orchestrated by ‘anti-incumbency’ factor and by a little stretch of analysis, Modi’ s govt. was not doing so bad as to attract such public response. It seems that people are becoming more demanding in the realm of political goods and services also and their aspirations are rising high which got manifested in pursuance of a model of Good Governance’ even beyond the realm of the one being suggested by Mr. Modi. People have voted against unilateralism in vision and leadership to initiate the process of building up of institutional pluralism in politics and governance more realistically. Thus they voted not so much against bad as for a better future.

‘You are not bad but I want to experiment with an alternative model also which do appear to us very promising’.

Sajjan Pratap Singh
Director, IIIASA