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Remember Arvind Kejriwal? Here’s how AAP lost the national plot

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25.12.2018

It seems like a long time ago when the AAP occupied the national political mindspace.

Around this time five years ago, as the election heat eclipsed the winter chill in Delhi, national politics was witnessing a contest between the BJP and the AAP. Arvind Kejriwal was closing the gap between him and the chief minister’s chair, while also preparing to make a splash in the Lok Sabha elections.

Five years later, national politics is back to looking like a BJP vs Congress contest. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes across as someone who’s begging the Congress for a pre-poll alliance in Delhi, having given up its national ambitions for the moment.

Also read: Arvind Kejriwal not the reason I quit Aam Aadmi Party: Ashish Khetan

Here’s how Arvind Kejriwal lost the national plot.

1. He couldn’t decide between Centre and states: State politics and national politics are two different things. They require a different approach. Arvind Kejriwal thought the route to Centre went through the states, but that’s not always true. The BJP went from two seats in 1984 to 85 seats in 1989 through a national campaign (Ram Janmabhoomi), without having a single CM. The same election saw an even greater surprise: V.P. Singh-led Janata Dal’s national campaign (Bofors) won the party 143 seats, making Singh a coalition Prime Minister.

Similarly, the Lokpal campaign had captured the national imagination, but Arvind Kejriwal took the less risky route of first fighting the Delhi assembly election as an experiment. The experiment succeeded, but Kejriwal resigned after 49 days with an unconvincing excuse and went to Varanasi to contest against Modi. Instead of fighting the incumbent Congress, he decided to challenge the challenger Modi.

So from the very beginning, the Aam Aadmi Party had been confused about fighting state and national elections. Unable to sail in two........

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