There is much heartburn in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over today’s op-ed by Sanjay Kumar in The Indian Express.
Kumar is a psephologist, and currently deputy director at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)’s Lokniti project. Incidentally, Yogendra Yadav heads the Lokniti project at the CSDS, where Kumar is his deputy. Yadav is also a national executive member of the AAP and the party’s face on English television news channels.
Kumar has dismissed AAP’s chances of winning any of the 70 assembly seats in Delhi assembly elections. He has the rare credit of correctly forecasting the results of Delhi assembly elections of 2008, which took place in the shadow of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Kumar’s bleak analysis of AAP’s electoral performance is in stark contrast to the AAP’s advertisements on radio where its chief ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal claims that a survey that noted psephologist Yogendra Yadav conducted of Delhi electorate revealed that as many as 47 percent voters in Delhi wanted to vote for AAP, 33 percent for BJP and 27 percent for the Congress.
What has galled AAP activists further is Kumar’s claim that AAP’s presence along with infighting in the BJP would only help the Congress beat widespread anti-incumbency to come to power a record fourth successive time at the Delhi Secretariat. His analysis reinforces BJP’s allegations that AAP is the ‘B-team’ of the Congress, believe AAP activists.
Kumar enumerated factors like several BJP and NCP leaders joining the Congress in recent months. He stated that these factors “make it appear that the Congress is still the most sought-after party in Delhi”. The op-ed comes within days of Kejriwal claiming that the party is all set to win 47 seats to form the next government. It hasn’t been lost on AAP activists that none other than The Indian Express has published Kumar’s opinion piece. The newspaper was in the forefront of opposing the Jan Lokpal movement. Relations had soured to such an extent that lawyer Prashant Bhushan and others leading the movement would refuse to speak to reporters from The Indian Express.
Last heard, AAP senior members were busy explaining to their cadres that the CSDS is an independent think tank which has spawned into an umbrella that has accommodated researchers of different ideological hues, from Marxists to Gandhians and in recent past has tolerated Madhu Kishwar’s defense of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and his government. Kishwar, editor of Manushi, is currently a CSDS fellow.
Delhi votes on December 4.