There is much to the timing of Anna Hazare’s attack on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Arvind Kejriwal. AAP believes these attacks will only increase as the December 04 election day approaches.
Hazare has focussed on print and television interviews and press conferences to discredit Kejriwal. His confidante, journalist Raju Parulekar, is active on social media. Parulekar has dug out a purported video of key Kejriwal groupie Kumar Vishwas to prove that the man is far from secular.
Another video released today exposed how the real fight is over the spoils. It seems Hazare and his supporters believe Kejriwal owes a substantial sum of money collected during the Jan Lokpal movement that the AAP leader should rightfully give to the Gandhian’s NGO. Kejriwal and others disagree.
The attacks, however, have tempered the ambitions of AAP. The party is acutely conscious how it will lose to the two established parties as it has neither the money nor the muscle.
Party leaders have now lowered their expectations and believe their performance would be satisfactory enough for a first time entrant if they managed to win enough seats or vote percentage to be recognised as a state party by the Election Commission of India. This would allow them to keep their symbol Jhadoo (Broom) for the Lok Sabha elections.
According to the rules, a party to be recognised as a ‘state party’ needs “at least one member to the Legislative Assembly of that State for every thirty members of that Assembly or any fraction of that number” and/or “the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates set up by such party at the last general election in the State to the House of the People, or as the case may be, to the Legislative Assembly of the State, is not less than six per cent of the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates at such general election in the State”.
So, AAP needs a minimum of three seats and/or six per cent of vote share. It is extremely wary of defections of its MLAs, in case it manages to win any seats and is striving to get six per cent vote share. This, in itself, would be a challenge for a first time entrant in a state where the other two political parties are well entrenched and the third party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has managed more than five per cent votes in both civic and assembly elections on average.