The knives are out for Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP—if you follow the mainstream (English) elite media, you would believe he has been wiped out as a political entity. This same media will politely ignore some telling figures released by the ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms): Of the 403 newly elected MLAs in UP, 322 are crorepatis (multimillionaires) and 143 have serious criminal cases registered against them (107 relate to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women). In the five states that went to polls, 75 per cent of the seats were won by one of the top three wealthiest candidates! These figures are the reason why Kejriwal and AAP will continue to be relevant with the people.

Yes, he lost Punjab (and Goa, where he shouldn’t have gone in the first place) but not without a fight: AAP and its ally won 22 seats out of 70 with a vote share of 23.7 per cent in Punjab. It also came second in 27 seats. It is the principal Opposition in the state. Not a bad showing for a three-year-old party confronting three mainstream parties who between them have more funds than many states do!
The problem with the “Breaking News” culture is that it expects instant successes, to match the instant solutions it offers every night on its panel discussions. It forgets, for example, that Kejriwal had won just 28 seats in Delhi in his first attempt there too. It is ironic that TV channels first build you up, and then slaughter you for not living up to the hype!

That being said, the AAP could have done much better, given the Akali-BJP votes were up for grabs, just as the Congress vote was in Delhi earlier, which it hoovered up so spectacularly.
Since the Punjab Congress was hanging on to its vote share, Kejriwal had to poach on the Akalis, which he failed to do. No judicial commission is needed to find out where he went wrong, the reasons are common knowledge in every “Sher-e-Punjab” dhaba: Excessive back seat driving from Delhi, the expulsion of the man who built up the organisation in Punjab, cosying up to ex-Khalistanis, too many Duterte-like threats of locking up all and sundry, proximity to Panthic elements, the ego clash with the biggest ego east of the Indus, Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Kejriwal should not now rush off to Bangalore for another bout of naturopathy but should sit in Delhi and accept with all humility that he made mistakes. He should accept that his style of agitational politics has lost its novelty and is becoming repetitive, that his opponents have learnt how to counter it, a strategy which Napoleon knew all about when he famously said, “You should not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.”
Kejriwal should acknowledge that he needs to create genuinely vibrant state organisations and refrain from micro-managing them. He needs more Yogendra Yadavs and Prashant Bhushans around him, not just Sanjay Singhs and Aashish Khaitans, if he wants the educated middle classes and working youth to support him.

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