Delhi Chaat is a diary of news and happenings that are under the radar and likely to emerge into the public domain soon.
A second Delhi election is likely
The Aam Aadmi Party has made mind space for a second Delhi assembly election this summer as it seeks to gain a larger political footprint in India. It has 28 MLAs and one of them, Vinod Kumar Binny, is likely to be punished for his stance against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. This would bring the AAP to 27.
The eight Congress MLAs and the JD(U) MLA make it 36, which is the minimum needed to pass anything in the 70-member assembly. Kejriwal is definitely eyeing the Lok Sabha. He has announced that no sitting AAP MLA would contest the General Election. This means Kejriwal would need to quit the assembly.
That would get the AAP down to 26 MLAs. Even with the support of the Congress and the JD(U), the treasury benches would have 35 in the House. Key AAP leaders now think this deadlock can only be resolved with a fresh poll.
Manish Sisodia could replace Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal’s trusted aide and second-in-command in the Delhi government Manish Sisodia has a shot at becoming Delhi’s chief minister if events unfold as the AAP ideally seeks. The AAP has decided to pitch Kejriwal from the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency in this summer’s General Election.
This means it needs another person to head the Delhi government and they seem to think that it would be Sisodia. This rests on the possibility of the AAP winning the New Delhi assembly seat vacated by Kejriwal, which would mean the AAP still has 28 MLAs.
Sisodia is a slightly inarticulate politician who is barely known outside AAP circles. He has worked in the past with Zee News and not much is known about his vision for Delhi. Kejriwal apparently trusts Sisodia more than any other member of his cabinet and this is swinging things Sisodia’s way.
AAP looks to be in Lok Sabha top 3
The brains trust of the AAP has concluded that it could end up as the third largest party in the next Lok Sabha, possibly even the second-largest. AAP calculations suggest that only the BJP has a clear chance of 100+ seats. The Congress could end up with around a hundred seats, possibly a little less, AAP seniors surmise.
The Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi dynamics would change when it becomes Modi versus Kejriwal.
This is the central thought driving the AAP. They seem to think that 80 seats are almost certain if Kejriwal is pitched as the AAP prime ministerial nominee. This could force a repeat of what happened in Delhi – the Congress backing the AAP to keep the BJP out.
In the AAP scheme of things, they could even end up with more MLAs in Delhi if a state election is held with the Lok Sabha poll. They seem to sense a momentum in their favour, which could evaporate if they don’t capitalise on it.
UP, MP and Maharashtra warm up to AAP
The biggest underplayed AAP fact is that it has received the best response from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in its current free membership drive. No one knew how the Main Bhi Aam Aadmi [I too am a common man] campaign would pan out and the initial results are a surprise.
There is still a week to go but as of now, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have added the most to the AAP membership. The Congress was recently thrashed in the Madhya Pradesh assembly election and the AAP thinks it could now do well there in the General Election.
Uttar Pradesh is critical. If the AAP manages a decent show there, it could seriously upset the BJP calculation. Maharashtra could likewise be bad news for the Congress if the AAP membership boost is an indication. Such a surge for a non-Congress non-BJP force has not happened in nearly 35
More from the author:
Why Arvind Kejriwal makes more sense than Narendra Modi
Mandela: The man we couldn't emulate
Tejpal the editor is dead; Tejpal the human may be reborn
10 greatest chief ministers of India
Needed ASAP: Another 15 Bharat Ratnas
Vijay Simha is an independent journalist and sobriety campaigner based out of New Delhi. His most recent journalism assignment was as executive editor with The Financial World, New Delhi, and tehelka.com.
He was a guest on Season 1 of the popular Indian TV showSatyamev Jayate, hosted by Aamir Khan.
Vijay blogs here and may be contacted at email@example.com.