Libmonster ID: U.S.-1346

V. P. KASHIN

Candidate of Historical Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Key words: India, Delhi Legislative Elections 2015, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Aam Aadmi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party

The February 2015 Legislative Assembly elections in the National Capital Territory fundamentally changed the balance of political power in Delhi. The election was won by the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party - AAP), supported by the poorest segments of the population and young people.

Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Jantar Mantar, India Gate... Recently, brands in the Indian capital have increasingly included the office of Aam Admi Party at 41 Hanuman Mandir Lane, in the business center of Connaught Place. Every day, from morning to night, it is besieged by crowds of people. They come here from all over the country to fill out a questionnaire, pay 10 rupees and get a party ticket to participate in legislative elections. The police and volunteers have organized round-the-clock duty near the party office and are struggling to cope with the increasing workload.

APPLICANTS AND FORECASTS

Elections to the Legislative Assembly (legislature) The National Capital Territory of Delhi was held on 7 February 2015. The main contenders for victory were the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party - BJP), the political wing of Hindu nationalism, and the populist Aam Aadmi Party.

In April-May 2014, the BJP won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections. In the Lok Sabha (People's Chamber), it won 282 seats out of 545, which for the first time in 30 years was enough to form a one - party government headed by its charismatic leader and energetic administrator, Narendra Modi1. At the end of 2014, the BJP also confidently won state legislative elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, formed a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir together with the People's Democratic Party, and intended to continue its "triumphant march" across the country this year.

According to polls conducted by various agencies and periodicals in India on the eve of the Delhi legislative elections, the BJP was ahead of its competitors and was expected to win 35-37 parliamentary seats out of 70, i.e. the majority of seats. However, a sharp and intense struggle awaited her. A survey of 4,055 respondents conducted by IMRB and popular magazine The Week showed that 38.98% of potential voters (36 seats in the legislature) expressed their intention to support the BJP, 37.42% (29 seats) - the AAP, and the oldest party in the country - the Indian National Congress (INC) - 11.50% of voters (4 seats in the legislature)2.

In the previous composition of the legislative assembly of the Indian capital, the BJP had 31 seats, and the AAP - 28 seats. But it was the AAP, with the support of 8 INC deputies, that formed a minority government. It ran Delhi for 49 days, from 28 December 2013 to 14 February 2014. The first AARP government was remembered for calling for no electricity bills to be publicly burned; closing an exotic African hangout set up by female students from Nigeria and Rwanda; and attempting to move the Delhi police force from central to local control. This government resigned after the anti-corruption bill put forward by it did not receive the approval of the majority of deputies. A presidential rule was introduced in Delhi.

page 19

AAM AADMI PARTY AND ITS LEADER

Aam Aadmi Party emerged on November 24, 2012, amid a wave of outrage over the total corruption that has hit all levels of government. Its founder was 47-year-old Arvind Kejriwal, known in the Indian press as "AK-49". AK is an abbreviation of his name, and 49 is the number of days that the first AAP government lasted. "AK-49" is the absolute leader of its small-scale country, but dynamic and aggressive party. We can say that the AAP is the party of Kejriwal, as, for example, in Russia the LDPR is the party of Zhirinovsky.

Arvind Kejriwal was born on August 16, 1968 in Siwani, a quiet town in Haryana state with tiny shops and dusty streets. His parents ' house, with its bright orange doors and windows, is today the main attraction of the city, its pride.

The future AK-49 began his professional career in 1989 in the Tata steel concern. However, he soon got bored with the monotonous work, and in 1995 he entered the Indian Taxation Office, passing the relevant exam. In 2000, Kejriwal received a government grant, under the terms of which he had to improve his skills for two years and not leave the service for at least another three years. From the employer's point of view, he violated these conditions and was forced to resign in February 2006.

In the same year, Kejriwal created the non-governmental public organization Parivartan (Change), which used the right to information under the law to counteract the arbitrariness of officials. So it is quite logical that in 2010 he joined the movement "India against Corruption", led by 78-year-old Kisan Baburao Hazare - a native of Maharashtra, better known as Anna (lit., "father", "daddy") Khazar.

Angry, young, almost maniacally focused on success rebel who could tirelessly work 18 hours a day for the good of the cause, came to the liking of Anna Khazar. Quickly advanced and became his right-hand man. "I am Hanuman* to Hazare," Kejriwal 3 would say proudly. It was he who planned, organized and conducted mass campaigns, mobilized and positioned cadres. But, unlike the master, Kejriwal sought to give the movement against corruption a political focus. On this basis, he and Anna Khazare separated. So the Party of the Common Man was born.

The ideology of the AAP is based on the Gandhian concept of swaraj (literally, "your rule"), as the most important component of the dharma. If implemented, the Government would be directly responsible to the people for its actions. The main demands of the party are the eradication of corruption, equality and justice for all citizens, as stated in the preamble to the Constitution of India. The AAP has chosen a broom as its symbol. AAP members wear white caps with the inscription: "I am a simple person!"and an image of the party symbol made in black paint.

In the first AAP government, Kejriwal served as Chief Minister. All this time, he remained the center of attention in the Indian media, which was greatly facilitated by his natural charm, ability to stand freely in front of the camera lens and strong connections in the journalistic environment.

The success of the AAP in Delhi is often compared to the winning debut of the Telugu Regional Desam Party (Telugu People's Party) under the leadership of the famous actor Ram Rao in the 1983 Andhra Pradesh legislative elections, and the achievement of the Assam Regional Asom Gana Parishad (Assam People's Council), which gathered a radical party under its banner in the 1985 elections. configured students. But unlike them, AAP has limited financial resources and a relatively weak organizational base.

After his forced resignation, the AAP leader focused his efforts on the parliamentary elections. The party put forward candidates in 434 electoral districts, although, according to experts, it could only apply for 10 parliamentary seats. Kejriwal ran in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, in the same district as BJP candidate Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001-2014 and author of the Gujarati "economic miracle". Kejriwal arrived in Varanasi by train from Gujarat, where BJP activists often disrupted his speeches by throwing stones. In retaliation, AAP supporters attacked the BJP headquarters on Ashoka Road in the Indian capital.

In Varanasi, the white cap of a Kejriwal was considered an element of Muslim clothing. And his accusations against Modi, as a protege of big capital and a partner of Gujarati oligarchs Gautama Adani and Mukesh and Anil Ambani, were not understood at all, because they had no idea who they were, these oligarchs. As a result, Kejriwal lost to Modi by a wide margin-209 thousand votes to 581 thousand, i.e. almost 1 to 3.In addition, the AAP did not receive a single parliamentary mandate in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India by population - 205 million people. And the four mandates it won in Punjab were little consolation in this situation.4

BATTLE OF DELHI

The February 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly election was viewed by the AAP headquarters as


* Hanuman is the companion of Prince Rama and the leader of the monkey army on the campaign to Lanka. The ancient Indian epic poem Ramayana is dedicated to their exploits. author's note).

* Dharma is a moral and religious duty in Hinduism.

page 20

a chance to take revenge for your defeat in the parliamentary elections. The party prepared for them in advance and carefully, having mobilized 15 thousand agitators. Subsequently, their number increased to 40 thousand. It started its election campaign in September 2014, much earlier than the BJP and the INC.

Arvind Kejriwal spoke at 3 or 4 rallies a day, which attracted an audience of 20 thousand people. He is a natural orator-agitator. Performs passionately. He speaks convincingly. If necessary, he can sing. Those who listen to him have their eyes lit up like they're watching an exciting show. And on the podium, a small man with a funny mustache and a childish helpless smile immediately becomes a hero, despite the cramped jumper, baggy light trousers and a dirty brown scarf wrapped around his head. Meanwhile, he has a severe form of diabetes. He should eat a little every 2 to 3 hours. Guests at his house are always offered ice cream. But the owner himself never eats it. His favorite dish is boiled peas.

In addition to defeating corruption, Kejriwal promised Delhi residents free wireless Internet (Wi-Fi), free tap water (20 thousand liters per month per family), cheap electricity and 500 new schools, 20 colleges, 900 new health centers, 30 thousand hospital beds, 5 thousand shuttle buses and 200 thousand more. public toilets. According to the calculations of Indian economist Ashok Lahiri, the total value of the AAP leader's promise reaches 690 billion rubles. This is slightly less than Delhi's two annual budgets of 367.66 billion rupees. Rs. 5 in the 2014/15 financial year.

He intended to fight crime and, first of all, with rapes causing widespread public outrage, with the help of surveillance cameras and detachments of voluntary assistants. Small traders were tempted by low taxes and freedom from racketeering.

He also had magic words for the electorate of his rivals. Thus, he promised BJP supporters a better life when prices fall under his government, and urged congressional voters not to waste their time by wasting their votes. In response to the appeal of Hindu nationalists to their co-religionists to save Bharat (the ancient name of India) for Hindus and give birth to four children, Kejriwal got off with the remark: "Our women are not machines for producing children!"6.

His 70-point "Action Plan" was aimed at protecting the poorest segments of the population, low-income civil servants, migrant workers, slum dwellers, members of religious minorities and Dalits, former untouchables. To strengthen its position, the AAP entered into an alliance with influential social groups in various parts of the city and promised their activists places in the future government.

Kejriwal's main rival in the election was 66-year-old Kiran Bedi. She was born on June 9, 1949 in the city of Amritsar (Punjab) in the family of a businessman. Kiran is a former tennis player and India's first female police officer. During the 1982 Asian Games, she regulated traffic in the capital and earned the nickname "Bedi Tow Truck" for her decisive actions against improperly parked cars. She was then Inspector General of Delhi Prisons until her retirement in 2007. Since 2011-activist of the movement "India against Corruption". Together with Kejrawal, she gave interviews and starred on television.

In the parliamentary elections, Kiran Bedi supported Narendra Modi and with his participation became the BJP's candidate for the post of Chief Minister of Delhi. It is significant that she joined the BJP just three weeks before the legislative elections, on January 15, 2015. Meticulous journalists also found in her dossier the following facts: in the past, she abused official tourism, arranged for her daughter to attend a medical college under a quota from the northeastern state of Mizoram, and defended a lawyer found in a women's public toilet.7 During the election campaign, Kejriwal was sarcastic in calling Bedi a "scapegoat" in the BJP.

Bedi denied Kejriwal a public debate, citing the fact that Modi had explained the BJP's position on all relevant issues in sufficient detail. The main point of her speeches provided for the transformation of-

page 21

making Delhi a "world-class city" that needs development, good leadership and high-speed trains today.

It was obvious that Kieran Vedi was losing the race to his opponent. Therefore, the BJP leaders sent 14 central government ministers (one minister to each of the 14 metropolitan districts) and 70 parliamentarians to help her. 82 thousand rubles. The volunteers were brought to the streets by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Union of Voluntary Servants of the Nation), the oldest and most influential organization of Hindu nationalism. Narendra Modi took part in 4 of the 20 planned rallies. He gave a negative assessment of the activities of the first AAP government, called Kejriwal an "anarchist" and a "Naxalite"* and advised him to "return to the forests". According to BJP President Amit Shah, Arvind Kejriwal is a "liar". And Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to deal with the financing of AAP and pointed out that the list of its sponsors includes non-existent firms. 8

THE CHOICE IS MADE

On February 10, the results of the vote were announced-they turned out to be sensational. The AAP was supported by 54.3% of voters and won 67 seats out of 70. The BJP received 32.7% of votes, which allowed it to retain 3 seats in the majority system of elections. 9.7% of the electors9 voted for INC. The Congress did not receive any parliamentary mandates.

The main contribution to the victory of the AAP was made by the poorest sections of society and young people, fascinated by the populism of Arvind Kejriwal. It was supported by 77% of Muslims and 57% of Sikhs.10 Part of the middle class and well-off strata, who usually vote for the BJP, this time betrayed their traditional political sympathies. In turn, the new defeat of the INC indicates a deep and prolonged crisis in the party and the inability of the current representatives of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to cope with it due to the lack of political will and constructive ideas that meet modern public needs.

The failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi was natural. The National Capital Territory has always created big problems for the party in elections, despite the presence of a broad and loyal support base. First of all, this is due to the lack of a strong regional party leader, which seems incomprehensible to the part of the electorate that has been influenced by the ideology of Hindu nationalism. Therefore, relying on the charisma of Narendra Modi does not fully justify itself in the context of a sharp political struggle. High expectations of rapid and substantial improvements in all areas of life from the Modi government also played a role.

* * *

Can we say that the Aam Aadmi Party is an alternative to the BJP and the INC today? On the scale of the National Capital Territory - definitely yes, on the scale of India-not yet. Nevertheless, the party is rapidly gaining points, and its influence in the regions is growing.

According to a number of political analysts, the victory of the AAP against the background of growing populist sentiment in society is a temporary phenomenon. Despite having a significant number of promises in its election program aimed at improving the living conditions of the poorest segments of the population, the AAP deliberately kept silent about ways to obtain the necessary financial resources. It is possible that faced with difficulties, Kejriwal may resign early from the post of Chief Minister of Delhi, as happened in 2014.

But apparently, the AK-49 has learned the lessons of its first reign well. At least, he is clearly not in a hurry to fulfill his pre-election mega-promises and is trying to solve the problems of the National Capital Territory taking into account real opportunities, the economic situation and the immediate prospects.

In late April, the Delhi government announced a reduction in water prices and the purchase of 500 new shuttle buses. Earlier, it was decided to reform the school education system at all levels and improve the skills of medical personnel in hospitals and health centers.

However, the March 28 withdrawal from the AAP National Executive Committee of ideologue and strategist Yogendra Yadav, prominent functionary Prashant Bhushan, and the only woman on the committee, Christina Samu, who denounced the dictatorial methods of the party leadership and Kejriwal's "Stalinism", indicates a split in the young and once cohesive party team.


* A Naxalite is a member of a radical communist group in India waging a guerrilla war against the government.

Kashin V. P., Shaumyan T. L. 1 Parliamentary elections in India: new Political realities. 2014, N 11, с. 104 - 114. (Kashin V.P., Shaumyan T.L. 2014. Parlamentskie vybory v Indii... // World Economy and International Affairs. N 11) (in Russian)

Mishra S 2. Baton vs Broom // The Week, 8.02.2015, p. 38 - 39.

Sardesai R. 3 The Election That Changed India. New Delhi, 2014, p. 187.

Lahiri A. 4 The End of Identity Politics // India Today, 26.05.2014, p. 24 - 26; Prasannan R. The White Lotus Man // The Week, 25.05.2014, p. 52 - 57.

Lahiri A. 5 After the Conquest, the Cost // India Today, 23.02.2015, p. 37.

Naqvi S. 6 Broomstone Cowboy // Outlook, 26.01.2015, p. 34.

Mishra S. 7 Op. cit., p. 38.

8 Election Won & Lost in Three Weeks // Outlook, 23.02.2015, p. 41.

Malhotra J. 9 Aam Aadmi's Revenge // India Today, 23.02.2015, p. 28.

Naqvi S. 10 Man of Masses // Outlook, 23.02.2015, p. 32.


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