If there was any doubt whatsoever whether AAP will sweep Punjab next year, such doubts have ended with Sidhu joining AAP yesterday. The inevitable AAP sweep got even bigger.
And yet I will openly say that Kejriwal has made a giant mistake. There was absolutely no need for Kejriwal to bring Sidhu in. AAP was winning anyways.
Let me explain. I have always pointed out that there is a fundamental barrier for personality based parties to become national parties. The barrier has nothing to do with the challenges of setting up cadre, vote banks etc across state borders, even though these are extremely difficult tasks on their own. No, the barrier is much more fundamental.
The fundamental problem is that a party with more than one Chief Minister has, by definition, more than one top leader. This is a situation which no personality based party can tolerate. I am sure Mayawati would be happy to see a BSP government in Madhya Pradesh, but will Mayawati be able to share her supreme control of her party with someone else? Inevitably, a BSP Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh would be a serious internal challenge to Mayawati’s authority. This is why personality based parties never spread outside a single state.
In fact, we can observe this phenomenon clearly when big states are partitioned. Both RJD and JDU were major parties in the whole of Bihar, but as soon as the state was cut in two, RJD and JDU started evaporating from Jharkhand. Finally, as on date, both parties are at BIG ZERO in the Jharkhand Assembly. Why? Because a big RJD face from Jharkhand would challenge the authority of Lalu Yadav. A big JDU face from Jharkhand would challenge the authority of Nitish Kumar. The same phenomenon repeated in Uttarakhand. Neither Mulayam Singh nor Mayawati ever could put up a real fight in the state, despite the fact that it split off from their empire in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the Telugu Desam Party is a non-entity in Telangana.
One needs to understand how multi-state parties come into being. There has to be a background network that can override the individual egos of the state leaders. In the BJP, this job is done by the RSS. In the CPI(M), it is the politburo that keeps the discipline. The Congress degenerated into a family based entity long after it had spread to every corner of India. The AAP has appointed Kejriwal as lifetime president and supreme leader already.
As such, Kejriwal would have been better advised to become CM of Punjab himself and hand over Delhi to his wife Sunita. I know he is interested in Goa…maybe he can wait till the Goa polls of 2022 and try to make his daughter Harshita the CM face there. It really is the only way for him: because an AAP CM in Punjab is bound to be a challenge to Kejriwal’s control over the party. For Kejriwal the problems are even worse than they are for someone like Mayawati or Mulayam. Because the state Kejriwal runs is among the smallest in the country. Punjab is a big state, a full state and there is no reason for the Chief Minister of Punjab to see the CM of Delhi as his boss.
As if that was not enough, Kejriwal has made the worst possible move by picking Navjot Singh Sidhu, a man with his own following and popularity. The chances of Sidhu agreeing to be a puppet of Kejriwal are near zero. Why should Sidhu listen to Kejriwal? He will be CM of a bigger state, he has his own base and his own nationwide name recognition. By the way, I think the RW and BJP should hasten the inevitable by taking this line up aggressively.
AAP is now no longer Kejriwal’s party, it is now jointly owned by Kejriwal AND Navjot Singh Sidhu. How does that make Kejriwal feel, I wonder 🙂 🙂 ?
Ok, Kejriwal hasn’t actually announced Sidhu as Punjab CM candidate yet. But, I really doubt Sidhu would just leave a Rajya Sabha seat unless he had received a clear assurance. In case Kejriwal goes back on his assurance now, there’s gonna be more fun 🙂