The Indian political scene was dominated by just one political party, the Indian National Congress (INC), up to the 90s, except for a brief period in the 70s. Then in the early 90s, a new political force known as BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party), riding on its extremist right wing ideology, emerged.
Up to 2013, it was these two political entities who dominated the national scene. In the state elections, regional parties tended to do very well but in the national general elections no party came even close to giving some sort of a competition to the two big players. Then, in late 2012, a third force known as AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), or the Common Man's Party, came into existence. The most important issue about AAP was that it stood against corruption. The nation had recently witnessed a spate of scams. The party made its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi legislative assembly election, where it emerged as the second largest party, winning 28 of the 70 seats. With no party obtaining an overall majority, AAP formed a minority government with conditional support from the INC.
The important question is whether AAP can be a suitable alternative to the two established political parties; if it will be any different, and prove to be a breath of fresh air in the arena of Indian politics, because the common Indian man has started to become really disillusioned with the state of Indian politics. The people of the nation are sick and tired of the multi-million dollar cases of corruption and the politics of communalism.
Some critics of AAP say that they are anarchists and they only know how to protest and sit on dharnas (sit-in protests). This allegation against AAP was further strengthened when Arvind Kejriwal, AAP's founder and Delhi's Chief Minister in early 2013, resigned after 49 days. The people of India saw it as a sign of shirking responsibility and the party had to pay a huge price for it in the 2014 general elections, when it won only 4 seats. The party realised its mistake and asked people for another chance. The people did give them a chance again: AAP won 67 out of the 70 seats in the Delhi General Assembly Elections in January 2015. For many people, this victory of AAP heralds the beginning of a new era in Indian politics. Although, it is still to be seen if AAP is able to replicate the success it has had in the Delhi state elections all across India, but it sure is a fantastic start, and one which gives hope to the billion plus people of India.
It is imperative that AAP keeps it promises, becomes that party with a change and does not get lost in the cauldron of Indian politics.