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AAP’s strong debut signals a possible churn in the national opposition space

In an interesting political development AAP made a strong debut in the Gujarat civic polls, winning 27 of 93 seats in Surat and thereby displacing Congress to grab the second position here after BJP. While BJP made a clean sweep of all the six municipal corporations, AAP making inroads in the saffron outfit’s bastion indicates a political churn.

It’s apparent that Congress is no longer seen as a viable alternative to BJP in Gujarat having failed to regain lost ground here for years. In fact, in the current political scenario, the BJP-Congress binary actually helps the saffron outfit retain its hold. This could explain why anti-BJP voters are flocking to AAP which they see as a more viable alternative. Plus, AAP doesn’t have Congress’s minority appeasement baggage, an important factor in Gujarat’s political firmament.

Also read: BJP sweeps Gujarat civic polls, AAP makes stunning debut

In that sense, Congress’s decline in Gujarat is indicative of the predicament of the political opposition nationally. India’s grand old party is no longer seen as capable of taking on the BJP juggernaut with voices growing for regional outfits and non-traditional parties to take the opposition lead. Consider the tough fight that Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is putting up against BJP in Bengal or AAP’s now solid base in Delhi. Also note Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM making electoral inroads outside its traditional bastion of Hyderabad. But the big question still remains if these disparate regional outfits can form a common platform to take on BJP nationally. That still seems unlikely at the moment, which of course is to BJP’s advantage.

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