“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This famous 1997 ad from Apple brings to our mind, the Indian Political Entrepreneur, Arvind Kejriwal.
The “political startup” by Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has evolved from a movement grounded in agitating for an anti-corruption bill to a political party with considerable popularity. This metamorphosis has been truly remarkable and much credit goes to the sheer grit and determination of Arvind Kejriwal.
The fact that a party which was formed a few months ago has assumed office in the Vidhan Sabha in Delhi feels less of an evolution and more of a revolution. But, given the short time-frame and the complex governance system, the fact to be noticed here by AAP is that it may not possess too many deliverable to showcase in the election campaign.
Mistakes are things which people do on purpose, with negative consequences already known by many others. Mistakes are more insidious, and should be avoided at all costs. And when it comes to political system, there is no room for mistakes. So, here we are pointing out some mistakes made by early age startup ‘AAP’ of Arvind Kejriwal, which if altered in time, can lead this startup to success.
1. Idea does not uniquely solve the problem
AAP’s meteoric rise in Delhi polls and taking the reins of Delhi state government has acted as a force multiplier demonstrating that its brand of politics can actually pay dividends. This also means that the party has started its political career without a core ideology that extends beyond being anti-Congress and anti-graft.
At this time, AAP has to deal with the transition from activism to governance. This will not be an easy task, especially when they have to scale up their act in next two months. Corruption has become one of the major problems for the country and has taken the centre stage for upcoming elections, but this is not all. There are other matters as well which are seeking the national attention.
2. Don’t really understand the customer and its demands
It is apparent that anti-corruption is the present flavour of political discourse, in which AAP conducted a three-year-long sustained non-political anti-corruption campaign. Consequently, voters in Delhi related to AAP, especially given its clean slate and cover of activism.
However, in the national elections, AAP cannot be the sole beneficiary of anti-corruption sentiments against the Congress party. It would have to adapt in accordance with the changing demands of people as they enter different states of the country.
3. No go-to-market strategy
This 14-month-old party is emerging as a disruptive force against both the main national parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, it is still charting out the details of how many Lok Sabha constituencies it will contest in. The party is expanding into other states to contest in upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The strategy of AAP to emerge as a single leading party in upcoming Lok Sabha polls is still not very clear.
4. Incomplete leadership
There are parties which have leaders but don’t have supporters. AAP is a party which has a vast pool of potential support and sympathy but do not have ready-made leaders at local level.
There is lots of leadership which is available but the question is how to find the leader who can become the face of the party in a region? So, challenge here is to search for talent, leaders, people who can organize, who are natural leaders of society and who share that ethical core, those principles, that we believe in.
5. Sacrificing customers to supposed profits
The very reason of the movement of which Arvind Kejriwal was a part, and the political party which he formed, was to fight corruption. Then an opportunity arose to form a government in alliance with the party which, unarguably, has run the most corrupt government in Indian history and he used a dubious opinion poll as an excuse to do this.
6. Competitors do not give up easily
Ironically, both the BJP and the AAP draw their political ballast from the anti-Congress wave that seems to have seized the nation. Yet, they find themselves on opposing sides. This is not very surprising as both are competing to occupy the same political space that the Congress abdicated.
Even both have political footprints that overlap, especially in urban India, and narratives that have evolved around the message against graft, passionate, committed cadres willing to go the last mile, and a groundswell of support among the youth.
Yet they couldn’t be more different. While AAP thrived in Delhi transcending the social identity, the BJP derives its strength from this. While AAP is a novice as evident from its stumbling efforts in first few weeks in the office in Delhi, BJP boasts of enormous experience, both in government and outside.
The early success of this startup as evident from Delhi Vidhan Sabha polls is remarkable. But it is like having a fantastic product or service idea that works only in a specific zone. And with the time taken to scale the idea, it runs the risk of losing the customer connect and demand created. It also poses the danger of giving its competitors time to learn, re-align and capture the marketplace. So, planning for rapid scalability is almost a responsibility for this Start ‘AAP’.