Ideological issues: Large part of the members and volunteers, in other words, “the base” of Aam Aadmi are from the IAC movement and the Nirbhaya movement. These people included both BJP and Congress supporters before AAP was formed. The volunteers also included Right and Left aligned ideology. AAP enjoyed the luxury of not having to have a strong policy so far. Once the policy is set, and once they must respond on issues, some of the strong supporters will move away. It is not as simple of anti-corruption or women protection cells. Surajeet Das Gupta quitting the party showing the reason for the opinion differences in FDI policy can’t be taken lightly. More people may follow this once the policy is published. Based on their leaders’ background, it seems that AAP will be left inclined, so the challenge is to keep the right inclined supporters in the party.
Expectations too high: It is very unlikely that rapes will stop even after AAP comes to power. It is unlikely that people will stop taking bribes. There isn’t enough police in the country to stop these things. AAP is saying no special protection to the MLAs. If tomorrow someone attacks an MLA, and unfortunately if he/she dies, we know who will be blamed. Also most of the AAP MLAs are new. How they will deliver to high expectations will be very challenging.
AAP by winning 28 seats, and possibly coming into power, has set up a very high bar for the elections. Next time they contest, the expectation is winning big. Few seats will be seen as loosing. We need to remember that AAP had one state to focus. Next time they will still have Delhi to manage (especially if they come to power), and then contest somewhere else.
The problems you face when you win the elections are good problems to have. For example, the biggest problem AAP has, is whether to form the government or go for re elections. But the problems AAP will face will be much worse. People will start pointing fingers, leave the party, back-stab etc. It will be a challenge to face such situations for a non-traditional party.
Staying relevant in National elections: In the polar state we are in, most people are divided between Modi and Rahul Gandhi. At this time, I don’t think it’s possible for AAP to win majority seats in the Parliament and form the government. The next best thing for AAP is a third front. Even in the 3rd front scenario, there aren’t enough parties at the AAP’s acceptable standards to win a majority. Now the question supporters will ask is, what role AAP will play? They can play a neutral role, but would that excite people to stay neutral when India’s future is on the line? Next question is, who out of BJP or Congress will it benefit if AAP keeps equal distance? AAP followers have their own perception of which party is the 2nd best (or least worst). And whoever AAP ends up benefiting (or hurting less), some supporters will be disappointed.
Controlling party workers especially in other states: As soon as AAP won big in Delhi, a lot of people came forward to join the party from different parts of the country. AAP has had the benefit of closely scrutinizing people for the Delhi elections. It is not the same to keep an eye on entire country. I am sure there are honest people in all parts of the country, but they don’t necessarily align with AAP.
Financial Issues: The part time volunteers return to their regular jobs after the elections. The donations also slow down significantly. But the party must run. It is not easy for party to run without money, even for a low cost setup like AAP. The challenge is to sustain on the donations from working class people and stay away from big corporations and big donors.
Volunteer enthusiasm: This is probably the most important of all. The biggest advantage AAP had, was it’s supporters. People across the world contributed to the AAP for Delhi elections. This is either by going to Delhi to do on the ground campaign, or by participating in call campaign or by directly donating money. This model is extremely difficult to sustain. The same people will not be able to take off from their work to do the campaigning or will not be able to continue to donate. In fact more money is needed to run the elections in bigger states and constituencies. That means the challenge is to constantly find new energy.