Issues

Is it possible to ignore Aam Aadmi Party?

People who are describing Aam Aadmi Party as “dangerous, anarchic, publicity seeker,” which is unfit for the Indian democracy, are mostly from the generation that has grown used to long established political parties and the abuses,  corruption, communalism, dynasty politics, authoritarianism, crony capitalism that they inflict on the nation. These folks think that if you want a semblance of democracy, you have to pay this price. To them acting boldly and quickly is “dangerous and anarchic” . The inequalities perpetrated on the poor who live below poverty line, the working poor who live in slums, the tribal people who are suffering massive injustice in the name of quick and big industrialisation, the poor among Dalits and religious minorities, the fourth class Indians who work as domestic servants, laborers, drivers etc, do not bother this establishment class.

In contrast, AAP is giving voice to the relatively younger generation that refuses to accept not only these wrongs but also believes that you do not have to pay such a high price for democracy and pluralism. At the same time they are not leftists and believe in the free enterprise economics.

In the last few years the older generation, rich and poor,  accepted the failure of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement to pass a tough Lokpal bill in Parliament, and to do something meaningful to curb high level corruption and crony capitalism. Some from that older generation fell victim to BJP which tried to exploit IAC to target Congress party while ignoring the large-scale corruption and crony capitalism in BJP-ruled states and in BJP’s national movements. IAC workers and sympathisers like Kiran Bedi and Ramdev have sided with BJP in its attempt to use the movement to gain power.

It was the relatively younger generation from IAC - Kejriwal, Yadav, Bhushan, Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, Shazia Ilmi, and others - that refused to accept the helplessness of the IAC movement to address the core issues. Instead of continuing as an NGO like many other excellent social change NGOs, they rightly decided that cleansing the political system (rajneeti) is the only viable means to accomplish the goals of IAC. Of-course this was a hugely difficult task and a very high mountain to climb, and with parliamentary election were approaching in just a few months!

Surely AAP was not ready for the parliamentary election. Even though people all over the country loved their bold attempt and success in the Delhi election and wanted them to emulate it nationwide. One of AAP’s most remarkable successes is being able to persuade the many do-gooder social activists throughout the country to take part in the parliamentary election to cleanse politics itself. Win or lose in the current election, these stars will provide much needed juice and horsepower to the AAP movement to go forward as a nationwide movement to cleanse the political system of the country in the future. Indeed the joint efforts and collective voices of these diverse activists could make this movement into a powerful national movement, akin to India’s freedom movement.

Presently, AAP is spread extremly thin and is suffering from acute shortages of time, organisation throughout the country, funds, leaders, policy formulations etc. This has caused them to make some mistakes that the two big parties Congress and BJP, and their groupies, have jumped right on to malign AAP. Because these people feel most threatened with the meteoric rise of AAP’s vision as something that can actually be put into practice. Also being spread thin, AAP has made a few mistakes.

For instance: Kejriwal’s dharna in Delhi soon after becoming CM and backing Smonath Bharti’s impulsive actions in Khirki village; putting up a large number of candidates nationwide without required resources; AAP resigning from Delhi government in extreme hurry without giving sufficient explanation to the public; Kejriwal’s rash comment that he will jail the errant media personnel...

AAP is an idea whose time has definitely come and the people in the nation at large, young, middle-aged and old alike, are definitely very enthusiastic about the AAP movement. Except those who have vested interests in money-uscle politics, exploiting the fault lines of religion and caste, letting the robber barons and crony capitalists exploit the nation.

This battle is going to be intense and long drawn. But there is no way the nation can avoid this battle or ignore it. 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2014 on page no. 2

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