Issues

In the name of democracy, shall we unite and give Delhi to Kejriwal?

In 2011, during the India against corruption movement, I understood that a huge part of IAC members were supporting BJP and rightwing indirectly. Understanding that people like Anna, Ramdev, Kiran Bedi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others (some of them associated with RSS), were working towards transforming the apolitical middle class into voters, who were not only against the Congress, but also, if possible pro BJP. To be true, the idea that only fighting corruption can cure everything in an economy seemed rather naive and simplistic to me. I also understood how the international finance capital played its part in pushing the corporate agenda behind the anti-corruption movement and thereby, pressed for low fiscal deficit or low public expenditure on social sector. Corruption seemed the best way to gain consensus towards reducing fiscal deficit- a new found ghost of capitalist economists. However, the same people did not seem to questionbailing out after the recessions in USA or Europe, where their own tax money was paid to finance the loses made by corporate giants, to be a corruption.

This was when I wrote an article titled ‘Why Occupy India Seems a Murky Dream’1 for the CPI ML magazine Rebel. Correspondingly, with all these, was the rise of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi within his party. Bail of Amit Shah before Gujarat Assembly Elections and many other similar trends that suggested that the worst form of right-wing corporate nexus was on the rise. And it could be sensed in the nature of politics, campaign speeches, supreme court legislations, attitude of election commission, appreciation for murderers, communal riots, more bails, killings of key witnesses, change of image, haircut, trimming of beard, manicure and pedicure, branded clothes, voice, speeches, words etc.

However, a twist happened when a faction of IAC people created their own party. While some of the people, ideologically right-wing, stayed on with the party, the agendas and policies they had drafted and they spoke of, did make some of us turn and listen to them. Using the catchy word of “Corruption” the newly formed party was attacking complex and relevant issues like AFSPA, De-regulation, Genetically modified crops, scrapping of environmental licences, reduction in coverage of programmes like NREGA, NRHM and PDS, Indian Army's rape culture in Kashmir, Chattisgarh and North East and were pushing for higher public expenditure on social sector with priority on health and education. They pretty much had the points that BJP did not. They also clarified that the electricity bills were wrongly computed and that there was a possibility to reduce it again in near future.

As they slowly started shifting their focus to socialist agendas, and defining development with a centre to left definition, many more people left them and joined BJP. When they finally won in Delhi and implemented low-cost electricity, water for poor and raised the auto fares, the elite in Delhi was very concerned. They were angry that their electricity and water bills did not change. Aam Aadmi Party's interest in poor and lower middle class disgusted the middle and upper class of Delhi. After the then Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned, many more people left the party. Many of their voters too were now with BJP. This probably helped BJP win all seven seats in Lok Sabha, though AAP’s vote share in Delhi continued to grow.

We all know what happened in Varanasi. We could call it a political blunder, or we could also see it as a symbolic fight against the right, given the absence of Left and Centre. However since then, the AAP has been working silently away from the media. The campaign strategies are ripped off from core left's styles of street plays, innovative posters, sloganeering (as Karat accused them many times2) but are simplistic and more sale-able. Flash mobs, Street theatres, music videos, social media and some really interesting campaign ads etc have been used efficiently. There is an indie feel to it. Something like crowd-funding for a movie one wants to watch. A documentary on IAC movement and AAP titled ‘Proposition for a Revolution’33 by Vinay Pathak, if released before elections may add to the campaign’s utility.

Sambit Patra of BJP used the term “guerrilla tactics of politics" as a derogatory term against AAP in a TV interview. I feel, this is exactly what they are doing. This is Guerrilla Campaigning and that too with a style. 

With Shazia Ilmi leaving the party, some of us who observe the party from a distance now wait for people like Somnath Bharti, Kumar Vishwas and other members of the party too-those who are soft towards the right-wing ideology, to leave.

I have been one of the biggest critics of Anna Hazare movement and AAP since its inception. The point I am trying to make here is a little different. If BJP wins Delhi, the equation in Rajya Sabha changes. It makes both the houses of parliament polarised. This will make it easy for all the bills we don’t want to pass, passed easily.

I cannot say for sure if AAP will be able to execute their plans/agendas successfully, for I cannot trust politicians much. But I think it is the best option for Dilli now, given the rise of the Rightwing fanaticism that we have been experiencing in these times.

I often thought that the Left parties could have used these last three to four years of the Indian politics to create a similar noise in the national capital and do something like AAP did or even create a parallel movement. It could do now by stopping the Modi wave in these Delhi elections.

Notes
1. http://www.cpiml.in/home/files/Rebel/3_Rebel_English_Dec_2011.pdf
2.http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/aap-s-spartan-style-very-communist-prakash-karat/article1-1168788.aspx
3. https://www.facebook.com/prop4rev

Goirick Brahmachari lives in New Delhi. He hails from Silchar, Assam. His poems have appeared in North East Review, Nether, Pyrta Journal, Raedleaf Poetry, Coldnoon Quarterly, The Four Quarters Magazine and other Indian journals. His articles and film reviews have appeared in dallies like The Hindu, The Shillong Times and others.He may be contacted at goirick@gmail.com

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