The Dangerous Experiment with the Aam Aadmi Party
In the year 2011, a movement was launched for a jan lokpal by activist Anna Hazare. We all know about it. Many of us especially born in the late 80s or early 90s were quite fascinated by the sheer energy of the movement. Our parents might have had seen another high voltage movement by Jai Prakash Narayan in the 70s but for us, this was our very first large social movement. Add the high density exposure of social as well as television and it was all very good.
We have read about the JP movement and it was already clear that even though the two movements could not be compared but they both were similar in the sense, they both caught the anger of the people against the governments of their times and channelized it into their movements. Hence, it was clear that like in JP era, here also, politicians would be produced. A large part of the present leadership in India from Nitish Kumar to Arun Jaitley is a product of the JP movement. From the Anna movement came Arvind Kejriwal a former IRS officer and a Magasasey Award winner. He started his own party called Aam Aadmi Party, of which I am very cynical about. Here are a few reasons I would like to share
First, social work should begin at home. Whether we like it or not, Tax departments in India are plagued densely by corruption. Be it the excise or income tax or customs at the airports, a large part of Indian population would know about the serious corruption there. Then why did Arvind Kejriwal quit his post at the Income Tax office to fight corruption elsewhere, when he could have made a huge difference in the IT department itself as a senior official. Look at how Ashok Khemka is holding on. Former CAG Vinod Rai withstood govt pressures when he exposed corruption in the govt. departments. Then why Arvind should have had to quit his job to search for corruption elsewhere? Today of course he claims he never wanted to join politics and always wanted to work in the social space. Is the Indian Revenue Service not a medium of social space? Or is it that it didn't give him enough name and fame?
Secondly, I can't understand his basis for forming a party. We want a lokpal bill. So we will one day form majority in Delhi Vidhan Sabha than in Rajya Sabha than in Lok Sabha or whichever happens first and then we will pass the lokpal bill that we like. This seems to be the attitude of the party. I mean, is a lokpal answer to all my problems? Sure corruption is a huge issue, but is it not due to systems in place? In India we have created systems in such a manner that breeds discretionary powers to select people and hence encourage corruption. Also how much time would be needed to attain all these majorities for according to Aam Aadmi Party no other political party is good enough.
Which brings me to my next very important point. Last time I researched and its been time, I might be wrong, there are thousand yes, thousand plus political parties in India. Here comes one Mr. Kejriwal who says no political party is good enough for him and he will give us a new party. I mean, I totally respect one's opinion if one is anti or pro BJP or Congress. Many people support regional or other smaller parties and it is their choice. But to say that out of all those thousands of parties registered with the Election Commission of India, none of them is good enough or to say all are bad is very weird according to me.
Politics in a democracy is not imported from abroad. Even a foreign national like Mrs. Sonia Gandhi Indianizes herself, immerses herself in the public and tries to win their hearts with issues that she thinks is dear to them. Today the leadership in the two mainstream parties maybe not in the best of their health, but where is that leadership coming from? It is coming from within the society. A Narendra Modi is declared the PM candidate by the BJP citing lot of public support he is receiving. Nothing is coming from outer space. If the two parties are performing bad, it is a reflection of the society as much as its leaders. To stand up on a dais and misguide people that you are the only torch bearer of honest politics is smart politics but not an honest one.
This is the reason why I am writing this today. For today as I had suspected the Aam Aadmi Party has misguided the public into a hung assembly like situation in Delhi. A situation has come up where an Independent MLA on TV was asking the BJP leadership for a deputy CM's post in a manner so brazen that it was shocking for even me, who has read and studied Indian politics in great length. So now we have yet another Samajwadi Party or a Bahujan Samaj Party with a strong personality cult of a singular leader who is pushing his own agenda for political gains. To his credit Arvind Kejriwal does appear to have the personality of a regional party Supremo with his now newly conquered turf.
The rise of Arvind's party is exciting for all us who missed the JP movement and subsequently never saw the rise of the regional parties that sprang up upon its consequence. Like the splinter Janata Dals and Samaj Parties. Each one promising social change and ideals of their iconic leaders. TV news anchors are time and again reminding us of how intelligent and well aware the people of Delhi are. Now as they face the possibility of hung assembly and wastage of campaign money of hundreds of crores (which of course can be always collected by people again) not to mention the risk of huge loss of public money as election expenses, perhaps Delhi's citizens would remind the country of the 90's era of small parties, unstable governments and borderline majorities. How much those experiments benefited the people is too well known for me to write here.