Sunday, October 27, 2013

AAP: Is that the Hope?

I have been asking this question to myself from a long time. What makes me think that AAP will not be just another party in the long run? What makes me really think that they are capable of breaking the old saying 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!'. Do I have any proof that they are really different or is it just my emotion of helplessness against the system that is keeping me optimistic about them. I have heard several other people raising the same questions many times with some valid reasons as well. Every time I heard those questions, I have tried to convince myself by telling repeatedly that they will be different. But, am I really convinced clearly about that or am I still letting that ray of hope to speak on behalf of me? Perhaps it is time to clarify my stand clearly.

Before AAP came into existence, I have been a big fan of Jayaprakash Narayan from Lok Satta party. He is an idealistic man I still respect and accept as one of the finest politicians I have seen so far. When AAP formed, my first question was, why they couldn't collaborate to have a single party to fight the evil. If there are two good people fighting against the same monster, it doesn't make any sense for them to fight independently with reduced power. That is certainly the minimum that we should expect from them. When that doesn't happen, how should I really convince myself that they really are fighting for the same cause and they have valid reasons for not fighting the battle as a single unit? What can be more important than their common vision of cleaning the system?

When Kejriwal floated his new party, people said he deceived Anna and others who wanted to keep the motion apolitical. I didn't believe that. When Kejriwal said, he didn't plan the political party but he was forced to enter the politics, I didn't believe that either. Anna is no where when compared to the intellectual capability of Kejriwal. He was certainly just a tool to grab the attention of the nation on a serious issue. I certainly think it is Anna who got more publicity from Kejriwal and deceived him by not joining his political force. If not directly, at-least as an external supporter. Instead, he went to the cheap level of accusing Kejriwal, giving misleading statements, harming his own image. Whereas Kejriwal maintained his stand, didn't even utter a single word against Anna, despite the clear break-up between their paths. Kejriwal has certainly chosen his every move very carefully defeating everyone decisively. Everyone including Anna, Bedi, government failed to understand his potential. Kiran Bedi is still openly supporting the corrupt BJP as an alternative. Kejriwal was certainly right in assuming that the existing political systems has gone too far in the wrong direction as to completely lose their way back! Being apolitical in a political matter just doesn't make any  sense. It is an excuse for being hypocrite and cowardice.

Even a bitter opponent of Kejriwal cannot deny the fact that he is one of the smartest politician that India has seen so far. They cannot fail to notice how intelligent he is, how calculated he is, how aggressive he is in terms of achieving the goals. Otherwise it is impossible for an ordinary person to raise to the occasion of challenging the major parties to become a serious political force within a span of 2-3 years. That to with no money and no political connections. India is certainly not an easy country to rule. With so much of poverty, so much of diverse problems, it is hard to unite people on a long term ideological cause. Yet, Kejriwal was successful catching the imagination of people, attracting the poor and middle class people to join his fight against corruption. That is the striking difference between AAP and Loksatta and my reason to believe they can achieve what Loksatta has failed to achieve. Being ideologist is just one thing, and bringing that ideology into practice is totally a different thing. It certainly needs aggressive planning, courage, short term gimmicks, dedication and a lot more.

Though there is an overwhelming support for AAP in general, there are also lot people who question and think they can't bring the change that they are promising. It is easy to dismiss if it is coming from a staunch supporter of corrupt parties with some vested interest. But when it comes from others, it feels really bad. I personally feel they are just pessimistic.  But I also wonder a lot of times as whether that is a realistic opinion which looks like pesssimistic for me because of preconceived notion? Looking at some of the incidents, it certainly feels there is some room for people to think that AAP is not as ideological as it seems. Sometime back when Kejriwal expressed his concern about Batla house encounter and Ishrat Jahan encounter, I was really furious. Certainly that was a muslim appeasement gimmick in my opinion. Otherwise there is no need for him to bring those issues. Terrorism is certainly a bigger issue than fake encounter of terrorists. If there is anything wrong with those encounters, it must be the generic issue with all police investigations. He could have easily picked up a common man's case instead of singling out these specific controversial incidents. That is certainly not warranted for AAP publicity. They definitely have other burning issues to raise their voice for.

When I looked at various reports on the AAP candidates also, I got the same impression. Out of 61 candidates announced, close to 11 were affiliated to various other parties earlier. People coming from other parties certainly doesn't make them dishonest. However there is also a strong dissent among the party members against those kind of candidates. Often they switch parties because they were denied tickets from their parent parties. There was a specific instance with one of the candidate who was known as a ration mafia with a pending Lokayukta case. The AAP members went on strike against his nomination as it was against their wish. In fact, there were allegations that the high command completely ignored their suggestions and went ahead with their own list of candidates. That is certainly not what they have promised. Though the cases are not yet proved, AAP certainly doesn't have the moral ground to give tickets to people with questionable reputation. Is it really that hard for AAP to find an honest candidate in such a large country? There were also complaints that most of the candidates are selected based on their proximity to the core committee, but not due to fair election from the party  members of that constituency. Only the people from those constituency will know the real truth, but certainly I wasn't convinced that AAP has really kept their promise in selecting all the candidates honestly. Despite of all these, I could certainly feel there are atleast 30 honest and educated candidates looking at their CV and few comments. That is definitely much better than all other existing parties.

With this change of mind, I really started thinking again. Can AAP really be the change that we have been looking for. What are the dangers that they will not become yet another party in the long run? However looking at the credibility of a lot of people supporting AAP, I feel I have no right to question them. One of the RTI activists, an MLA contestant lost her life fighting against the corruption through RTI. There were so many volunteers who have left their well paying jobs and family to work for AAP in delhi elections. Eminent political scientist and an incredibly honest person like Yogendra Yadav is also part of the party. Looking at the life of Kejriwal himself, I have very little doubt left that about the sincerity about the party. Kejriwal certainly understands the minds of people better than people like me who don't have the real data. His main intention is to get to the power to pass some strong bills like Janlokpal. Once they are passed, even if a legislator is not really very honest, there isn't really much he can do to ruin the system. The reality is that, we still haven't grown enough to chose the right candidates. Considering that, it is wise to make a winning move by sacrificing some of the ideological practice rather than trying to keep every step clean and safe. The damage that can be caused by not winning the elections is much severe compared to the damage that can be caused by few people with questionable integrity getting elected.

Whatever our disappointment is with AAPs decisions, we shouldn't forget that we are still comparing them with other parties who have already got the chance of improving the system. Even with their little mistakes, they are certainly thousand miles ahead of other parties. The change cannot be a overnight process. If they have given tickets to some undeserved candidates for the sake of winning, that is certainly due to their compulsion. But at the same time, we also need to make sure that it doesn't become a habit. Ironically, Kejriwal himself has a become a cult hero in the process of destroying the blind hero worship culture. That is certainly a dangerous development and it has all the potential to take the party back to the same line as other parties. At some point in the past, most of those parties have also started as a good alternative. Congress(not Congress-I) fought for the freedom, Jansangh(BJP) fought against the emergency, now AAP is fighting the second freedom. If we understand where those parties failed, we can certainly keep AAP becoming yet another party, without any difference. We need to keep producing more Kejriwals and more AAPs when the need arises. Until then going along with Kejriwal and AAP and supporting them with whatever we have is certainly the best thing anyone can do at present.


Viji said...

Some of candidates of AAP are giving statement like "If you want to stay in India then learn Hindi". This may bring -ve impact.

Sathisha said...

Atleast not in Delhi elections. I am more than convinced that some of the -ve things we are hearing are due to vote bank politics. Though it isn't right, it might be essential during initial days. Perhaps it is hard to imagine without really entering politics.