Usually I don’t blog about politics but I am making an exception today as for the last month or so, the AAP ( Aam Aadmi Party) has been the centre of attraction in India after their most praise worthy performance in the Assembly elections in Delhi. As the name suggests the Aam Aadmi Party (as I understand it) seeks to represent the common man and largely came out of the phenomenal anti-corruption movement that caught India’s imagination under the leadership of Anna Hazare.
Some members of the erstwhile “Team Anna” went into active politics like Arvind Kejriwal and they formed the AAP. I must mention here that during the agitation led by Anna Hazare, I admired Kejriwal for his ability to connect with people and bring greater vigour to the movement. Shouldn’t I then be rejoicing that the AAP has formed a Government in prestigious Delhi? Here are the reasons for my disappointment:
1. I expected new standards of political conduct from AAP when they said they would do things differently. It was shocking to see them form the Government in Delhi when they accepted the outside support from the party they abused the most as being corrupt, the Congress party. I don’t think their explanation that the people of Delhi asked them to form a Government is a good one. On the contrary, it sets a dangerous precedent because in real life important decisions cannot be taken only because a large number of people support it by sending SMS. What was the alternative? If they were as principled as they claimed to be, and I expected them to be, they should have opted for a re-election. I believe they may actually have got more than 28 seats if they had adopted this course. Anyway, they didn’t and what followed disappointed me even more.
2. Their political decision as regards water and electricity smack of short-term expediency. To say they exempted a section of people from paying bills because they had not done so at their behest is most dangerous as a trend.
3. I am disappointed that their whole anti-corruption plank stands exposed as till date they have not taken steps to initiate any action against those like former Chief Minister Shiela Dixit who was roundly abused by them day in and day out. At one time Kejriwal said he had 300 + pages of proof of her corruption, now they are asking the BJP to provide evidence. Their website Pol Khol also no longer has mention of Shiela Dixit’s corruption.
4. Lakhs of people are said to have joined the AAP. Here’s where it becomes essential for them to have made a framework of their national policies on a variety of important issues such as defence, economics, internal security , health, education etc. They have been in power for less than a month, but they became a party formally over a year ago. This gap had led to controversies with Prashant Bhushan’s stand on nuclear power and referendum in Jammu & Kashmir.
5. While more eminent people like Meera Sanyal, Capt. Gopinath and Mallika Sarabhai have joined the party, this raises the question of who is an aam aadmi? These are very well off, to put it mildly and hardly qualify for being the typical aam aadmi in a literal sense. If you go by the earlier understanding that the aam aadmi was someone who was not the big bad, corrupt morally weak politician, this no longer holds true as they have joined a political party and have become politicians themselves. It is now emerging to be a left of centre party.
6. Controversies regarding U turns in decision-making , be it about Kejriwal’s accommodation or about Janata Durbars are not exactly adding to my confidence of the maturity of its leaders. I believe they tend to oversimplify things. Kejriwal said there was not much difference between the number of rooms in his current apartment and the new one he planned to take up. He forgot to take location into account, there being a world of difference between his current location in Ghaziabad and the apartment in question in a posh area of Delhi.
The next few months will be very crucial for the AAP. They have made it clear that the Congress is not a factor in the General Elections in 2014. How they will perform is anybody’s guess. They may shine, they may fall but as of today, these are some reasons why they haven’t got me on board the AAP band wagon.