On the 14th Feb, when mush was filling the air in Delhi and elsewhere, Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Admi Party (AAP) decided to end their romance with power after 7 weeks. When I tweeted thus, someone corrected me – “Romance??? Far from it. It was day-today bickering with power”. Well it was. From the time of Team Anna and then Team Kejriwal, I have been of the opinion that it serves best for Team Kejriwal’s values to stay out of the political system and fight. Read my earlier posts here and here. Age provided wiser counsel to Anna I guess and he refused to be even a peripheral part of AAP. His original agitation for a Lokpal bill reached its logical conclusion finally with the passing of the same. He is now gearing up for the next fight with his new charter all fighting from outside the system. (Though his alignment with and endorsement of Mamta Banerjee is a dampener)
Did I want AAP to fail like this??? Certainly not. I maintain that the time has come for an alternative way of politics in the country and AAP briefly provided that and I hope they will continue to. Some of their moves do deserve more lenient and generous commentary.
- In India political parties think of manifestos only before elections. Once elected, the manifesto is archived meticulously only to be retrieved and “Operation copy/cut/paste/find/replace” done before the next elections!!! Even in the short 49 day raj, AAP demonstrated their seriousness towards fulfilling the promises made in the manifesto.
- Once in power as seen in recent times mostly as a coalition, the mainstream parties have thrown the alibi of “Coalition compulsion” for not implementing their core party promises. Usually the larger party agrees to the conditions of the smaller party to form the government. Here the smaller party (Congress in this case) agreed to toe the line for supporting the larger party (AAP) to form the Government without seemingly extracting its pound of flesh!!!
- Time frame is something political parties never bother about except in situations which suit their convenience. One was pleasantly surprised to see AAP trying hard to do things in a hurry.
To be fair, these are things unheard of / unseen in Indian politics.
Having said that, AAP certainly could have done things differently rather than changing Delhi into a theatre of “AAPsurd” in the past couple of months. When I was in Delhi 2 weeks back, a resident told me this – “Delhi these days has become like Kolkatta. You never know what dharna is going to happen, where and how it will affect daily life”!!! Well, that’s not a very charitable comment. Having come to power due to the strong power of democracy, there is no way the ruling party can change democracy to “dharnacracy”. In the spirit of fulfilling the promise made in the manifesto (which in the 1st place smacks of ludicrousness) you cannot waive off penalties for those who failed to pay power bills in support of your agitation. Tomorrow a Sena can start an agitation calling for burning a few trains and when they come to power can announce lifelong free passes for all those who supported them on their agitation. How ridiculous is that???
This AAP’s fling with power has sounded a loud “Wake AAP call” to all concerned:
To AAP: As many pundits keep saying, once part of the political system which has brought AAP to power it is important to focus on governance and shed the street fighter stripes. People are yearning for change and when in power, change is best brought by using authority to bring in governance. An apple a day can keep the doctor away. But an AAP overkill a day will keep all well-wishers away!!!
To Main stream political parties: As demonstrated by AAP within the short period of existence, there is a compelling need to change the discourse of the past. Patience may be a virtue but today’s generation has very much less of it. Choose candidates based on merit, performance matters and to people nothing matters except issues related to their day-today well-being. Read as jobs, income, family’s future,… Hence single-minded focus on Governance and carrying out things in a timely fashion is what people expect. Chai pe charcha and Bharat Nirman campaigns are all fine. But once in power, charchas in parliament have to result in Desh Nirman, and not in shameful “Pepperspray” abhiyaan!!
To the Aam admi: In the next few months, the aam admi will get a chance to express him/herself. The next 2 years will decide if India will become a developed nation or continue to be a perennial emerging country. It is important to differentiate the expectations from a local body election to a state election to a Lok Sabha election and vote accordingly. The last 25 years we have suffered due to fractured mandates. In today’s world an absolute majority will make a difference at the centre.. Hence it will serve us better if we use our precious vote to bring a stable party/pre-poll coalition at the centre rather than a fancy front with regional parties which jump on to the bandwagon as post-poll partners bargaining for “ATM” ministries and pulling in NEWS directions! And vote for individuals who show capability and tendency to make a difference.
Postscript: Sharing a joke seen on Whatsapp:
“Kejriwal resigns as CM of Delhi. Kaamwali bai sach hi kehti hai. Jhaadu kitna bi acha kyu na ho, 2-3 mahine se jyada nahi chalta” 🙂 🙂 🙂
Cartoon Courtesy : The Hindu