AAP - Draining of Hope by Santosh Desai
For the AAP, the journey downwards began with the decision to convert a powerful and popular movement into a political party. This meant that it had to part ways with the fountainhead of the movement, Anna Hazare, which was seen to be just as well, for his leadership, rooted as it was in a very limited worldview, could not have helped sustain the movement. The decision to become a political party was justified on the grounds that there seemed to be no other route to change given the existing political system.
Then came the first Delhi elections, and the stronger-than-expected showing of the party that made the idea of coming to power within reach. Of course this meant accepting the support of the Congress, something which Kejriwal has expressly and repeatedly ruled out. The compromise was again deemed necessary; after all, how could the party deliver a new order if it shied away from power?
Then came the 49 day rule of the party with some high and many low points. The Kejriwal dharna and the drama around Somnath Bharti’s ridiculous antics were put down to the lack of experience. The decision to resign prematurely and contest elections nationally, santoand to go up against Narendra Modi in Varanasi was attributed to bad strategy. For all the things that were going wrong, there was still a sense of hope that it was trying to work out a new approach in its own chaotic and highly public way.
The 2015 landslide victory seemed like proof that the AAP experiment had survived. Kejriwal fashioned a victory out of a truly original script against overwhelming odds and gave rise to an expectation that something transformational was on the cards. Politically, Kejriwal seemed to have forged a connection with the urban poor that gave the party a solid base. This was seen to justify a shift in the party’s move away from its anti-corruption plank as well the downplaying of the idea of transforming politics itself.
But the only transformation that was visible lay within the party. In purging Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party, not only did Kejriwal eject a side of the party that held it to its idealistic moorings, but he did so in a manner that was authoritarian and boorish. There was no grace in his actions, nor the semblance of a higher purpose. It seemed to only about consolidating power, and for a lot of original believers, this was a deeply disillusioning moment and the AAP experiment with idealism seemed all but over. There was still some hope that armed with a huge mandate, the government would deliver on its promise of fundamental and transformational change.
But that doesn’t seem to be happening. The new government seems to be embroiled in petty squabbles and sordid controversies involving its representatives. It is true that the AAP and Kejriwal, have come under sustained attack from several quarters, including the media. It is also true that it has reason to feel aggrieved by the way in which the central government through the instrument of Najeeb Jung has sought to strangulate its ability to govern. But the AAP is hardly blameless in all of this. Its natural mode of functioning is confrontational, and there is an air of determined immaturity in the way in which it picks its fights. Also, it has shown a distressing ability to bask in the very political culture it has decried. Till the Supreme Court decreed otherwise, AAP ads routinely wore the faces of its leaders, and it has not been shy of using public funds to showcase its ‘achievements’.
Which brings us to what is effectively the last straw. The new ad released by the Aam Aadmi Party does what all its earlier actions could not. It decisively proves the skeptics right and buries the ideals that gave rise to the party deep enough so as to not be the source of any trouble in the future. As many have pointed out, the ad is a deformed product of a mindset that is so obsessed with itself that it has lost touch with reality. The personality cult it attempts to build would put the current regime to shame — in this world, there is no AAP, there isn’t even a Kejriwal Sarkar, there is only Kejriwal. And if you are the kind of person who likes some variety, there is some Arvind in there too. That it is deeply sexist and unbelievably regressive just completes the picture. More alarmingly, it reveals how easily overweening victimhood, when married with a sense of impregnable self-righteousness can morph into the legitimizing of autocratic impulses.
As a text, the AAP ad is deeply clarifying for it tells us how the party imagines itself at its best; no vested interests or critics can be blamed here. No excuses are possible now nor can this reality be reframed in way that makes it more palatable. The AAP will live on, for politically the party still has some gas in its tank. But it is now just that, another political party with a wannabe messiah as leader. The hope that it had evoked lived, it survived many ups and downs and now it is decisively dead. more
He promised to bring down the Power (electricity) tariff, on the contrary rates of electricity
have been raised by 4% to 6% plus service tax.
Water charges for the first 700 litres per day were waived, but in very many colonies there is acute shortage of water.
I wish somebody shakes up Mr. Kejriwal from his day dreaming, and put him on the right track. more
We keep talking about whether AAP will give sleepless nights to BJP or Kejriwal v/s Modi. The basic question we should be mulling over is whether Delhi citizenry is better after the new government took over or not. How does it matter whether Kejriwal brings Jung to his knees or vice versa. or for that matter they are able to catch a few corrupt (that is not a bad idea though). The crux of discussions should be; Does Delhi become more clean, has better infra, has better governance, attracts more white collar industry (say become a financial or software hub)? But you cant catch any of the AAP people ever talking about substantive things.
I may be wrong but my preference is for people who can give us assurance about availability of electricity rather than 200 rupees discount, synergistic governance rather than proving that they can bring everybody to their knees, more jobs rather than fighting over who will pay the salaries for employees already on rolls. It is one thing to talk of honesty but practicing it by throwing out your own Lokpal reeks of sophistry.
Hope AAP comes back to their original mandate of 'party with a difference' with sight on Swaraj and honesty. more