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Geek by profession, thinker/writer/artist by passion. Part-time blogger,social media enthusiast and a tramp by nature :) A Man Of Mud


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Can AAP's Broom Withstand Assault Of Vacuum Cleaners Of Corrupt Establishment ?

Let me begin this post with a little jingoism. Aam Aadmi Party's success in Delhi Vidhan Sabha polls is indeed victory of the common man and of the idea called new India. It is not a victory because of its seat tally in the state assembly but because of the fact that psephologists, analysts, columnists and even bloggers including, yours truly, could not predict the outcome even after the exit polls. Prior to this election smug educated, urban citizens often displayed antipathy towards political processes, one of the reasons cited is that their stake is diluted by "their claim of" votes are bought by candidates by providing liquor, cash and other freebies, to the poor. Time and again it has been proven that the weaker sections of population exercise their right to vote much more intelligently. After all voting is the only right they actually have, even in practice. Ironically, some of the people who held this view are now part of Aam Aadmi Party !

The cynicism around the impact of AAP on electoral results stemmed from the belief that the party was too idealistic, the electorate is swayed by more emotive issues and identity-based politics rather than less excitable issues such as availability of clean water. Arvind Kejriwal was not just threatening the ruling dispensation but the establishment as a whole. And now that the upstart has upset the establishment, it faces much bigger challenges than a national election. While Rahul Gandhi has gone on to say that he is willing to learn from AAP's approach to politics, other senior Congress leaders as well as leaders of the BJP and most established parties have been far less sporting or gracious in defeat. If at all, they have been far more vindictive. Before even the counting of votes over, a senior Congress leader (Digvijay Singh if I remember correctly), grinning from ear to ear, pointed out that the elected members of AAP would now have to face individual voters and supporters seeking favors such as getting their kids admitted to schools and the like.

As the counting came to close and the question on who would be form the government in Delhi was being discussed and AAP clearly declining to take or lend support to neither contenders, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad seemed livid at the naivety that the TV show host was expecting politics of jugaad live on television. Prasad's body language almost seemed to say, "Doesn't she know that these negotiations take place through back channels ?!" A hung assembly only means more bargaining power of the party that holds the key and the support could be always be bought, if not through money than through concessions and compromises - the two fundamental tenets of coalition dharma. However, as AAP stuck to its commitment to its voters of not aligning with either the BJP or the Congress, the outrage among established political class has become vitriolic. As it became clearer that AAP was not keen to form the government, it was read by opponents not as staying true to the commitment but as fear of being unable to deliver the promises.

However, far from being the new Left, that believes in only protests and not governance, AAP seems to be more pragmatic and result oriented. If the party says that water tariff can be decreased substantially, it also points out that according to Delhi Jal Board more than 200 million gallon water is lost due to leakage per day. If the water from leakage is being soaked in the ground it should raise water table and since this is not the case, that much water should flood Delhi ! Something similar applies to electricity tariffs too, if figures are fudged, just auditing DJB and discoms and taking appropriate steps should bring the tariffs down.  

 But that is not all. Both the Congress and the BJP are so thoroughly convinced that the traditional model is the only model of governance in India that they are not even pretending to take the mandate of Delhi voters seriously. The grins and smirks of Congress and BJP leaders seem to say that it is time Arvind Kejriwal and team do a reality check but perhaps the Old Order needs to do a reality check in the era of information revolution. Their decisions send out the message that they are not in the race to grab power, they seek to bring changes to act as catalysts  of a social transformation that Indian society must undergo at this juncture if it is to emerge as a nation that truly values democracy, human/civil  rights, openness and transparency of it institutions...