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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Will the Aam Aadmi Party be the Game Changer of Indian Politics?

Will the Aam Aadmi Party be the Game Changer of Indian Politics?

Arvind Kejriwal on his recent Visit to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahamedabad
Arvind Kejriwal during his visit to Sabarmati Ashram. Image Credit: Hindustan Times

Many political analysts have already written the obituary of AAP. Some are sympathetic to AAP, while many are gleeful at the 'poor prospects' AAP encounters, in its national venture.

The Decision to Fight the Loksabha Elections

AAP leadership, while taking the decision to plunge into the Loksabha elections, appeared to have done so, expecting to repeat the Delhi Assembly Election performance, or even doing better. Perhaps, they would have relied on their 'sacrifice'-the resignation of Delhi Chiefministership- to take care of them in the Loksabha elections, apart from their ability to use the social media, and volunteers.
However, it appears now, that it was this 'sacrifice', that is proving to be their undoing.

Hasty Quitting Has Dented the Image

AAP's action in quitting the Govt. was like that of a reckless father, who snatched from the hands of his son, a toy he gave to him, because he (the father) found later, that the toy he gave was not useful for his son. In fact, the father wanted to give a better one for his son. The son would have voluntarily given up the toy, if only he was made to understand, the father's intentions. However, the father has no patience to convince the son or take him into confidence, before snatching the toy away. The result was an estrangement, albeit temporary. Now, Arvind Kejriwal admits in an interview to Economic Times, that the decision was impulsive

Poll Promises of Political Parties in India

In India, political parties make election promises, and routinely break them. However, AAP wanted to be different. The Jan Lokpal Bill, on which AAP choose to quit, is important for AAP. For people, that was not the only issue. They expected many more things. At the time of resigning, it is clear that AAP has not exhausted all the avenues of running the Govt and thereby giving some relief to the people. Instead, AAP is seen as quitting in haste, on the first encounter of a hurdle in its way. This has certainly dented the image of AAP to a great extent, especially amongst the middle class, and even amongst the working class and the marginalised sections.

'Spreading Thin'

Now that they have decided to contest the Loksabha elections, some say, they should not have 'spread thin'. In fact, Prashant Bhushan admits, that it's 'badly stretched'(TOI) Having decided to contest the Loksabha elections, and projected itself to be an alternative, it's only proper to contest the maximum number of seats. This will enable the perception that AAP is a serious contender for power at the Centre.
It is a fact, that men and materials were not in place while the decision to plunge was taken. 

Poll Predictions

The latest NDTV poll predicts only one seat for AAP in Delhi. It further predicts that NDA would form the Govt at the centre, under the Prime Ministership of Modi. Congress is projected to perform worse than its earlier worst tally.

In India, opinion polls many times were, off the mark. Still, disputing these predictions is equally risky. We have to wait till May 16th, to know.

It's not about the number of seats AAP may win. The fact that they have chosen to contest 434 seats- that is higher than any other party- and that too without striking any alliance- is in itself an achievement. 

Paucity of Funds

The funds shortage is now visible. The total collections, by way of donation according to their website, are less than 29 Cr. With the Election Commission, allowing 70L as the max amount a candidate could spend, the total legally allowed expenses would be, around Rs 300Cr  for the 434 candidates apart from the expenses for the headquarters.The gap is very wide.

AAP is a Historic Necessity

In spite of all these shortcomings, the emergence of AAP is a historic necessity in India. Its the concept of AAP, the idea of a corruption free clean government, led by non-dogmatic belief systems that is neither Left nor Right - is of great value to the disenchanted but enlightened and concerned citizens.

AAP has to be seen more as a movement than as a political party.

India was waiting for long, for an alternative to the corrupt UPA and the corrupt and communal BJP. The official Left, which was expected to play the leadership to this alternative, is bogged down in the political quicksand of West Bengal and are prisoners of its own ideological bankruptcy.

The space for a Third Alternative was lying vacant for long, and AAP could effortlessly occupy it, in course of time provided the core of the leadership is focussed on the goal.

The Positives of AAP 

Most Number of Seats By a Newbie 

The fact that AAP could identify so many good candidates in such a short time itself is laudable. This clearly shows that the concept of AAP has an all India appeal. 

What if AAP Loses in All the Seats?

What, if they lose all the seats, as predicted by some Opinion Polls? Even then,  the contest should be seen as a great opportunity for the AAP, to put an organisational set up, at least in the rudimentary form, in almost the entire country in a short period. Moreover, the support base they could get during these campaigns, could form the base for the future movements.

Get a Feel of Semi-Urban and Rural Problems 

The election has given an exposure for them, to familiarise more with the problems people beyond Delhi face in other parts of India, and in some cases in the semi-urban and Rural India also. Thus, they could come face to face the multitude of regional and local problems, the people of the country are facing and expecting to be solved by a bew movement.

Learn from Mistakes

The failures and mistakes in any new venture is inevitable. 'A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing'. The ability to learn is crucial.

Neither Left nor Right

The highest positive for AAP is its ideological orientation. The demise of the international Socialist System, and the continued failure of the world capitalism to solve the basic problems facing mankind, make it necessary to proceed to build a New India based on the best of both, without becoming the ideological prisoner of any one school of thought.

Churning will strengthen AAP

Today, the AAP consists of persons and groups, who were social activists, tribal leaders, business tycoons, celebrities, environmentalists and many more. These disparate groups, will ensure that AAP  undergoes churning while they confront many ideological and political issues. This should be seen as an opportunity that should make AAP stronger.

The Core Must be Pure and Strong

The success of AAP experiment lies in the ability of the core of the leadership to stay focused, and on course. Indications are that they will. Their choice of candidates, not taking unaccounted money for election fund, their willingness to take on the high and mighty, there unambiguous stand on corruption etc., clearly show they have the capacity to provide the much needed alternative political platform, India needs.

Mr Kejriwal’s rise with his organisation, India Against Corruption, is in real terms almost like an uprising and a wave of revolutions that has the potential to remake India; that is, if he can sustain this momentum. Many even think that by taking Mr Vadra and Mr Ambani head-on, the IAC chief has virtually sent a challenge: Kill me if you can! Against popular perception -that you will be finished if you take on such sacrosanct names -Mr Kejriwal has become a symbol of focused and cool-headed bravery, speaking each time with compelling logic and supporting evidence, and that is where he scores.

Yes, AAP will be the Game Changer in Indian Politics

AAP's readiness to take on the powerful and mighty will be an attractive point for the youth and honest intellectuals and right thinking people The erstwhile supporters of the Left, and the prospective Left supporters, may find the AAP agenda more practicable and attractive.

When the disillusionment sets in with Modi, which definitely will in a short time because of the high expectations he has raised, the middle class, will once again find in AAP an alternative to Modi, and the real political battle will start then.

Therefore, all indications are that the AAP will emerge more stronger, organisationally and ideologically, from the electoral battle, and the future political course in our country, will be determined only by AAP, which will certainly be a game changer of Indian politics.

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