Browsing through a couple blogs I put up in January 2014, about a year after AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal announced itself, as the new political kid on the block, and few moths before the watershed general elections that saw India’s current Prime Minister emerge on the national political firmament. My thought then seems uncanny when I read it today, as if it could foresee the very reasons why Kejriwal’s outfit would end as it now has, humiliatingly rejected in every election that has since followed with but one exception, in Delhi with 13 million voters, which too has scathingly cast AAP aside in its just concluded civic elections. Let me present what blogged diary says.
The New Political Kid On The Block
AAP … rose rather spectacularly on “anti-corruption” plank and the promise of setting a new “people-centered” and participatory governance paradigm. Emerging as the second largest party in the State Assembly, it now forms a minority government with the help of Congress Party — one the AAP’s founder Arvind Kejriwal (AK) had denounced as the mother of corruption in the country and had declared never to have any truck with it before or after the election.
I have been happy with the political churn but have been critical of AAP and AK.
First, I believe that the political developments that have thrown up AAP is good for political evolution in our country … but I look upon it in a historical perspective and not in the way of salvation, a finality emerged on the back of a hero.
Second, anybody who promises perfection, totality, claims all honesty for himself and damns everybody else, and stands up as a missionary … is obviously a fool or a top conman.
Third, I will anyday go along with mere sincerity and a collective with a sense of history, continuity and purpose, even if imperfect.
Perhaps, this will explain my stance on AAP and Arvind Kejriwal.
I find AAP bumbling and blundering, insincere and easily compromising, though possibly well-meaning.
Frankly, after taking the support of #CongressParty
#AAP has lost all locus standi to being a crusader against corruption.
But there are enough emotional, “useful” idiots out there ! Some of their early proposals are outright Nehruvian that have kept the country scarcity bound, maximising taxation and incentivising poverty and riddling the society with vitually dozens of factions and fractions for meagre pie with the exchequer. The artificial measures have left the general public divided on account of being discriminated against for a variety of caste, region and language factors and not directly by the income criteria. The resulting angst and widespread heartburn has left the population mired in avoidable fraternal viciousness.
On Twitter : Now Yogendra Yadav of AAP wants more reservations, quotas. Mate, you just lost AAP a huge block of votes.
So, with AAP’s new wave of reservations, quota and subsidies on way, I wrote :
IITian or not … #AAP
I would never ever place the affairs of our nation and our countrymen in the hands of inexperienced, insincere, good-for-nothing motley crowd of power-grabbers !
Huh … it’s funny how people expect the harried and hurried masses, over 40% of whom are still illiterate and over 70% do not have a breather from mere subsistence concerns, to know enough about factors and nuances of everything under the sun, to have an informed and a well-considered opinon !
The close proximity of AAP with the “most corrupt” Congress Party was getting too snug … and my fears of mutual co-option between the two rang clear when Congress declared that it would “halt the oppostion’s juggernaut under Narendra Modi” with the help of AAP. The partnership was an ominous distraction and put paid to all the anti-corruption crusade of the new political outfit.
I see the AAP becoming a side kick, then an affiliate of the corrupt and incapable Congress Party over time. Its members have all launched themselves on a dream career, the country and countrymen be damned !
Which brings me to two off-the-cuff reasons why I do not trust AAP for now and the reason why I stand to oppose Arvind Kejriwal politically :
— Individuals can make a difference but only through leadership, capability and effecting change in the system and its processes. I have seen little of the character necessary to such leadership, no evidence of capability nor of the calm and patience necessary to bringing in any systemic change. There have been dream statements, clarion calls announcing pious intent … but nothing more. AK’s casual remark that “it is not rocket science” shows how little he knows about what he is stepping into. Transferring 800 DJB officers ! It already shows how far off they are from anything meaningful, long-term and substantial.
Meanwhile, the political dynamics has already overtaken them, with the “corrupt” party honchos, their allies and cliques digging into their capacity for the damage they can do, were they brought before courts of law and, conversely, of the help they can be if these AAP upstarts mind their ways and work along with them. And mind it, their capacity is mammoth, brutal and pervasive.
The anti-Modi, anti-BJP focus alone is purposeful to the AAP-Congress lot … for survival and for winning at the hustings. Under the circumstances, riding the “beat the opposition at all cost” tiger, whither the strength to stand their ground and retain their focus on anti-corruption crusade ? Whither any meaningful and substantial departure from business as usual ?
ON THE OTHER HAND, the opposition BJP did usher a departure when they came into power between 1999 and 2004. Its current Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, may not be perfect but has proven capabilities as an administrator and problem-solver and as a leader of people. The party is no pushover; they can stand their ground without seeming radical. Its Chief Minister Parrikkar, in Goa, is doing it gradually : both at inflation control and effective governance. Nothing spectacular but good, which suummed up over time, would be great for the people of his State. So are its other Chief Ministers … without promising perfection or announcing that they would change human nature itself, or that they are angels and everyone with them are drawn from the land of the virtuous.
Overall, I find it foolish to put much on AAP or AK. Already there is evidence that they are having to compromise and are getting sucked into the political quagmire. The task is admittedly difficult : there are hundreds of whorls and vortices clamouring for attention and ringing in challenges to capability and character.
But, of course, if AAP and AK still show the character and the moral fibre, and the ability to think on their feet … godspeed to them. I’d be happy to be proved wrong !
AAP is already getting a little tiring, with usual faux pas and evidence of ugly clay-footedness of those who has been tom-tommed as incorruptible and presented as ushers of radical departure in Indian politics. But the relevance of latest political developments is assuming a seriously sombre spectre. Not because of the new political kids on the block per se but on account of how they have been lapped up by big-money subversionists, fronted by Ford Foundation, and how these personal ambitions have chosen to be co-opted by the mother of corruption, the Congress Party.
The danger is compounded by perfectly well-meaning people who would not admit to their poor judgement and get off their emotional momentum even when faced with evidence of AAP — Common Man’s Party — being without any leadership quality or character, capability or competence.
There are tell-a-tale signs of AAP leaders being launched proper into the clique that expects to “rule” the country, that links seamlessly with the international coterie which has inherited the colonialist’s mantle for power over third world countries. The foil is perfect in the midst of emotional “idiots” willing to suspend their discrimination and their critical eye.
Unfortunately, democracy and federal structure permits emotionally charged social divisions in the name of historical, regional, lingual and devised causes. Economic under-development becomes imperative to these “invisible” forces at work; it keeps national unity quite an obscure concern for the vast majority who remain too poor and un-empowered to think of themselves as one, 1.2 billion strong people.
Its business at usual : corruption will remain but cosmetically dressed up to elude perception; money stashed abroad will continue to increase, to be brought in whenever subversive intervetions are required; the semblence of democracy will exist as a charade, without a unifying national consciousness.
AAP phenomenon is a blip before the global oligarchy at work. The real danger is to the home-grown nationalist BJP and its well-received leader, Narendra Modi !
AAP leaders have been fond of taking turns and fonder still of taking U-turns. The sinister developments of late have its convergence with well-marked anti-India, pro-jihadi intellectuals and with people supportive of insurgents into its fold. The everyday flip-flops were bad enough; but the absence of any emphasis on governance and scant regard to promises made to the public is loud and unnerving.
How about governance ?
Roads, new schools n colleges, buses, emergency services, water bodies …
People supportive of the new outfit, the “useful idiots” who have no idea of the future misery they are building up today, have gone on to question the psychology behind those who have publicly expressed their doubts : How about capability, by evidence from past; character, by consistency between speech and action; and performance, from Day one in office ?
Surajit Dasgopta, who spent time in close proximity, writes about AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal :”In the mornings that I spent with Kejriwal having breakfast at his house, in the long drives where I would be in a car with him, over the dinners that I had with him, in the corner room of the IaC and AAP’s office at Kaushambi, Ghaziabad, I realized this man actually did not mean that he hated to be dogmatic, andhence did not want to commit himself to any ideology. Actually, this man was too intellectually challenged to be able to fathom any philosophy of governance. You raise the issue, and he would instantly get irritated. “मुझे इस पर बात ही नहीं करनी! (I just don’t want to talk about it)” was his standard response.
“In a morning of November 2012 when we were busy discussing the launching event slated for the 26th of the month, I was witness to Kejriwal dismissing a young woman from the Nav Bharat Party like that. The poor, energetic, young lady was trying to impress upon him the virtue of individual liberty and a free market.
“Paraphrasing what Kejriwal said to the young woman in Hindi, I quote him: “I have seen a lot of governments. None is either left or right. They are all centrist. As and when we make a government, we have to toe more or less the same line.” This dismissive remark exposes two things. One, he simply does not know the subject he is speaking about. Two, he is going to offer India nothing new.”
It might be good to recall the accomodating and generous welcome we all expansively gave when Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh came on board, “Come now, he looks honest, speaks well. He will surely do some good,” Then we wondered why it all turned out to be exponentially worse than before. Perhaps, Deming’s by now proven and accepted theory would explain … It’s the system that matters, not individuals. Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP has come a long way from where he started and is now a part of the same matrix !
Amidst news of history-sheeters for candidates in general elections to be held in another 3-4 months, I found suggestons of going slow on voicing my concerns unacceptable … The trouble with ignoring the tell-a-tale signs was that we’ll have to live with compounded damages for the next 5 years ! In my assessment, it was not AAP but Narendra Modi of BJP who was the real outsider here, who is also strong and resourceful enough to usher in a totally different kind of politics anchored in Nation First, Zero Corruption, People-Centered Bureaucracy and Development… all of which has received utter contempt of successive government regimes since long.
There was one more reason why I trusted @narendramodi !
His intimate familiarity with Vivekananda… and his vision, in which the nation is always held as the first.
In comparison, the AAP upstart says, “we don’t have a vision but our intent is good.” What is intent without a vision, I wonder, in the context of public administration ?
When AAP well-wishers cringed at well-reasoned criticism, it was expected. But when they pleaded for lenient view of facts unfolding before us, they also projected a presumed “error” on part of critics. I wondered why it is difficult for AAP supporters to appreciate that there could be people out there who might have lesser tolerance to mere emotional appeals and tall promises, and who might insist on consistency and accountability at highest levels of public administration, if only because it is so very important for our country and our countrymen. The highest political offices were no nursery or training ground for novices.
So when the country’s first women IPS, Kiran Bedi, who had set matters to better course wherever she’d been placed, came out in support of BJP and Narendra Modi, I understood her decision. Time and again, Modi has laid out a vision for the country’s future that has been equally well-received by the industry and the people at large. He has actually implemented such a time bound plan for his home state, with special focus in areas most neglected — girl education, women empowerment, solar power, civic amenities. The Party itself was better organised, completely republican, nationalist to core, and with more qualified and experienced team by far. The recent assembly elections showed to a great extent how wide its national appeal was. Even in Delhi, where its performce was least impressive, AAP undercut the Congress Party base in the main, not of BJP. The Congree, of course, was completely rejected by the voting public.
I chose an opportunity to lay out my understanding and stance to an AAP supporter in these words :
01 AAP came on a plank of radical departure. Now, you having to urge that what they are doing has always been done is a pathetic admission of things being same as before… that far from anything radically different from past, the AAP represents business as usual.02 But of course, it’s never “the usual” or the same with matters like reservation and subsidy; it is always worsening the situation, exponentially, by the day : the economics of poverty, in which people receive doles to waste on alchohol or consume and excrete and never the any better, beyond their subsistence level of existence.
02 So too, with reservations : the politics of scarcity. I see it not only ineffective and ugly, it is also immorally discriminatory and hence unconstitutional. How can the State discriminate in as basic a need as survival and livelihood ? Is the other person in the same economic level, with comparable dire wants, any the less worthy of survival and livelihood opportunity ?
Now, if AAP is pursuing what is done by present and previous governments, then we expect it to extend the same immoral and unonstitutional measures into law and order and judicial areas, too ! The present Union Home Minister is on record in this regard : deal leniently with crimes done by minorities; set up separate courts for them. Is that also to be expected from AAP ?
03 In a worsening scenario, shall we be extending such special treatment in the case of defence and emergency services ! Defend the minorities first; save the minorities first. Is that what you will be defending next ?
If you’ve missed it, in drummed up din of the media and prejudiced catcalls, the BJP has at least tried, and States which it governs are actually implementing with spectacular success : an economic political policy defined by abundance. All of them provide cheap enough but payable water and electric supply services ! In warped and twisted environment established by successive Congress govts, that seems pretty much radical to me.
That is what I understood, I reported …
But why wouldn’t people remember :
EVERYBODY has feet of clay. The one who makes no attempt to hide that could indeed be a friend ! The one who does can only con you and, in fact, is a demon in the making. We’ve seen too many by now …
Then, true enough, came on air someone who knew what he was talking about : serious, damning and categorical ! The former R&AW intelligence officer deemed AAP pro-jihadi and anti-national, executing a script extended by inimical quarters in Pakistan, publicly challenging AAP and its leader Prashant Bhushan to take him to court on that !
And Medha Patkar lent her support to to AAP … She was one who was discussing with a US citizen, in the business of channelling international funding and dishing out awards to pliant “leaders” with capacity for stalling development projects in the country, how she had influence amongst the judiciary !
And Ford Foundation was common to both Medha Patkar and Arvind Kejriwal…