Thursday, April 10, 2014

Confession of an AAPtard.

I was sort of a BJP supporter. They seemed like the better option as compared to the corrupt clue-less Congress. I loved Vajpayee Ji. I liked a lot of the BJP spokespersons on TV as well. They seemed smarter than the rest, and were more direct and clear in their interaction.

I was a salaried employee working in an MNC company then.

Yet, I was not very comfortable about my choice. The primary discomfort was because of the fact that I am more of an Assamese, than an Indian. To me, BJP is a very non-Assamese party and it does not understand the sentiments of the Assamese people. It may sound stupid, but that was how I felt. (Later I found out that lot of Assamese in Assam felt that way.)

Secondly, I could not get completely comfortable about Modi. I indeed tried to get comfortable by reading about him and his works, but he was just too much of an enigma. He seemed un-approachable, and far away for my conscience to get comfortable with him. He is an one-man army and his council of ministers in the Gujarat Government were too conspicuous by their absence and silence. This defeated the ethos of democracy.

Aam Aadmi Party in the meanwhile was being formed, and something or the other was happening in New Delhi. I didn't take much notice, perhaps because it was primarily a 'Delhi' thing, and I couldn't gauge the power behind the idea. It was only when AAP won 28 seats in the Delhi Assembly that I took notice and thought of reading about AAP and their anti-corruption drive.

One of the first videos that took my breath away -

I started following Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP website for a clearer understanding of the party. I found a strong anti-establishment sentiment primarily based on honesty and anti-corruption. I found a clear shift of focus from 'the ruling class sentiment' of a politician to the 'common man sentiment'. I found a lot of intelligence and ingenuity in the quickly evolving institution called AAP. The website and the various online services it offered were very innovative and user-friendly towards the single goal of forming a powerful institution. I loved the concept of 'Swaraj' where AAP is directing all its efforts and energies. I related to the concept of decentralization of power in terms of political, social and cultural administration of the country and the various varied states.

Two more videos to understand Arvind Kejriwal...

It was December 2013, when I had packed my bags and left Mumbai for good. Being in Assam for just a few days gave me a clear indication that corruption has entered even deeper in Assam, fueled by un-employment and lack of knowledge and awareness. I was surprised at the happy state of being corrupt, right from the top to the man on the streets. It was anarchy. To me, the wave of honesty and power to honest people seemed more critical for Assam than the rest of India.

BJP in the meantime had played its cards well and had become a formidable anti-incumbency option to the Indian citizens. From the last few elections, Indians were anyway fed up of coalition Governments and the 'concept per compromise' of NDA and UPA. It was not the party or its philosophy that had been creating a polarization of affection towards BJP. It was the univocal public sentiment of the well meaning citizens of the country towards a majority one-party Government, which was acting for the BJP. The in-efficient Congress, Modi effect with his team of spin doctors and the perception of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh being two of the most well-governed states of the country was adding fuel to the BJP fire.

At the same time, AAP, its leaders, its supporters including me were getting more and more confident of the alternative of honest politics, Swaraj and Jan Lok Pal bill. We were in a hurry. With the Delhi victory, we became doubly in hurry. Our objective of a corruption free country, where the power resides with the common people seemed possible. Quite obviously, BJP became our primary obstacle, as Congress ship was sinking on its own. We started attacking BJP and its policies more than those of the Congress. This created a huge confusion, debate and disillusionment among the well meaning citizens of India, who had already selected BJP as their saviour. BJP supporters, in no time labelled AAP as the agent of Congress to divide BJP vote bank for the Congress to win the elections.

We, the volunteers and supporters of AAP had got very upset about this new preposterous development. Labeling us with the Congress was an insult, hard to take. No amount of explanation and logic by the AAP supporters could convince the AAP haters to stop the tirade. The voice of the AAP critics and haters are so fierce that some time you get almost un-certain about the intentions of Arvind Kejriwal. I am confident about the constituency where I work, and the people that I work with. But sometimes I think 'who knows what is in the mind of the central think tank'. Politics is dirty.

Politics is dirty. This perception is the key reason why AAP is not believable for the un-initiated. 'Honesty is the best policy' has long lost its meaning and practicality. Honesty in politics is like a paradox. Honest politician is like a misnomer. AAP may have taken unconditional Congress support with honest intentions to form the Delhi Government, yet it is just not believable in the current context of politics in India. AAP and Congress just became allies for the common man of India. All the reasons and facts that had made people believe that AAP is an alternative to Congress in Delhi before the assembly elections, somehow faded into oblivion. After the elections when AAP took Congress support, all of those reasons and facts were all categorized as gimmicks with double meaning.

It is just unbelievable that AAP is an platform and a collection of honest people with the common intention of removing corruption from the political and administration system of our country. In Assam, there were a lot of people who joined AAP because it was easier to join, thinking that it will be just like any other political party - acceptably corrupt. It becomes very embarrassing for the party, as these people spoil the brand AAP. Although, they will get filtered out sooner than later, yet it is a problem that perhaps every state in the country has faced or is facing as I write.

Politics is also about power. There is a certain power addiction in becoming the ruling class, and remaining as one. AAP refutes that equation. AAP genuinely wants power to come to the masses. AAP genuinely wants the lowest unit of democracy to be the most powerful unit of democracy. This is again unbelievable, for it is a paradigm shift in terms of political thinking. It is about acting local facilitated by thinking global.

I have experienced this philosophy within the party. I was the campaign manager of the Jorhat Lok Sabha candidate - Mr. Manorom Gogoi. During the whole campaign process, there was no high command. Even the manifesto was made by us without any interference from the state committee and the central committee. It was all about the local needs best understood by the local people and by the people directly involved in the campaign process. The basis idea of honesty was omni-present but it got manifested in the most local way possible in our actions and speeches.

I have realized one thing for certain. AAP is not merely a political party. It is a revolution that have touched the length and breath of the country. It has polarized the country against corruption. Good intentions and actions will keep converting people in the fringe into hardcore supporters.  Arvind Kejriwal has started the revolution, and now it is all about what we do that will define this great phenomenon.

Till now, we have shown extreme intelligence, dedication, comradeship and perseverance. Just look at the huge IT infrastructure that the party is able to create in just over a year. It is no mean feat that AAP is fielding the highest number of candidates in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, among all parties. Arvind Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas have shown extreme courage and commitment by deciding to stand against Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. It is quite likely that both Arvind Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas will win their respective elections.

If that happens, we will not be very far from the miracle of really being able to restore honesty in the electoral politics of India.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The fun is in knowing how nasty, boring or great fun, it was for you, reading my blog post... Just write in, criticize, praise, add to my thoughts or whatever you feel... it will only add to my perspective.
Thank you for your time. Cheers.