Home / IndUS Forum Blog / AAP and the changing face of Indian politics

Jan 22nd


By indusforum

Posted in IndUS Forum Blog
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Sanjiv Khanna, is an Electrical Engineer, with MBA from University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). He works for a large Multinational Company, and is based in Switzerland. He is an avid watcher of the Indian politics and also takes keen interest in geopolitics of South Asia, specifically India’s relations with its neighbours in general and Pakistan in particular.”

AAP and the changing face of Indian politics

“The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came second the elections in New Delhi, beating the national ruling party, the Congress.

If AAP’s performance of is seen in the correct perspective, it offers a beacon of hope to various disaffected sections of the society. This disaffection is being manifested in various forms of insurgencies, separatist groups, and Naxalism (a movement of Maoist guerrilla groups in India).

AAP’s fantastic showing underlines the fact that the entrenched and patronage system that the existing political parties are running, with the support of large money bags, corporate media and muscle power, can be challenged by well-intentioned movements/groups.

This success also augers well for the AAP when it goes into the general elections next year.

However, it would serve AAP well if it takes a leaf or two from the success story of Imran Khan’s PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf) Party.  While expanding its network, PTI took care to avoid so called “electables” who just switch sides and take their vote banks which accrue due to community (biradari) affiliations, patronage based systems such as Patwaris and Thanedars, and the remnants of feudal systems, and hereditary connections. In order to foster democracy within the Party, PTI conducted elections for office bearers, rather than appointing them from the top. These could act as a ready reckoner when AAP embarks on nationwide growth.

During the general elections, AAP will always be confronted with the question of its viability as a national challenger. AAP will have to marshal all arguments to convey to the People that an effective and honest opposition is as important as a good government. People have to vote not only to replace the incumbent Government but also the incumbent opposition.

AAP may or may not be in striking distance of forming a national government, but what AAP must emphasise is that even if they get just 10 MPs into the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) who are elected purely on the merit of their alternative policies, they will be far more powerful than the present Opposition which has about 120 Members in the Lok Sabha.

While we criticize Congress rightly, it was the sheer impotence of the opposition or, possibly, plain connivance that allowed the Congress to run away with murder and to still nurse the dream of coming back in 2014. Had the opposition been vigilant, they would have put the Congress government on mat for the series of massive frauds committed on the nation, and then this election would have been a walkover. Rather, notwithstanding the opposition’s rhetoric, the opposition and the government are perhaps on the same page when it came to mega scams.  Otherwise, how can one explain the failure of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (one type of ad hoc Parliamentary committee constituted by all the major parties in the Indian parliament) to call the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister even as witnesses in the investigation of the 2G allocation scam.

The JPC report, tabled a few days ago in Parliament, says that the the Prime Minister was “misled” by the then telecom minister A. Raja. We are supposed to believe that a mediocre Cabinet Minister could convince an accomplished economist with over three decades of experience at apex levels of government that “First Come First served” is more efficient than the oldest method of price discovery – an auction.

This farce carried out in the name of democracy that needs to be challenged.  AAP will have to grab the opportunity that the people of Delhi have provided, and work towards to providing an alternative narrative of the very idea of politics, so that politics becomes a vehicle for change for the benefit of the ordinary citizen, and not remain limited to changing of masks.”

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  1. vijay

    February 16, 2014 at 1:57 am

    The fact of opposition is that BJP disrupted the parliment for more than 300 Days in 5 years (more than 30% of actual time) and AAP distracted daily life to get attention in media. The Real sufferings of the majority like unemployment, slow and steady death of Small and Medium industry and traders were not addressed. Indian economy could have reached better growth if their issues were addressed and there could have been a changing and progressive India upfront. Banks have also not attended to the root cause of NPAS of small and medium sector as Many big industries defaulted to pay in time 3 months and started closing to follow the rule by law. Unless people study methods to revive the sprawling medium and small industries, the complete purchasing power will be lost. Money will be there in Banks, But No purchases, No Industry. Speaking about elections alone has taken all the time by Media and Intellectuals and they have to take more balame than the Political parties

  2. Name

    February 18, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Dear Vijay

    You are right: too much space is taken up in India’s national discourse by films, sports and politics.

    None of that will be remedied till we have freedom of thought, freedom of markets and proper (ethically, socially and environmentally responsible) governance in the country.

    However, the first two (freedom of thought and freedom of markets) are dependent on the third (proper governance).

    We now have a chance to break free of corrupt BJP and corrupt Congress. Let us use the opportunity. It could be that the alternative parties also turn out, eventually, to be corrupt. But at least they (and we) have an opportunity to give the alternative parties a chance to show that they are not corrupt.

    Being honest is of course not sufficient to provide proper governance. But it is certainly impossible to provide without it. I hope the alternative parties will turn out not only to be honest but also to provide proper governance.

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