Rarely has a political party been so closely followed as the Aam Aadmi Party is today. In fact, rarely has a person become so large as to overshadow and tower over everything else that is around him as has Mr. Kejriwal. We’ve all watched AAP start from just one man to become what it is today. It started as an idea, nay, a desire. A desire to do something good to work for the country and it’s people and deliver them their hope that they’ve continued to cherish through the worst of time. That desire is something I recognise, understand and respect. That desire in someone compels me to respect them just because they have that desire which so few of us do. We all have the hope of something good happening to the country but the desire to make it happen is rather rare and that’s exactly why it deserves respect. Because with that desire is intertwined dedication and a love for the country, the idea that the happiness of 1.3 billion people is important and each voice in that 1.3 billion counts. That desire is not something that people of a faint heart or weak mind can possess because it requires a conviction as no other. It requires the understanding that the task before you is daunting and not something you can accomplish alone. It requires you to acknowledge that you are tiny, a tiny tiny speck when compared to the nation of India and that is what truly matters.
When Mr. Kerjiwal and his party first came to the fore, they were underdogs. And as underdogs often are they were dismissed, but they also had a strong following, as the underdog always does. They created quite a stir on the Indian political scene with their unconventional ways. And somehow, the underdog won. You’re used to it in the movies and stories but you’ve hardly ever seen it happen in reality and there it was, history being created as the AAP formed the government in Delhi. It was the fairytale ending everyone had imagined (okay, maybe not the BJP and the Congress).
Yet, it wasn’t. It was just the beginning. The beginning of what was going to be a nightmare of epic proportions. From the very beginning Mr. Kejriwal was in a hurry and it seemed like he wanted to change everything that had been in place since the birth of India as we know it. He seemed to be on a roll giving subsidies, carrying out raids, lodging FIRs, setting up commissions, holding a dharna, tabling bills,. There was no day that the AAP didn’t make the headlines. Good or bad it didn’t matter, they were there and they had the publicity. But suddenly the media which played a big part in making them famous had turned against them. Or so they said. Everyone seemed to have nothing but criticism. The beloved underdog was turning into a villain.
While the AAP and Mr. Kejriwal need to be applauded for their ideals and goals, they need a reality check when it comes to their actions. For a party which is made of such educated people, they seemed to constantly be in the news for breaking some rule or the other. I understand the need to make something happen and the urgency of it but I also understand that there is a system in place and rules which needs to be followed. We have seen scores of politicians, uneducated, illiterate and unethical, behave in the most undignified ways. And it is something that we have come to expect of them. But the AAP, we all had higher standards for them. We expected better than dharnas and raids and now resigning because they don’t get what they need.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t an AAP supporter but I wasn’t a critic either. I was very intrigued by the party as most of us were and very frankly wanted them to do well when they came into power. It’s important to try your best to put your candidate into the seat but once the elections are done you just hope and pray that the guy in the seat does his job well, whether he’s the guy you voted for or not doesn’t matter. For us to lead a good life, a better life, we need to pray for whoever it is who sits in that chair. and that’s how it is for the AAP too. They’re in the seat so you want them to do well.
I wasn’t quick to write off the AAP as the others were. Even through the dharna and the raid I kept my silence. They have 5 years I thought, we’ve given the others close to 70 years so I think we can give these guys at least 5. So I was silent and I still hoped. But today, I can’t restrain myself. I feel the need to critise the AAP. And do it belligerently. Because of all the parties and all the people out there, AAP really gave us hope, the hope that something was different and something would change. They took that hope and the faith the people had it in them and became arrogant. Bullies who thought that they can do anything they please, since against all expectations they were where they were. I understand a lot of people still support them and feel sad for them. They see them as the nice guys, the underdogs, who tried everything but the others wouldn’t let them. To you I sincerely say, please open your eyes. The AAP and Mr. Kejriwal are not the martyrs they make themselves out to be.
The AAP made a lot of promises before coming into power, just like the other parties do, but they set themselves deadlines, unlike the other parties. And while it is a sign of conviction, looking a little deeper into how the deadlines were set will show you how little thought went into it. When you propose a change and say you can deliver it, you need to be prepared to deliver it, we’re not talking about an assignment deadline but something to do with running an entire city. It requires thinking, planning and deliberation. It requires understanding the past and having thinking about the future. And if you can’t do either, you’re not fit to govern!
The AAP were very unconventional. Saying no to the official bungalows, coming to work using public transport, just like the aam aadmi. But they continued to be unconventional in their working too – holding dharnas, conducting raids, tabling bills without permission,…. You are in a seat of power, you have some control to do a lot of things, then why still stick to these obstructive ways of functioning. There is a system in place, learning about it and how to navigate it would save you time, money and effort when you have to accomplish your goals, instead it is wasted on fighting the system. What good came of any of it? What did they do that couldn’t be done by the rest of us? Anyone can organise a dharna, lodge an FIR, you don’t have to be a CM for it. The whole point of being in the government was to make sure the case is investigated, instead they resigned. How was the power they were given ever used?
The AAP was always in the media glare. Everywhere they went, they took the media with them. It was like a reality television show watching the AAP politicians behave like crusaders. And yet when they were critised they immediately turned on the media accusing them of receiving renumeration from other parties to show them in bad light. What is the requirement to have the media everywhere you go? Do you need to boast and publicise every single you do? The saying, when you do charity, let the left hand not know what the right does comes to mind.
One thing is clear from AAP’s governance of Delhi, they are bullies. They had the power and instead of using it constructively and to do some good as promised they choose to show their power. They were disruptive and destructive. They were sensational in every way right up to the resignation speech from the window. There are Bollywood movies less dramatic than the AAP. India doesn’t need drama, we have more than enough of it. There’s Bollywood for one and the evergreen pepper spraying wielding MPs when we get bored of conventional drama. We don’t need more people who will clog our televisions.
People say that Mr. Kejriwal brought up the most controversial of topics because he knew both the Congress and BJP would disagree and withdraw support causing the government to fall and in light of his unending battle against the system the AAP would get a majority in the re-election. This is of course a conspiracy theory but that doesn’t mean it might not be true. India’s political scenario is more dangerous to navigate than a mine field, you never know what could blow up in your face. But assuming this is indeed true, there’s nothing more shameful for the now ex-Delhi CM. His city disrupting antics were bad enough but to throw so much tax payer money down the drain, think about the subsidies given out and the impending re-election costs with no economic plan in place, shows that Mr. Kejriwal is no better than the rest of the lot. AAP didn’t really have a majority to do everything they wanted to do but they had enough to do SOMETHING. That something would have been enough to get re-elected in the face of what the other parties have done and gotten re-elected into power. That he put his party ideas and ideals above the good of the people is reason enough to criticise him. And even more so considering his unending speech about how he is just an aam aadmi and he is here to serve India.
You may wonder why I have so much ire for such a young party and one which has hardly done anything compared to the rest of the lot. To this I say, of course, I have contempt for the others. I have a lot more than contempt for the things they’ve done and continue to do and it’s not something that would fit in just one blog post. The reason I’m critising the AAP today is because they claimed to be different, they claimed to be the hope of the people. And for once, just once, I wanted it to be true. I really wanted them to do well and show the others that you can govern the country and do good for the people. The other parties have played with a lot of things – our money, education, resources, future,… but they never claimed our hope. If you look at how the country is today, an outsider may wonder how we still work with the problems we have. We work because we have hope, a hope for change and a better tomorrow. As long as we have this hope, there’s nothing that anyone or anything can do to stop us from moving ahead. But today AAP played with that hope and that is something I cannot and will not tolerate.