Monday, December 9, 2013

Delhi Decides- hope from the AAP Phenomena

After many years I was keen to see the Election Results and Analysis for the General Elections held in Delhi. On December 8, the day of vote counting, I got up at 3AM (Paris time), streamed NDTV on the internet. Don’t remember the last time I had that much energy for an Election result that too for a state Assembly and one in which I myself couldn’t vote.

The drabbing that the two established political parties got from the new kid on the block pleased all people who like to see an underdog prevail. But this victory meant a lot more and the joy that these results brought to millions can be explained beyond the simple human instinct of backing a proclaimed underdog. For the first time in my living memory, people participated from their hearts in an electoral process and voted for the right causes. Fortunately they had an alternative.

I can write a hundred pages on why Mr Arvind Kejriwal and his team of gutsy men and women, are extraordinary people who challenged the arrogant and high headed professional netas in Delhi. Truly, their determination, courage and efforts are mind boggling. However, I wish to write my views about what could, this result for a party of upstarts, mean for the political discourse in India.

The doom predictors call is that this one-off victory of the people is an ephemeral phenomena that would die its natural death. How can you fight and win elections at a stage larger that Delhi where caste, religion, black money, language, family lineage and goodapower matters more than just lofty ideals and sheer honesty of intent for public service?

The ultra-optimists hope that AAP can replicate the success in places other than Delhi.

Well, the party may or may not be able to challenge the established players in the Electoral games in India but that is not the biggest hope I have anyway. What the AAP has proven in its phenomenal performance is even more monumental than its victory at the ballot box. It has provided a new book from which our established political Parties can surely read to few lessons.

The victory of AAP has shown that it is possible!

It is possible to fight and win elections with white money, it is possible to field candidates who are honest, it is possible to win popular support without the clutches of caste, creed, liquor and money power, it is possible to win without goondas by your side.

The people of India are fed up of the disconnected politics that doesn’t touch their lives. They are disgruntled with the VIP netas who behave like heavenly beings, born to rule. The common man is keen to have his problems solved but even more than that wishes to have leaders who are honest in their efforts and intent. They aspire to have people who give them a “he is one of us” feeling rather than “they are leaders and we are just common people” feeling.

So what could be the biggest contribution of the AAP victory?

To me, it was a large field experiment that proved that the right politics matters more than the politics of right and left. That it is possible to win elections with an honest agenda and intent, and that people are willing to be partners in a good effort.

As an optimist I hope that the right minded leaders of the established political parties will now admit that it is time to clean up the way their parties function. They must believe now that they can fight the elections without black money, they can win with clean candidates of honest intent, they can win with right intentions and without indulging in politics of narrow sectarian games.

There is a silver lining. The established parties do not lack leaders with the right intentions and credentials but their kinds seem powerless and voiceless in these parties. This movement must give courage to the honest and right thinking persons in the big parties to set the agenda right. The silent majority of such members in these parties should now let their voices be heard so that these parties can be transformed. Why not move to clean money, clean people and clean intentions.

No citizen minds giving hefty allowances and big bunglows to their elected leaders provided they use these assets to honesty serve the public. However, if the common person still perceives the distance from the main gate of the netas bunglow to the drawing room longer than a marathon and the darshan of these leaders continues to appear taller than the Mt Everest, people will sooner or later find a way to get themselves heard by means considered right or wrong. We can avoid such an Indian spring.

I sincerely hope that the AAP victory will set a real discourse for introspection within the established political parties and this time they will act with the right changes rather that trudging along the beaten track that continues to take them away from the life and aspirations of the Aam Aadmi.