The Arvind Kejriwal show has resumed. May be we can call it the second part to the highly-absorbing first part which was mainly a expose spree. This time, the focus is on the institutional side of his tirade against corruption as Kejriwal and Co. founded a new party called the Aam Admi Party (AAP). I think Robert Vadra deserves a strong thanks from the Kejriwals for helping the latter find a name that will get its popular appeal going.
Will Kejriwal's romanticism earn anything real?
But how far will Kejriwal's romanticism will go in the world of hard and crude politics? This man may harbour a dream of a clean India like many others but his political naivete is not going to change anything on ground, barring some meaningless media sensationalism.
Let's face it. Kejriwal, like many other engineering graduates, has little understanding of the complex that is called politics. Just wishful think doesn't bring any change on ground. The AAP will aim for Swaraj (what is it now?) and encourage direct democracy and decentralisation and not allow family politics. Women and youth will be adequately represented and one out of the two convenors at every primary unit based at village, ward and college levels will be a woman. The party's vision document also refers to the idea of referendum while making laws.
Roof-top politicians don't last
What makes this Kejriwalist brand of politics look unconvincing to me is that it has no credibility of an evolution. Political history across the globe says a viable political institution only makes an impact when there is a strong ideological foundation backed by an equally convincing movement working as its base. A party can only be a culmination of a movement but Kejriwal's political journey is actually a reverse one. He starts off with a political party and then decides to reach out to the people and try to expose before them the wrongdoings of the Congress and BJP.
What is India? What is Aam Admi?
I would like to know from the AAP leader the meaning of two words since he did not arrive in the political scenario through any mass uprising. What is his understanding of the words 'India' and 'Aam Admi'? If Kejriwal's concern for a corruption-free India is mainly confined to northern India, then he should declare it that he only wants a clean northern India and that his party is actually AAP (NI) or Aam Admi Party (North India).
In that case, giving so much importance to his battle is a waste of time. But if indeed Kejriwal is ready to take up a battle for a cleaner India in its entirety, I must say that his ideas are dangerously simplistic and have no chance to achieve an iota of success, irrespective of the media and urban middle-class frenzy that is accompanying him.
What does Kejriwal precisely say when he mean that gram sabhas should get more power? The man's political thinking is so hopelessly limited to just Congress and BJP tussle. Does he mean that corruption is a problem which can be identified with just these two parties and all things will be solved once you put them in quarantine, socially and politically?
Congress or BJP is not the question
I come from a state where neither the Congress nor the BJP is powerful but yet it is one of the most stagnant places in India and there is no dearth in corrupt practices there. How this man plans to penetrate those pockets in the country? And it is not only me but millions of others out there who are not touched by the corruption taking place in Maharashtra, Haryana or Delhi. More immediate problems of corruption fuelled by complex socio-political factors affect them and there are no media focus to highlight the woes either.
Does Kejriwal even know how problems plaguing common people outside the scope of 'either-Congress-or-BJP' corruption look like? What Tahrir Square does he speak about? Does he know how a village politics works? Does he know what it takes to make a woman a member of a village council? Enough of befooling people's sentiments for your narrow political gains, Mr Kejriwal. You are actually fighting your own case, not the battle of the masses.
Kejriwal, may be because he was an engineering student, judges politics as a mathematical problem that can be solved through some set formula. But unfortunately it is not the case. Kejriwal's plans make me feel that he is forcefully trying to project his party just as an identically opposite to the Congress. For instance, this man said he won't allow dynasty politics. This appears a kind of negative thinking.
Dynasty politics is not bad just because it involves a family tradition. Even dynastic politics can be practised in a democratic way with a thrust on popular welfare. Barring the BJP and Left, tell me how many parties in India do not indulge in dynastic politics? And many of the dynastic successors have proved themselves to be equally popular as their predecessors. Dynastic politics is relevant in India because of some given socio-economic factors and not because Sonia Gandhi wanted it this way. Yes, the Congress made a mess of dynastic politics for it undermined democracy to uphold dynasticism but if that makes Kejriwal eliminate political prospects from his party just because they already have a familial link with his party, then I must say the man is nothing but autocratic.
Then, what does Kejriwal mean by 'Aam Admi?' This vague term is a misleading one for a political and socio-economic landscapes of a nation do not speak about a homogenous people. How many Aam Admis does Kejriwal aim to influence with his political agenda? The Aam Admi concept is not as simple as it looks and it looks Kejriwal hasn't really analysed the complex game of electoral politics.
At the top, Indian democracy gets reduced to a quantitative formula for sure, but to find that winning formula by means of permutation and combination is not an easy task. As a representative of the middle-class, Kejriwal may perceive politics as a power struggle between the black and white, but actually it is the grey shades that reign supreme in politics. Tomorrow, there may come a situation when Kejriwal may have to forge an alliance with either the Congress or the BJP for political gains, then he might become the first person in the entire party to dump the Aam Admi.
Our democracy has created a gap between parties and people, not the Congress
The point that the Congress has lost its connection with the common man applies to all parties today for democracy in this country is perceived as an and in itself and not a means. Kejriwal either will have to learn that lesson or he will have to bid goodbye in a quick time. The media will be as loyal a foe during the dry days as it is a friend now.
Connecting politics back to patriotism is another of Kejriwal's plan. What is precisely that I don't know. What's Kejriwal's take on economic reforms or FDI? Will an IITan oppose FDI just because it doesn't suit populist sentiments? But if he supports, the same Aam Admi can feel betrayed.
It only seems that Kejriwal is just another of those millions of cynical urban middle-class people who want to change the rules of the game by means of applying the same rules. The unfortunate part of this country's politics today is that the scope of genuine political activism has shrunk beyond imagination today. Inside the house, we have a bunch of hooligans and outside, a gang of cynics. Both groups only breed anarchy.