Of Aam Aadmis and Indian Politics

The Great Indian Election Mela.

The most happening and piquant Indian event that every citizen of the country looks forward to is back, and even if I say ‘It’s back with a bang’, I believe I’ll merely be making a naive understatement.

The most interesting element? It’s the one person who has radically managed to shake the very foundations and dynamics of Indian politics today: Arvind Kejriwal, the man behind Aam Aadmi Party. And well, with the promising jhaadu (broom) which is very appropriately AAP’s symbol, this man has kick started a far-reaching drive for sweeping the country’s beloved Capital city clean. I am another aam aadmi who is vouching for Kejriwal. A decent man with an IIT background, willing to fight for the people, and most importantly, a man with resolve for change.

I was born in Delhi, and I somehow feel a strong emotional attachment with my city. Although it is not as strong as my patriotism for India as a whole, there is still a feeling of belongingness and love. Lately, I have not felt very proud, calling myself a ‘Delhi-ite’. I have felt shameful, in fact, coming from a city where the safety of women cannot be guaranteed, a city where the water and electricity mafia seem to be more powerful than the Government itself, a city of lust and crime. But today, I look at Mr. Kejriwal and I become hopeful that someday in the future, the original grandeur, and the rich social and moral culture of Delhi can be restored. It is, after all, our Capital.     

The Aam Aadmi Party is building its prowess around delivering change and we are seeing the results. It’s a simple strategy: smart, in-the-face politics with brutal honesty and a no-non-sense policy.

In the very first week after Delhi elections, AAP managed to ban the VIP culture in Delhi, made 20 kilolitres of water free for all Delhi citizens, introduced a 50% subsidy on electricity bills for those who use only 400 units, kick started the audit of Electricity companies (something Congress has been conveniently been neglecting for the past four years), introduced a helpline for parents to report problems their children might be facing at school, introduced late night inspections at police stations and bus stands, began the process of simplifying VAT, granted 5500 licenses to inter-state autos and added 15000 new licenses for the unemployed SC/STs. And they guaranteed us that this was just the beginning. 7 days for these thriving changes! A lot more is underway.

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The most recent of their efforts has been the dharna at Delhi. The AAP dharna has attracted much attention from all over the country, and surprisingly, a lot of criticism from our beloved netas, babus, cops and journos. Times Now even ran a campaign on Twitter(#AAPDrama). The turn of events has, in fact, been dramatic.

I am only a dilettante when it comes to understanding politics, but there is one loud and clear statement which AAP makes through its ideas and movements: Mr. Kejriwal will not play by the rules anymore, and if it is for common good, he’s willing to move mountains. He stands resolute and unwavering on his stand, despite the media, bureaucrats and industrialists. He is undaunted by all the Rajdeep Sardesais, the Barkha Dutts, the Arnab Goswamis and the Kiran Bedis. Mr. Shinde can lash at him, calling him ‘yeda mukhyamantri’, but he isn’t going to give up on what is right, and for that matter, nor are we.

His dharna outside our honourable Home Minister’s well-guarded, extremely luxurious home caused a lot of upheaval, but it was necessary because keeping quiet is simply not the solution to any problem in any corner of the world, especially if that corner is India.

Mr. Kejriwal justifies his Dharna sensibly, saying “Is Delhi police responsible only for security of those living in Lutyens Zone bungalows? We will not stand still while the women of the city are being raped, burnt for dowry and illegal drug and sex racket is in full swing. We will act and make sure that there is accountability within the system.”

I want to conclude this article by sharing what Mr. Avay Shukla, a retired IAS officer has to say about Kejriwal and the circumstances of his governance in Delhi: They want him to sit in the Secretariat and be guided by his bureaucrats and lose all touch with reality- he won’t fall for this Pavlovian routine. They desperately want him to become one of them, red light, siren, gun-toting commandos, Lutyen’s bungalow and all- he knows that if he falls for this he loses his USP and becomes just an intern in this hoary club of gnarled sinners. The French Revolution would not have happened if the existing rules had been followed. Tehrir Square would not have happened if everyone swore by the old rules. Changing the rules is not anarchy – it is the beginning of a people’s revolution.

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