On November 26,2012, India witnessed the launch of a new political party- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). In India’s multi-party democracy, there are hundreds of political parties, so what is the big deal about it! I would say that the launch of the Aam Aadmi party is really a big deal. It is a watershed phenomenon in Indian polity. With the fresh optimism around, let me give you some reasons as to why I joined this party and support my decision.
Launched with the aspiration to fulfill the common man’s dream of clean, accountable and just governance, Aam Aadmi Party has included some innovative and unique concepts in its core character right from the beginning, viz. Swaraj (de-centralization in administration), intra-party democracy (key elements being, selection of the candidates at the local level for elections and internal Lokpal for the party affairs). It is fair to say that the Aam Aadmi Party- borne out of the struggle for Jan Lokpal Bill- will shift the agenda of mainstream politics in our country. At the same time, it is worth noticing that while the current political culture in Indian evokes a sense of despondency, Aam Aadmi Party is attracting the idealist youth to it with a new vigor.
2. Loot and scams in the name of Governance: Rather than serving their people by providing clean and efficient governance, the elected representatives have become self-serving. Scams are happening at the pace never seen before! The impact of this moral debasement is palpable on all streams of administration, viz judiciary, police and civil administration.
– Under this concept, Arvind discusses how the principle of Swaraj will empower Gram Sabhas and Ward -Councils to make local governance more powerful and in the hands of people. Put in other words, Swaraj talks of the concept of “Direct Democracy”.
– In Economic de-centralization, the revenue collection – a part of that- should be allowed to be spent by the local governments (panchayats or municipalities). in other words, (some of the ) planning should happen at the local level , rather than being imposed from the Center and similarly, the local governments should have the discretion to spend the revenue for local development.
You may not agree with each and every suggestion that has been given by Kejriwal and team in the book “Swaraj”, but it goes beyond saying that the principle of Swaraj- that Gandhi ji also so dearly espoused- will go a long way in bringing the power back to people.
2. Intra-party Democracy: The way the parties have concentrated the power and influence in the hands of chosen few, even the very idea of joining a political party for a conscientious man is repulsive. Moreover, what meaningful a common man contribute through the political action (otherwise a very noble field) when you see that political parties have become dynastic and feudal in nature (think Sonia, Mulayam, Chautala, Mayawati, Mamta, etc). To fight this hazard, AAP has included 2 fundamental principles in its constitution:
a] Selection of the candidates for the elections by the local party-workers. Tickets for the election will not be distributed from the above (high-command culture).
b] Internal Lokpal: As the first step towards bringing accountability within the party cadre, AAP has appointed 3 Lokpals who would take up the complaints submitted by the party-workers against any party-man.
3. Transparency in party Funding: AAP has declared that it would keep its accounts open to public. This is a major decision in contrast to the nebulous accounting practices that almost all the other political parties are indulging in!
In addition to this, AAP is seriously working on pushing for electoral, judicial and administrative reforms. This is a fresh air when you see that the current political parties work hard to stymie reforms as much as possible.
Launched with an idealism, Aam Aadmi Party has the potential to change the political debate and discourse of the country. Will it succeed while the current political milieu in India is synonymous with the potent mixture of “Money-muscle- lung power”? Also, there is a saying that where the institutions of democracy are weak, demagogues thrive!
Already, the party is attracting the motivated youth with a new vigor. However, a new political movement can not grow and succeed unless the common man identifies himself or herself with the party. Equally critical is the strong support of educated, intellectual and established section of the society.
The dismal political scenario in the country has created a chance for us! Yes, the aspirations of the masses seem to have resulted in a crystallizing effect to create a political movement called Aam Aadmi Party. This is a chance for us to change the political culture and discourse of our country. A fresh breeze is around the corner. Smell the sweetness and be a part of this!
I will end my post with these 2 quotes:
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. ” Pericles
The biggest problem in this world is : The Intelligent People are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence !