After flying high with praise and adulation, there appears to be trouble in the Aam Admi Party. Several of its members have come out with a long list of complaints about the functioning of the party since Wednesday, and accuse it of not living up to the promises it made before the elections.
Air Deccan founder Captain G R Gopinath, who joined the Aam Aadmi Party on January 3, says that there are issues in the party which need to be sorted out. In this interaction with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa he says that there are conflicting statements on major issues such as defence and fiscal policy, and may be the leaders of the party should have avoided shooting from the hip.
“I am ready to reconsider my membership of the party in case there is no internal democracy in the party,” he says.
On the Aam Admi Party and its seeming policy conundrums:
While there is euphoria and a sense of optimism about AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal leading the party to victory in Delhi, especially among the youth and the educated middle-class across the country who till recently were cynical, there are increasing concerns among the same people at some of the conflicting statements coming out on major issues like the economy, fiscal and defence.
Even many respected and well-known economists as well as business leaders who are admirers of the AAP are a bit troubled about the recent pronouncements by senior leaders of the party on important matters of national policy.
May be the leaders should have refrained from shooting from the hip their personal opinion and should have instead announced that the party has just come to power, and admitted that it is still young and inexperienced in matters of governance.
Though a couple of them are outstanding professionals before they joined the AAP, that they will need some time to deliberate internally and form a panel of economists, defence analysts and foreign policy experts, as well as civil servants with integrity and come out with an informed policy document.
It is nothing to be ashamed of. The party needs time to settle down and get its act together. Nobody can grudge that concession to AAP. It is just a few months old. But what they have achieved, in transforming the very nature of politics of this country is stupendous. They have shown that you can win elections in India without the backing of money, muscle and caste power.
They gave hope and optimism to the country where none existed -- not just to the educated and urban middle-class, but to the entire social and economic strata of people who backed the AAP in Delhi and brought it to power.
Kejriwal and AAP inherited the DNA of the Anna Hazare movement to bring about systemic changes to eliminate corruption which had seeped into every aspect of Indian government and society and was destroying the very fabric of society.
The AAP gave a political platform to the aspirations of Hazare. So this is a watershed moment in Indian history.
We need to build not only a 'corruption-free' India, but also an economically strong and vibrant India which ensures millions of entrepreneurs not just big 'crony capitalists', create wealth and jobs, and see that the benefits of better standards of living and job opportunities percolate into the deep bowels of the country instead of the teeming millions hankering after cushy government jobs which offer an opportunity to make easy money on the side.
Nobody wants a corruption-free but poor India.
The ban on the FDI announcement in retail is a bit of shocker especially the manner in which it was done. The AAP is in danger of being branded like other political parties of resorting to cheap and populist measures and opposing for the sake of opposing and also running the risk of losing the ground swell of support and optimism.
It will send a wrong message to investors that India is an unstable country with regard to continuity in economic policies. The AAP is unwittingly also playing into the hands Indian oligopolies who were opposing the FDI in retail so that they could have a monopoly like the Birlas had on Ambassador cars.
Which means it is okay for Indian retail corporates to rape India but not okay for foreign corporates to compete with them. That's exactly what 'crony capitalism benefited under previous governments. Personally, I think opening up retail to FDI and more competition is good for the farmers and also the economy and the country.
The view of small retailers is unfounded. That's the old BJP lobby of small traders. Their fears are unfounded. No retail corporation can shake our Udupi hotels or mom and pop groceries. Even in the West, the corner store thrives. No Pizza Hut has dislodged Italian eateries.
But the larger point is that the AAP must step back and deliberate and not do any thing in haste in terms of policy decisions. It must take its time and come out with a long term vision for India that will remove poverty and improve living standards and create a happy society.