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Why we need to reject the AAP

By Vivek Gumaste
Last updated on: March 18, 2014 20:01 IST
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Honesty coupled with pragmatism translates to good governance. Honesty plus hubris and self-righteousness spells disaster: that is what the AAP is, says Vivek Gumaste

Enough is enough. It is time to put an end to the quixotic charade masquerading as the voice and face of the common man; it is time to cut short the tale wherein Dr Jekyll is fast turning into a Mr Hyde; in short it is time to pull the plug on the spectacular but reckless run of the Aam Aadmi Party before it inflicts tangible harm to the nation.

In record time an idealistic revolution eulogised as a harbinger of hope and an anti-corruption messiah has degenerated into a rank political broker. Today the AAP is looking no different from other political parties. Gone is the pristine innocence of political virginity and in its place we see the same political shenanigans, the same flip flops and the same jaded arguments so characteristic of established political parties but with some added dangerous traits that compel urgent scrutiny.

Each day reveals another new avatar of the AAP bringing forth another bizarre facet of its chimera-like persona. And with each transformation it looks more and more terrifying as the events of last week indicate.

On March 13 at a Rs 10,000 fund-raising dinner, Arvind Kejriwal the head honcho of the AAP unleashed a scathing tirade that had authoritarianism written all over it. He denigrated the media as a paid entity and threatened to incarcerate the delinquent if elected; certainly not an utterance reflective of a democratic ethos or a responsible political leader.

If that was not enough, his compatriot Yogendra Yadav went a step further and blatantly transgressed another line in the sand: national sovereignty. In a crafty electoral pitch to Meo Muslims in his native Haryana, the distinguished professor maliciously lobbed a Molotov cocktail comprising an incendiary mix of vote bank politics and treacherous scare mongering .Stoking alarmist fears by evoking the image of another blood stained partition he deftly proclaimed:

“In 1947, it was decided that Pakistan would be a one religion country, while India would embrace everyone -- Hindu, Muslim… In fact, when there were so many fleeing, Gandhi came to Ghaseda village in Mewat, folded his hands and asked people not to leave and 70,000 people returned home. That principle is now in danger… If Modi becomes prime minister, one community could become thekedaar, aag lag jayegi. We have seen Sri Lanka burn before, and India could too. We have to decide if we want to walk on Gandhi’s path or Modi’s path. “

Resorting to vote bank politics is one thing but trivialising the integrity of a nation by holding it hostage to a fabricated bogey to further one’s own vested interest is outright irresponsible, dangerous and borders on treason: it cannot be accepted.

National sovereignty has never been a sacrosanct to the AAP. Earlier this year one of its founder members Prashant Bhushan called for a referendum on Kashmir that resonated with Pakistan and the separatist stance on the issue.

For all its talk about probity in public life, it has failed to live up to its ideals in practice. It has proved to be an unabashed votary of vote bank arithmetic, the sine qua non of sordid Indian politics. During the Delhi polls, it made a direct appeal to Muslims castigating the Bharatiya Janata Party as a ‘communal party’ in contravention of the model code of conduct evoking an official censure from the Election Commission. Therefore, it came as no surprise, when recently Kejriwal brazenly proclaimed before a Muslim congregation that communalism was a bigger threat than corruption, turning the AAP’s avowed mission on its head.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so goes the adage and nothing exemplifies this better than the AAP. In the case of the AAP, the mere whiff of power was sufficient to trigger the downward descent and unravel its opportunistic tendency. After pillorying the Congress party as evil incarnate and as a fountainhead of corruption, the AAP had no qualms of accepting Congress support to form the government in Delhi.

The more astounding volte-face is the AAP’s abrupt change of tack. Realising that its original nemesis, the Congress is a dead horse the AAP has now deemed the BJP as its bête noir for no plausible rhyme or reason: a clear exhibition of naked political expediency. Its opposition to the BJP encompasses the same clichéd argument of secularism versus communalism.

Kejriwal’s dramatic resignation after a 49- day street show was another master stroke of manipulative strategy. Far from being an act of rightful frustration stemming from opposition to the Jan Lokpal Bill it was a carefully orchestrated game plan to garner political sympathy ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

With regards to performance, its self-truncated tenure in power has irreparably dented its credibility to deliver. When invested with authority, the AAP proved to be its own worst enemy exhibiting an immaturity and irresponsibility compatible with street activism rather than responsible administration. Consumed by overwhelming hubris and blind self-righteousness, the AAP lurched erratically from one misstep to another, biting off more than it could chew and choking in the process. The net result was an ugly chaotic non-performing jamboree that achieved precious little.

Honesty coupled with pragmatism translates to good governance. Honesty plus hubris and self-righteousness spells disaster: that is what the AAP is.

In summary we have a party that marginalises our sovereignty, revels in vote bank politics, carries an authoritarian steak and has a ‘F’ for performance. Its leitmotif, corruption lies buried and forgotten under an avalanche of overwhelming negative attributes. The AAP in its present form is a spoiler; a catalyst for political instability with nothing positive to offer. Do we need such a party? Can we afford a repeat of the Delhi fiasco at the national level?

All well intentioned and right minded people who understandably have supported the AAP till now and those who have agreed to be its candidates in a spirit of genuine altruism must do a rethink before it is too late.

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