Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

AAP, the anti-liberal

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s rise to power has been a symbol of hope for many. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s rise to power has been a symbol of hope for many.
Written by Surjit S Bhalla | Posted: February 22, 2014 12:04 am

“You could have done better but I don’t mind/ You just kinda wasted my precious time”
— Bob Dylan, ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’

What is the appeal of the Aam Aadmi Party? Can it make a difference? What are its views on economics, politics and social issues? The AAP gets more attention in the media space than all the other parties combined. And it has been doing so for the last three months. This is no mean achievement, and the party needs to be credited for its brilliance, albeit one that Machiavelli would be most proud of.

A nowhere party to now a party with a difference, and a party with a promise of change. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s rise to power has been a symbol of hope for many. A hope that maybe India could change for the better; a hope that India could be corruption-free. The AAP has selected candidates on a transparent, non-corrupt and non-criminal basis — a huge positive for a criminal- and corrupt-infested Parliament. Thus, there is hope that India will see honest politics and, with it, honest economics. For, as Kejriwal recently stated his version of the AAP’s economic policy: “Our economic policy is honest politics.”

There is no doubt that Election 2014 is shaping up as the most important election, ever, in Indian history. And as the one promising to be different, we need to examine what the AAP’s leaders say and mean when they opine on policy. Until just a few weeks ago, most people assumed  that the AAP believed strongly in political freedom. That view has been dented by protests, sleepovers and resignations on the ground that it is “The AAP Way or No Way”.

Does any AAP party member know, or even care, as to the contents of the Lokpal bill that forced the “principled” resignation of Kejriwal’s party? When asked as to how the Lokpal bill would affect the life of the aam aadmi for which it was explicitly meant (The Big Fight, NDTV, February 15), senior member of the AAP party, Ashutosh, went into convoluted contortions to answer this straightforward question. He started explaining that big-ticket corruption needs to be checked and ended with a reference to Lal Bahadur Shastri. I persisted: But how does the Lokpal bill affect the life of a Delhi citizen? His lack of response reminded me of a refrain among the youth of the 1960s: “Ask no questions and you will be told no lies.”

On social policy, the AAP showed great progressiveness with support for gay rights. But no sooner had the applause peaked than the party opined on the constructive mohalla role of khaap panchayats. When criticism mounted about the anti-social and murderous khaaps (especially in the state of Haryana where the AAP continued…

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