By: Shanti Bhushan
The Congress has been totally decimated in the 2014 elections and there is a distinct possibility it may never rise again. But Congressmen and women don’t seem aware of what caused this catastrophe. Let them understand that it is the massive corruption that they indulged in that has resulted in their total and irreversible collapse. The Anna andolan, led and orchestrated by Arvind Kejriwal, though its public face was Anna Hazare, was the first to give vent to public anger against corruption. This was aided by various pathbreaking judgments of the Supreme Court and exposes by the then comptroller and auditor general.
It was not the BJP that carried out these exposes of large-scale corruption, including the one against Robert Vadra, which implicated the Nehru family itself.
Narendra Modi is a man of sharp intellect and a powerful orator. He immediately recognised the political potential of the momentous work done by the AAP, which smoothly emerged as a political party from the Anna andolan. With the help of huge sums of money and the RSS cadres, he launched a campaign against the Gandhi family and the Congress party. Apart from the family, there’s no leadership in the party — there are only foot soldiers who are given patronage by the high command for their loyalty. No one in the country, especially not Congress leaders, can even imagine a Congress without the Gandhi family at its head.
A leadership whose sole claim to its position is the decades-old contribution of late members of its family can have no place in modern India. Modi shrewdly reinforced this in the minds of the public by calling Rahul Gandhi a “shehzada”, while projecting himself as a former tea vendor born into a poor family. Modi, and not the BJP, has got a massive mandate all over the country, and the AAP has been humbled in all seven seats in Delhi, which was supposed to be its bastion.
Does this electoral setback make the AAP irrelevant? I certainly do not think so. The AAP represents an idea whose time has come. It is the idea of the restoration of clean politics in the country, of bringing people from all castes and creeds together, identifying the needs of different segments of society and framing appropriate policies and programmes after consulting the people so as to fulfil their needs and aspirations.
Let us also look at what the AAP, merely an 18-month-old party, has achieved in spite of what many people are calling an “electoral debacle”. In its debut Lok Sabha election, it has won four seats in a state where it had no presence until two months before the election, simply due to the twin factors of committed, hardworking volunteers from India and abroad and the complete political vacuum that the Congress and the BJP-SAD had left in Punjab.
In contrast, in its debut election in 1984, the BJP won only two …continued »