To err and to recover

The AAP has made a few mistakes, which it must acknowledge and move on.

Written by Shanti Bhushan | Updated: May 26, 2014 8:33 am
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal

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 seats even though it was not a new party — it had emerged as a faction of the Janata Party. No other party has had this kind of success in its debut election. Moreover, the AAP has secured 2.2 per cent of the vote share — over 1.2 crore votes across the country — even though it had meagre financial resources and was heavily reliant on volunteers. Even in Delhi, AAP candidates performed quite well. Each secured at least 3 lakh votes, and some crossed 5 lakh. However, the Modi storm swept them off and helped each BJP candidate win by a margin of at least 1 lakh votes.

The success of the AAP is only on account of the yearning in the hearts of most Indians for politics to change. Can the Modi-fied BJP effect any meaningful change? In my opinion, it can’t. Like the Congress, it is also steeped in corruption and collects funds through illegal means. It is amply evident that the BJP has spent a huge amount of money on advertising and publicity for the 2014 election.

Nobody donates thousands of crores to a political party without a quid pro quo. Even the most honest BJP chief ministers will privately tell you the percentage amount of every big deal that goes into the BJP coffers. Further, how can we expect the man responsible for showering undue favours on Adani and other big industrialists to fight against the menace of crony capitalism?

So far as uniting people of all castes, creeds and religions is concerned, a discerning observer of the Modi campaign would have heard the speeches of Amit Shah in western UP in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar riots. It is noteworthy and worrying that not a single of the BJP’s 282 MPs is a Muslim. Modi himself has continuously tried to exploit his backward caste status throughout the campaign. It certainly required great oratory skills to construe Priyanka Gandhi’s comment on “neech rajneeti” as an affront to backward castes. The yearning for a new kind of politics cannot be fulfilled by Modi and the BJP.

The AAP has made mistakes and must own up to them. Arvind Kejriwal’s two biggest errors were to sit on a dharna as chief minister and to subsequently quit without anybody bringing a no confidence motion against the government. This alienated the middle classes, particularly in Delhi. However, they will surely come back once the Modi euphoria dies down.

The AAP has to be patient. Transforming Indian politics may take time. It must concentrate on building up its all-India organisation. With the irreversible collapse of the Congress, the AAP is likely to replace it in the states in the not too distant future.

One significant consequence of the elections is that the AAP’s voice and views will not go unheard in Parliament. Each of its four MPs is highly educated and articulate. They will set new standards for parliamentary behaviour. They will never disrupt proceedings in the House or stage walk-outs on every subject. They will speak clearly, forthrightly and voice the views of the common man of this country, which the AAP seeks to represent.

Whenever the government comes forward with a good policy, they will strongly support it. However, whenever a proposed policy or law is perceived not to be in the public interest, they will stoutly oppose it by making a well-researched speech on the subject.

Let us again emphasise that the AAP’s objective is not to gain power for its own sake but to change the way politics is practised in the country.

The writer is a founder member of the AAP

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  1. S
    Sushil Ahuja
    Jan 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm
    Ab Aye ga Majja.............Ye demagogues ko ab issue based politics yaad aaye gi....................Arvind...........ney jaisey Wifi ka promise kiya hai.. These demagogues will have to .generate jobs for their VOLUNTEERS ..VOLUNTEERS should generate courage to become their BAAPs who always get badly exploited in our Maha Bhrashtachar Samgram , s:www.facebook/video...
    Reply
    1. S
      Sushil Ahuja
      Jan 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm
      Ab Aye ga Majja.............Ye demagogues ko ab issue based politics yaad aaye gi....................Arvind...........ney jaisey Wifi ka promise kiya hai.. These demagogues will have to .generate jobs for their VOLUNTEERS ..VOLUNTEERS should generate courage to become their BAAPs who always get badly exploited in our Maha Bhrashtachar Samgram , s:www.facebook/video...
      Reply
      1. p
        p.kumar
        May 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm
        Both the BJP and the AAP are a breath of fresh air. The Manmohan Singh tenure was marking time for ten years, hamstrung by Sonia hi, the coalitionists and the corruption mentality, from top to bottom. The previous PM was a babu, a gutless individual. If China or stan had incursions, the PM would not the ability to convey to the nation the loss of prestige and property. Good Riddance, Congress.
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          adal singh
          May 26, 2014 at 8:38 am
          AAP has committed 2 mistakes. One is forming govt. y congress support&other y dissolving Delhi govt.Party has done well well in parliamentary election. Now aam adami party must go to real aam adami out of Delhi to know real India& workhard to become a third alternative at the center.
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            PN
            May 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm
            Hope AAP recovers - otherwise it will not even be a foot note in history! To recover AAp needs to change it's leadership (aka kejriwal) ...much like the Congress.
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              anil
              May 26, 2014 at 7:17 pm
              No, because he is twisting the facts.
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              1. A
                Arundhati
                May 26, 2014 at 5:00 am
                Crying over spoiled milk
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                1. A
                  Arun
                  May 26, 2014 at 12:48 am
                  "Let us also look at what the AAP, merely an 18-month-old party, has achieved" ..... so, what was the achievement? long letter, no conclusion.... typically aap...
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                  1. A
                    A S
                    May 26, 2014 at 5:17 am
                    Voters don't understand the agenda of AAP. Obviously staging dharnas day in and day out is not an agenda which public will accept. Removing corruption is good but blaming everybody as corrupt without securing adequate proof is not a responsible behaviour. People want jobs and that inflation should be controlled. Issuing orders that AAP volunteers who have not paid electricity bills should be exempted is also CORRUPTION. As bad as giving favours to industrialists who fund elections. Later transaction is by cash and former by kind.
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                    1. T
                      TIHARwale
                      May 26, 2014 at 5:43 am
                      “A court cannot order the Defendants to be nice to the Plaintiffs,”. “Litigation must focus on legal wrongs and legal rights – commodities which are in remarkably short supply in this action. At the same time Judges presiding coirts cannot take the plea that they cannot withdraw their own order even if subsequently the Judge realises that he had erred by telling the affected party to seek remedy by appealing to higher court. This seem strange because we have seen SC itself issuing death sentences and on a later date issue a revised on a plea that the death sentence is rescinded and now it is awarding life sentence without bothering to instruct who is the competent authority to carry out their revised order of life sentence.
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                      1. H
                        Harshal
                        May 26, 2014 at 7:10 am
                        The same mudslinging from another senior AAP leader. Pathetic and now also getting a bit boring!
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                        1. J
                          Jayanarayan Kongasseri
                          May 26, 2014 at 3:56 am
                          The article is well written and balanced. Mr.Kejriwal's ommissions and commissions are not, however, mentioned neither the autocratic nature of its leader highlighted.The citizens expect AAP's vigilence with responsibility to keep the democracy on its track.
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                          1. K
                            Kaushik
                            May 26, 2014 at 11:50 am
                            In 1984, BJP had 7% vote share and became a national party, which you clearly do not mention. In 1984, there was a huge sympathy wave for Rajiv hi, nobody stood a chance. As compared to 2014, AAP a party which was formed to fight corruption, with such a mive anti-corruption sentiment, it still couldn't get more than 2% votes. So stop comparing numbers. The reason AAP failed is because of the people running it, the people who joined and the people who are behind it with Money and "Anti-National" interests, if the same people hold the cards, AAP will remain a fringe party and the vote share will further reduce.
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                            1. K
                              Kuldip S
                              May 26, 2014 at 8:09 am
                              The AAP was saved from the most inglorious decimation in the 2014 elections thanks purely to the Punjab electorate who were seeking to decimate the horribly corrupt Badal regime by voting for the honest and por AAP candidates. Kejriwal proved to be an inept, self-centered, ambitious and immature leader utterly lacking in vision. That is why many of his senior ociates are deserting him. The AAP had good agenda but bad leadership. It needs fresh blood and visionary leadership to make its mark in the country.
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                              1. G
                                Gaurav
                                May 26, 2014 at 6:13 am
                                After reading this article, I am absolutely sure, that the once Intellectually Brilliant Shanti Bhushan, seems to be losing his mental balance. He only lives in his house, and the Supreme Court, and is completely unaware of what goes on in Delhi. Everyone in Delhi is hearing about how Arvind Kejriwal was paid hundreds, possibly thousands of crores, to upstage Narendra Modi. This was the Congress' strategy, after their 'Communal angle', 'fake development indices', 'arrogant', 'non-inclusive', 'AD over-spending' attacks etc etc failed against Modi. As a matter of fact, Arvind Kejriwal had been jointly tutored and trained by the Ford Foundation and the Congress. His failure was emminent, since providence decided (supported by brilliance and hardwork), that Modi is an idea, whose time has come. As for the AAP, the Congress will decimate it, if someone else doesn't.As for Shanti Bhushan .... he needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
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                                1. M
                                  Mahen
                                  May 26, 2014 at 3:45 am
                                  AAP is a joke! They entered the political arena on a ANTI-CORRUPTION PLATFORM and did well with the public mood against corruption in Delhi government.However the s changed their successful platform from ANTI CORRUPTION to COMMUNAL/SICKULAR platform. Thru out the LS campaign, NOT A WORD against the corruption kings Congress or their leader Maino! What was he given/promised by CONGRESS for the about turn from the ANTI CORRUPTION platform? The rest is history! Now he is back with his dramas on a anti corruption platform!
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                                  1. G
                                    george
                                    May 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm
                                    UPA dug its own grave by appointing people like veerapa moily as the petroleum minister. There should have been a check and balance on his activities which made public desperate like onion crisis for BJP in Delhi. Congress should get rid of corrupt politicians from its cadre, if it want to regain its glorious past. Wish that Shanti Bushan and Prasant Bushan properly guide Arvind to tread the path in future
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                                    1. P
                                      P.G.Borshe
                                      May 26, 2014 at 4:31 am
                                      It is very easy to deceive the general public.The rich and influential people are not interested in the eradication of corruption nor in strong, democratic spirit and good governance. The traditional politicians know this and as result so many corrupt and criminals were given tickets by them by putting mask of goodness.If we were sincere about corruption and criminality, we would have asked a very simple question as to where from these parties have got so many thousands of crores of rupees poured in the election publicity.The rich and influential people funding election publicity and other expenses of the so called traditional political parties are bound to recover at the cost of GENERAL PUBLIC.
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                                        Purush
                                        May 26, 2014 at 10:58 am
                                        This article written by Shanti Bhushan is a shame on him and on AAP.
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                                        1. R
                                          Raj Sharma
                                          May 26, 2014 at 9:21 pm
                                          AAP's time has come and gone. The leaders made too many mistakes but were too egotistical to recognize and admit. AAP is as doomed as the Congress. But people will remember AAP more fondly than the Congress.
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                                          1. R
                                            Ronnie
                                            May 26, 2014 at 7:44 am
                                            We understand Prashant Bhushan and his compulsions, but you too Shanti Bhushan?"Anna andolan, led and orchestrated by Arvind Kejriwal". Shanti Bhushan sir, please do not mock the intellect of the people of this country."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". Again sir, Narendra Modi has been politicking long before Kejriwal was being propped up by Ford Foundation Money!"Modi shrewdly reinforced this in the minds of the public by calling Rahul hi a “shehzada”, while projecting himself as a former tea vendor born into a poor family. Modi, and not the BJP, has got a mive mandate all over the country". Mr. Shanti Bhushan, Modi represents BJP. Like when you go to court and represent a client. It is as much a vote for BJP as it is for Modi."Even the most honest BJP chief ministers will privately tell you the percentage amount of every big deal that goes into the BJP coffers". Do you even have the slightest idea what your insinuation means? Do you have a shred of evidence. If you do please p it on to Mr. kejriwal and let him do another press conference. Does that logic also mean you donated one crore rupees to AAP so that you will get something in return if AAP will come to power?"Each of its (AAP) four MPs is highly educated and articulate. They will set new standards for parliamentary behaviour. They will never disrupt proceedings in the House or stage walk-outs on every subject". Mr. Bhushan even Kejriwal is highly educated, enough said!"Let us again emphasise that the AAP’s objective is not to gain power for its own sake but to change the way politics is practised in the country". That was the biggest lie of all in your article Mr. Bhushan. You guys believed your on bull and contested all over hoping to be the King or at least the King Maker!The people of this country had seen through your charades.
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