AAP’s entry into politics is much needed and the timing couldn’t have been any better than this. Despite all the flaws, the shortcomings, and all the criticisms, they managed to convey a simple message – “Politics is everyone’s responsibility” and what is even impressive is the fact that people responded to it.
IMHO AAP is already a winner, even before winning a single Loksabha seat, they already forced the change. They made
- political platforms a viable option
- people realize that politics is their responsibility and requires their active participation. Hopefully this realization stays after the elections and will be put to good use in working with the government to keep the government in check and hold them accountable
- politicians work harder for what otherwise could have been a walk in the park
But wait, they are still immature – they will be they are just 8 months old. Let’s help them get mature
But they don’t have a strong vision – that’s still a work in progress and can get better with time and experience. But even with all the experience behind them the current politicians or the governments couldn’t solve some of the very basic needs of the people.
But politics is not black and white, there are gray shades: very true but there is nothing wrong in rejecting what is absolutely wrong. So let them figure out and learn from it. Why kill it before it can grow to its full potential?
But they are giving out freebies: We need to raise our concerns anytime we see any political party dishing out policies/promises that are unrealistic. For e.g. AAP’s water policy came under heavy criticism – here is some analysis proving that this was self sustaining and it was not a burden on the government. But lets not look everything under the same microscope, but if you look at the annual budget, there is a section called – revenue forgone.
This is to the tune of 50,000 crores which is given as either corporate subsidies, tax benefits, Special Economic Zone etc (http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2013-14/statrevfor/annex12.pdf). So lets spend some time before jumping to conclusions and avoid generalizations.
In the last 8 months, they did what no other party could do in all these years
- Make political platform more accessible for the common man: never before have we seen journalists, activists, bureaucrats, women join politics. The bad can be kept out of politics if only more good people enter politics
- Make political funding more transparent: the single largest reason why political corruption exists is because of the amount of money spent into winning elections. If this is made transparent, then the chances of spending illegal money will be greatly reduced
- Make anti-corruption an election agenda: Never before did corruption feature in any election manifesto, high time this becomes the talk of the town.
- Make politics more accountable: regular performance reviews of the political candidates is the first important step. How this can be measured can still be discussed and debated but it’s at least in the right direction
- Make ordinary citizens part of the political process: Never before any political party has seen a selfless contribution from citizens at such a large scale. This kind of support doesn’t come from free and this will in turn make AAP more accountable to its supporters and volunteers.
Where AAP could do better.
- Political parties must come under RTI: while aap has declared its intent to come under RTI it still hasn’t appointed it’s PIO.
- More transparency into policy making : AAP’s Agricultural policy is a very good example on how policy could be made more inclusive. More transparency, more discussions and more debates around its policy’s (on reservation, foreign policy, economy etc) , it’s ideologies is the need of the hour.
- Need to be more accessible: AAP demonstrated how technology can be used to solve peoples day to day issues (Aap leaders using twitter to respond and react to issues), it also needs to make this an absolute critical element of its functioning
- Internal democracy: This is very important because without a strong party structure and democracy there is no guarantee that AAP doesn’t become just like another party and that it won’t give in to the corrupt and the irresponsible taking over the reins of the party
I can speak as someone who volunteered with AAP during the campaign:
Met hundreds of volunteers who worked selflessly to help with the campaign efforts. And no AAP is not about Arvind Kejriwal, it’s also about the soni sori’s, the dayamani’s, the medha tai’s, the sane’s, the vissa’s, the dhingra’s and the four hundred other candidates.
Knowing fully that each one of them is up against some very strong opposition, the volunteers engaged in helping their campaign, to spread the word, help the cause and take their fight forward, this time leveraging the political platform that aap created. They spent countless hours, money, effort and all without expecting any personal favors.
AAP is a work in progress and it will always be. But if it can sustain and grow within the next 5 years, then AAP will be the force to reckon.