Has Aam Aadmi Party derailed Aam Aadmi?

    By Mohammed Sharique Anwar,

    The miraculous success of AAP (Aam Aadmi Party – Common People’s Party) in the Assembly Election 2013 in Delhi has sent a wave of shock to the sympathisers, party activists and leaders of the Congress and the BJP across the nation. What happened on December 08, 2013 in New Delhi was a historic and never-before event. It was an eye-opener for Indian media as well as Indian political analysts.

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    While on the one hand, it thwarted the tall claim of the BJP that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader, while one the other hand, it belittled the speculation of the ruling Congress party that UPA – 3 will emerge under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

    The Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal proved that change is the name of the game and political battle can be won in the name of fighting social evils like corruption, rape, scams etc. His team was successful in observing the public opinion. It successfully tapped into the despair, disgruntlement and resentment of the common people of Delhi. The political pundits and celebrities began supporting AAP overtly or covertly.

    Kejriwal became the darling of the press. On the whole, it was a dream-like event for AAP. The flip side of the story was (still is) the huge expectation of the common people from Aam Aadmi Party. It was a tough assignment, really tough to unshackle the old and deep rooted practice of 6 decades. My question is – Has Mr Kejriwal failed to deliver as expected?

    There is no denying that Kejriwal, an alumnus of IIT – Kharagpur and a former IRS Officer is an honest, hard-working and brilliant man who wants to work for the betterment of the common people. He abandoned a high profile career to join politics. Although his intention appears to be pure, he is bound to make some mistakes as politics is a new battle-ground for him and most of his party workers.

    After taking the oath from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung at the historic Ram Leela Ground in New Delhi, he pledged good governance and supremacy of law and order in Delhi. His main goal was to punish the corrupt government officials from top to bottom. He promised free water and subsidized electricity to the common people of Delhi. He promised to bring about a sea-change in the politics of city-state. He also stressed on the equality among people and advocated for brotherhood. While addressing the crowd after the oath he sang a popular song of the Hind Film “PAIGHAM” starring tragedy king Dileep Kumar–

    Insaan ka Insaan Se Ho Bhaichaara!
    Yahi Paigham Hamara, Yahi Paigham Hamara!!
    Nae Jagat Me Hua Purana Oonch Nich Ka Qissa!
    Sabko Mile Mehnat Ke Mutabiq Apna Apna Hissa!!
    Sabke Lie Sukh Ka Brabar Ho Bantwara!!
    Yahi Paigham Hamara, Yahi Paigham Hamara!!

    (There should be brotherhood amongst human beings,
    This Is Our Message, This Is Our Message!!
    In New World, the tales of Rich and Poor Is Old,
    All Should Have The Share Of Profit As Per their Efforts!!
    There Should Be Equal Distribution of Happiness amongst All,
    This Is Our Message, This Is Our Message!!)

    This heart-touching song was so appealing that he was being considered to be the Messiah of poor, desperate and down-trodden people. The message was so simple, effective and incisive that the entire country began to look up to him as a beacon of hope amongst the corrupt politicians. His political profile as an ordinary man drew huge mass base and support. In a very short period, he achieved what other politicians can only dream of in terms of expanding political base. His fan-following grew from strong to stronger. There was a time post assembly election in 2013 in Delhi that he was the most searched person on google leaving the US president Mr Obama to the second spot. As a non-resident Indian based in Dubai, I was amazed to see his growing stature in the Indian political firmament.

    In order to fulfil the promises he made before the Assembly elections, he started implementing his political agenda of providing free litre water up to 667 for a family. Not only that, he also subsidized the electricity as per his party manifesto. It resulted into the reduction of 50 per cent of electricity bill. The common people had a relief of sigh because the cost of living is sky-rocketing in India with each passing day. These moves were, however, criticized by his political opponents by stating that it would not only embezzle the funds but also empty out the treasury. He was also blamed to be a populist who is doing all in a hurry to gain political dividends in the upcoming Parliamentary election in 2014.

    With all his achievements, Mr. Kejriwal failed to keep his legislators united. He didn’t even finish 20 days that his own party member and a seating MLA Vinod Kumar Binny revolted. He blamed Kejriwal for fooling the innocent people of Delhi in the name of subsidy and free water. In the same breathe, Binny was vocal that he would protest against Kejriwal and his team in the same Ram Leela Ground if the election manifesto was not implemented as promised. He held a press-conference questioning Kejriwal’s honesty and dignity.

    The dust didn’t settle here. The law minister Somnath Bharti kicked up a new controversy. He went to his constituency Khirki Extension in South Delhi on a tip-off that drug-trafficking and sex-racket is being run by the Ugandans and Nigerians. He ordered the Delhi police to catch the culprits red-handed but to no avail.

    Rather, Bharti was warned by the police not to disrupt the law and order. He and his supporters had an altercation with the police team in the midnight when the police team cited the reason of illegality to arrest a woman between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM. There was a huge hue and cry created against Bharti by his political adversaries because of his comment – Ye Log Hamlogon Ki Tarah Nahin Hain (These people are not like us).

    This objectionable comment was against the black people of Uganda and Nigeria. There is no denying that some Nigerian or Ugandan nationals might be involved in an illegal business. However; Bharti had no right to paint all the Africans with the same brush. One is not wrong in the assertion that almost all the illegal business prospers with the help of police. This demoralised and forced Kejriwal to sit on dharna outside the Rail Bhavan against Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde because the Delhi police department falls under Union Home Ministry.

    Kejriwal was absolutely right in his protest for allocating the responsibility of police. To a large extent, it will help the government of the day to nab the culprits and expose the dubious role of the police. He sat on agitation while demanding the suspension or removal of the said police officers who failed to discharge their duties. He and his supporters called off the agitation once Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung sent the said police officers on leave until the inquiry of dereliction of duty is not completed.

    One of the most famous leaders of AAP Dr. Kumar Vishwas apologized to the Muslims community for his unsavoury remark against Late Imam Hussain, the grand-son of the prophet Mohammed who was martyred by Yazeed in Karbala, Iraq. Controversy after controversy left the common people of the country in a tizzy.

    Of late, a huge controversy erupted when AAP’s leader Prashant Bhushan, noted lawyer of the Supreme Court of India; questioned the deployment of Indian army in Kashmir. He personally suggested the Union government for army pull-out as it flies in the face of Kashmiri people. The BJP and the Congress started questioning his patriotism ideological denomination. Even the rightist and centrist media slammed Bhushan’s statement as anti-national which is dangerous to the unity and integrity. Almost all the parties started playing the national and communal card.

    As the parliament election is around the corner, AAP should work on good governance, development and safety and not on agitation and protests. Holding protest or agitation before the Parliamentary Election will be suicidal for AAP. It will only strengthen his political adversaries. After all democracy is for the people, of the people, by the people. The strength of democracy is the power of common people. There is a lot to be done irrespective of the fact that AAP has so far done far better than the governments of Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh after coming to power in December 2013.The count-down has begun and Aam Aadmi (common people) is watching across India.

    I hope AAP will take a stock of the situation and introspect what is going wrong after a stupendous political debut. Thomas A. Edison has rightly said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

    (Mohammed Sharique Anwar is currently working in Dubai in a multinational company.)