The Aam Aadmi Party movement came like a breath of fresh air in the Indian political scene. Even the Indian media has been going gaga over it. However with each passing day, it will be judged more and more like any other political party.
Here are some reasons why the AAP has already become An Aam Party…
1. Opportunism, about turns and hypocrisy: Arvind Kejriwal had said umpteen times in the past that he would not under any circumstances form a government with the support of either the Congress or the BJP. He had even sworn by his children that he would not do so.
However he did exactly that and fuelled barbs that he was nothing but a B-team of the Congress. Before coming to power Kejriwal kept boasting that he had proof against former Congress CM Sheila Dikshit. But on being sworn in he told BJP Opposition leader Dr Harsh Vardhan that the latter should send proof against Dikshit if he had any!
On the issue of corruption, nothing can beat the UPA mega scams, then why is Kejriwal seen attacking the BJP more on that issue? Now he will find it even more difficult to attack the Congress.
Kejriwal kept talking of wanting candidates who didn’t want official bungalows and cars. The entire AAP team came in autos and the metro. But soon Kejriwal was seen readying to shift into a huge house and his team came in Innovas.
Make no mistake. They are entitled for all that. But they themselves were shunning it in the past and their suddenly embracing it smacks of hypocrisy.
2. Freebies, subsidies and quotas: All parties love freebies and subsidies to endear them to the masses and fetch votes. Usually governments affect the same and distribute them towards the end of their term.
The AAP changed the script and did this at the beginning. Fingers are being pointed that this was because they were eyeing the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Yogendra Yadav has also talked of more caste-based quotas much like most caste obsessed parties.
3. Pseudo secularism: In 2008, Operation Batla House was an operation against the Indian Mujahideen which claimed the life of a Delhi Police inspector and two suspects. The conspiracy theory master and foot in the mouth specialist Digvijay Singh claimed that the encounter was a fake one.
Digvijay keeps shooting his mouth and never even shows an iota of evidence for his tall claims and has been in the past even been told to apologize by the courts. It is very dangerous to be seen in agreement with him and that’s exactly what Kejriwal did questioning the encounter too.
Kejriwal also sought support from Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the same man who issued a fatwa against persecuted writer Taslima Nasreen. All this is making a lot of people ask: What is the difference between the Congress and AAP brand of pseudo secularism?
4. Pandering to the Left: Usually parties try to present a utopia in their election manifestoes and fall short when they rule. One would have expected a middle class down to earth party to come out with a practical manifesto, but the AAP believes in super utopia.
Anyone can promise free electricity and water. While subsidies are bringing the economy down and there is talk of reducing them, the AAP wants to increase them!
If the AAP Communist Manifesto was implemented in toto, then we’d resemble a communist state and the economy would collapse. If you can’t even get it right in theory, then how will you get it right in the practical world?
All the parties (save the BJP) try to pander themselves to the Leftist establishment of India and the AAP is no different on that count.
5. Name calling: Kejriwal called Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi corrupt even though that is one allegation that refuses to stick against him. He claimed that the BJP would poach AAP members saying “unki besharmi pe bharosa rakho” (have faith in their shamelessness).
Interestingly Dr Harsh Vardhan maintained that the BJP wouldn’t form the government and that’s exactly what he told the Lt-Governor. There have been absolutely no credible reports of poaching but only AAP claims.
Ironically the BJP did not take the support of rebel AAP MLAs to form the government, but the AAP itself took support of the Congress!
In fact earlier, what was the purpose of writing a letter to the BJP with umpteen utopian points seeking assurance? Which Opposition in the world gives assurances to any ruling government? The Republicans try to block Democrat Barack Obama’s every move. Tory leader David Cameron can be stymied by Labour at every turn.
MTV Roadies host Raghu Ram used foul language while campaigning for AAP even as Shazia Ilmi laughed approvingly. Kumar Vishwas called everyone who accepted the current Lokpal Bill a “gaddaar” (traitor).
Not only did he paint millions of Indians with one black stroke, but he has used the name at Anna Hazare too! The truth is that the AAP is just like any other name calling party.
6. Public spats: The Congress was plagued with intense infighting from the Nehru to the Rajiv years and when the BJP came it was touted as a party with a difference, but they had many differences and many top leaders fought their way to the party’s decline.
Whether you like it or not, Anna is the inspiration and force behind the AAP. Had there been no Anna, there may have been no AAP. They piggybacked on Anna and then dumped him.
Kejriwal taking on Anna the way he is did or Anna publicly rebuking AAP member Gopal Rai and telling him to leave a meet Ralegan Siddhi was quite ugly. Former friend and colleague Kiran Bedi also seems quite upset.
Earlier we had the ink throwing spectacle at an AAP press conference. At first the protestor was tried to pass off as a BJP member but later it was revealed that he was closely associated to the Anna movement. Subsequently in a Tweet when asked who she would choose between Kejriwal and Modi, Bedi chose the latter.
But the most damage is being done by Prashant Bhushan who continues with his damaging remarks on Kashmir even though the rest of the party is trying to distance itself from that splitting the party right down to the middle.
Here is another party with “differences”!
7. Social media: This is an indication of future trends. They captured the Modi and Anna waves quite early on and the mainstream media caught on later. That way jokes and memes against the AAP and Kejriwal have already started becoming popular. (Like there was one with a hand holding a broom and another where there was a morphed photo of Kejriwal and former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit in one mug shot.)
8. They are the establishment: The AAP had an easy ride during the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections when they rubbished all ruling parties and made lofty promises of their own. However when LS elections take place sometime in April, they would be judged on the basis of their 3-4 months rule and they are the establishment and not some newcomer which everyone will want to try out.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.