Dharnas to anarchy: AAP's gifts to Delhi

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 13:11 hrs

1. Populism: Many states have embarked on populist schemes to garner votes and this was taken to a totally different level by Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the Centre. New Delhi was generally a State insulated from all this.

But now AAP has brought populism to the State in a big way. Power and water tariffs were reduced without absolutely any power and water reforms. 500 new government schools were promised without any school reforms.

90% Delhi residents’ reservation was promised for Delhi schools. Even the current dharna under way was a result of letters written by residents about drug and prostitution problems and not after presentation of strong evidence and proper procedure being followed.

2. Communism:
Communism was brought to USSR in 1917, to China in 1949, to Kerala in 1957 and to West Bengal in 1977. Wherever it has gone it has applied brakes on development and led to other problems.

Now AAP has brought it to Delhi in 2014. Their manifesto is a communist manifesto and what is being attempted now in New Delhi is somewhat like a communist revolution.

3. Vigilantism:
There is no shortage of goonda parties in India which play vigilantes and try to bring in their own brand of street justice. The latest to join the club is AAP. Some time back came reports that AAP members were visiting hospitals trying to enforce their brand of discipline.

But the act of molesting Ugandan women, showering them with racist abuses and allegations and forcing them to take a drug test was unprecedented. It was a human rights violation and an insult to women all over the world.

4. Dharnas:
Once India used to be dominated by dharnas and bandhs which led to meaningless violence and a loss of man hours and productivity. But slowly they have been on a decline as people have got wiser.

But when a ruling government is bent on bringing all that back with a bang in a State then one can only pity the poor citizens. It is clear that with the path being taken, governance has taken a huge nosedive in Delhi and will take quite some time to come back.

5. Politics of subterfuge:
AAP seems to have borrowed from the worst of all parties. After taking a Leftist path, Yogendra Yadav grandly declares that they are not bound by an ideology: A hypocrite to boot.

When Congressman Vinod Kumar Binny joins the AAP and rubbishes the AAP, Yadav alleges a BJP conspiracy!

When Law Minister Somnath Bharti was found to have been pulled up by the court, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said the court was wrong. When Bharti asked the police to do illegal acts and a mob violated human rights of Ugandan nationals, Kejriwal backed Bharti and asked for action taken against those police officials.

When the Centre agreed to look into the matter, Kejriwal decided not to wait but go on a dharna.

When Prashant Bhushan talked of a referendum in Kashmir, Kejriwal distanced himself from it instead of rebuking him.

In all interviews and press conferences AAP politicians have proved themselves to be just as arrogant and just as bad in denying all allegations and defending the wrongdoers in the party.

Their penchant for television and press conferences is suspect. It is no wonder that a popular Tweet talked of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi having vision, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi having illusion and Kejriwal having television.

6. Anarchy: All the above factors are a recipe for anarchy and the distressing part is that Kejriwal has accepted on live TV that he is an anarchist. India is a developing country and still has a host of problems.

Will Kejriwal and the AAP go on a dharna to sort each and every one of these issues? There is no end to this and the AAP is setting a very dangerous precedent. While political parties do hold bandhs, dharnas and protests, a Chief Minister behaving like this in his own State is unprecedented.

Post script…

The 2011 August Kranti agitation had a very specific target of passing the Lokpal Bill and that eventually happened in 2013.

The 2012 Delhi anti-gang rape agitation was also specific in nature and even that led to the Justice Verma Committee and very specific laws being framed.

What this current AAP dharna is going to achieve is anybody’s guess. Even in the unlikely event of the Delhi Police coming under the State government, the AAP has not shown any convincing ideas, administrative skills or governance models to suggest that they will handle the police better and bring down crime.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.