Six things the AAP got right

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 02:22 hrs

1. Giving people a choice:

The Indian middle class usually stayed away from politics: With their own valid reasons. A lot of people don't want to join the Congress because they don't believe in bowing down to the dynasty. They don't want to join the BJP either because they don't share the ideology of the RSS.

Now here's a Third Front which is neither of the two. That is why you are seeing a lot of middle class people signing up to be AAP members. Of course a lot of khaas aadmis are also joining like top businessmen along with activists and communists. It will be interesting to see how this clash of ideologies will play out in the next couple of years!

Already Prashant Bhushan is standing out with his comments while a war of words has broken out between Mallika Sarabhai and Kumar Vishwas. The AAP National Policy is in fact like a Free and Open Source Software which even party chief Arvind Kejriwal himself won't be able to control and which we
all are curious to see will look like a few years from now.

It should be an interesting experiment to observe.

2. Changing the debate:

Indian politics used to be dominated by caste, religion and many other irrelevant issues. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi shifted the focus to governance and development.

AAP has taken that debate even further and put the aam aadmi into focus. Now both the Congress and BJP are even more interested on what the common man has to say. The common citizen was already getting his voice heard due to social media and street protests and the AAP has taken this forward.

3. Taking on giants:

Kejriwal did an excellent thing in taking on former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit directly and defeating her in the Assembly polls. Now Kumar Vishwas is planning to do the same with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.

While there is some amount of drama involved and Vishwas may likely lose, it is a welcome step all the same. Many top leaders get a free run in their Lok Sabha elections and some Opposition parties even field weak candidates on purpose.

There are reports emerging that Rahul is contemplating contesting from Chikkaballapur in Karnataka showing that the Congress may indeed be rattled.

4. Corruption helpline:

A corruption helpline may not be a silver bullet to end corruption, but it is a beginning all the same. Reports have emerged that some cops were suspended after complaints were received.

Earlier also and Jal Board officials were transferred while Kejriwal has been pushing hard for an audit for power companies. The AAP has been elected on an anti-corruption plank and this is an extremely small first step.

If they don't deliver results by the time of the Lok Sabha polls in the coming months, then the voters could be quite disillusioned.

5. Election funding:

No-one thought that a relatively new party could raise so many funds in such a short time. But the Rs 20 crore plus kitty for the Delhi Assembly polls are quite commendable.

Reports say that the AAP is targeting 1 crore members and total contributions of Rs 100 crore for the Lok Sabha polls. If most of the contributions come from the middle class, then this would be an extremely big achievement indeed.

6. The little things:

While the Centre and courts are locked in a tussle for the reduction of red lights for politicians' cars, the AAP ministers opting for no red lights is a great move though they will have to move beyond mere tokenism.

There are also other things like using abandoned buses as night shelters and Citizen Security Forces. The AAP will have to come out with a lot of out of the box ideas and a few may stick.

Parting shots...

Some of the things that are being touted as AAP achievements are in fact not so.

The free water scheme will not help those without water taps. Plus larger families with higher water usage may end up spending more. The same is with the power subsidy where high-end consumers will have to pay more.

Finally someone will have to pay the cost of someone else getting something for free and subsidies may end up with more taxes and inflation and mean bad economics.

Even the Janata Darbar is not a unique idea and many CMs follow similar schemes with more effective results.

Read More by the Author:

AAP and the Communist Revolution of 2014!

Is Kejriwal Modi's best friend?

8 reasons why the AAP is now An Aam Party

Seven myths about AAP's Lok Sabha chances

Voila! AAP is exactly like all other parties!

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