It was the night of December 8th, 2013. I was sitting with my friend in a computer lab on a land far away from India in Texas, USA. We should have been studying for an exam but instead our eyes were glued on various news channels and social media outlets to track the performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi elections. Our smiles grew at the announcement of every seat won and by 5am, when we went to sleep, AAP had won 28 seats. It was a remarkable debut but not enough. AAP could not form the government. Arvind could not become the CM. Or so we thought.
What has followed in the next three months is high octane politics. AAP has run the Delhi government for 49 days under intense media and public scrutiny but have not succumbed to the immense pressure. To the contrary, they have taken the opportunity to spread across India and provide an alternate to the people. The critics say that AAP should have focused on Delhi to provide proof of their ability to govern before indulging in the all India Lok Sabha elections. Perhaps they were hoping that AAP would remain a Delhi-based party and make no impact across India. They were wrong. Just like they were in 2012 when they wrote off AAP and said it would have very little impact in Delhi.
Then there are others who say Arvind Kejriwal was looking for an opportunity to run away since the day he formed the government. According to these people Arvind is a psychic and can predict the future. Their story goes like this – Arvind Kejriwal aspired to become PM of the country way back in 2011, if not earlier. He found a respectable old man in Anna Hazare and created his Gandhi like image to gain popularity across India. He made Anna sit on a fast and then sat on a fast himself. He knew the government would never pass the Jan Lokpal bill and the movement would start fizzling out. He knew he would be able to take the excuse of the non-passage of the Jan Lokpal bill to form a party and break his alliance with Anna Hazare. He knew that he would be able to form the government despite getting only 28 seats. He knew BJP and Congress would not let him make any headway in the introduction of the Delhi Jan Lokpal bill. He knew he would get enough traction with the media and across India to become a challenger to Modi. He knew it all on day one. Ha!
On a more serious note, Arvind Kejriwal does seem to be writing his own scripts. In two years time he has transformed from being just another activist to becoming one of the country’s biggest political leaders. Mr. Shinde says that Arvind is mad. Yes, he is mad. No sane political leader would ever go into the lion’s den and allege him of all sorts of misconducts. Arvind is angry and he is in a hurry. Even his colleagues admit to that. But this is not about him. It never was.
This is a fight which the people of India need to fight to shake up the status quo. Arvind is just a means and a face to challenge the establishment. As Kumar Vishwas, in a recent interview very rightly puts it, “Arvind Kejriwal is that filter which can clean up the Ganghotri of Indian politics….wherever that filter is inserted, we can hope to see clean politics.” Arvind himself has repeated numerous times that he can not change this country. The people of the country need to come together to make this work. Yogendra Yadav often says that if you are happy with the current parties then do not vote for us. The AAP is for those who want to see a change.
The purpose of AAP is to provide a common platform to the Medha Patkars and Meera Sanyals of our country, so that they can work together to take India forward. It is the platform where the grandsons of Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Bhagat Singh, take part in the second revolution of India. It is the platform where a Rakhi Birla can become a known name in Indian politics within a few months. It is the platform which brings together rightists, leftists, journalists, ex-IAS/IPS officers, khaas aadmis and aam aadmis, with no common ideology but just the goal of cleaning up Indian politics.
The Aam Aadmi Party aims for an ideal scenario in which the country is governed by a corruption free parliament, which has no room for criminals and dynastic leaders. It aims for an India in which every individual can have its say in the local issues through devolution of power (aka Swaraj). It aims for an India with a high GDP but at the same time ensuring that the last man is not left behind. It aims for an India where politics is not regarded as a dirty profession but a noble one. Basically, AAP aims for the ideal India which we all dream of. Achieving this ideal India may not be possible in the foreseeable future; compromises will have to be made. But AAP is starting to change the vocabulary of Indian politics. Either the other parties will have to follow suit or else they will have to bear the electoral consequences in the coming years.
The strength of the Aam Aadmi Party is in the volunteer who spends 16 hours a day on a door to door campaign. The volunteer is not getting paid but he realizes that Arvind Kejriwal alone cannot change India. Just as I am writing this blog, Mr. Parishad, who sells balloons on streets has donated Rs. 10,000 to AAP, Pune. He realizes that Arvind Kejriwal alone cannot change India.
Arvind Kejriwal has provided us with a platform. It is time for us to join in and bring the change we want to see. Volunteer. Campaign. Donate. Critique. Arvind needs as much help as possible.
It’s our fight, just as much as his.
By Vishal Anand