This was an article written by my husband Prof N Natarajan in April 2014..foresight you can call it!
There is an old story which grandmothers told their grand children in the good old days. One version of the story goes like this. A magnificent white horse was spotted far away. Even at that distance it impressed spectators with its elegant gait. Everyone thought it was from the royal stable. The crowd of admirers grew larger and they longed to see its beauty at close quarters. They tried to excel one another in describing its beauty and majestic trot.
As it came closer and closer, its elegance and attractiveness began to diminish. Even its ivory colour now seemed to fade into a pale gray. Disappointment writ large on their faces, the spectators decided to suspend their judgement till it came right up to them. As the horse trotted close enough for the crowds to see it at close quarters, the expectations and thrill had all but vanished. Then, to the horror of the crowds, the animal began to sing and its music was unbearable as it was braying in its inimitable voice. The entire crowd of admirers now pulled their hair in frustration. The creature was after all only a donkey!
Unfortunately the story of Aam Admi Party threatens to end like grandma’s story. Initially, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal had stood by their principles. Anna’s age and Arvind’s agility drew vast crowds in Delhi. They just wanted to fight corruption and they professed to have no political ambitions. Then the ruling government and its supporting parties scored a self goal. They heckled Anna and AK saying that they had no right to speak on behalf of the people and challenged them to get elected to parliament and raise issues.
At that time the Anna movement split. Anna refused to rise to the bait and went back to his village. The more sophisticated Arvind Kejriwal defected and picked up the gauntlet and formed AAP. ‘AAP is different’, he claimed. “It was the common person’s party”. It was not his aim to capture political power. He merely wanted to fight corruption and bring into force the Jan Lokpal.
Then came the Delhi state elections. AK and his band of AAP won 28 out of 70 seats. BJP had more seats but no absolute majority. Arvind said AAP would sit in the Opposition. He was goaded to form the government by the Congress Party’s unilateral support. After initially demonstrating his reluctance, he formed the Government. To mix metaphors, AAP Government was formed without any ‘horse trading’. At that time, the distant horse-the AAP animal-began to look less and less like a horse and more and more like something else. His party men and women ran amuck. Even though he was the CM, he wilfully sat in Dharna and cited the precedent of eight earlier Dharnas undertaken by other CMs. Like any other CM, AK immediately fell into the mould of a political CM and went overboard with continual freebies of water and concessional electricity even to the undeserving to demonstrate his lightning performance. In short he ceased to be ‘different’.
Since then there has been a sea change in AAP’s appearance and voice. Having joined politics, Arvind is now a complete politician, warts and all. His party too has desertions and corrupt members. Fresh rich entrants and their money are more than welcome. Old faithful are dispensable. A dinner party @ Rs. 20000 per plate was arranged in Bangalore to collect funds. AK has conveniently forgotten his basic objective. Like every other ‘polutician’, he likes to be a true Neta. Corruption is no more his prime agenda although sloganeering on corruption is. The aim is to cash in on goodwill to win as many Lok Sabha seats as possible. He is prepared to mouth any populist slogan to win votes. Aam Admi has vanished from his radar. He resorts to communal gimmicks like his dip in the sacred Ganga, the studied pause in his speeches during the prayer time of Muslims and his support to the Khap Panchayats in Haryana! This is nothing but the familiar vote bank politics practiced by other parties.
AK has lost sight of his raison de etré and has begun to blindly attack every opponent, no matter what their plusses are. He had to show off his importance and indispensability by taking an Executive jet from Jaipur to Delhi at the expense (Rs70 lakhs!) of a mega media house and publicize it. Gandhian Arvind is now a Rahul clone Gandhian! One fleeting visit to Gujarat and he is convinced that it is one of the most backward states of India and that contrary to every international and national report, he shouts from the rooftops that there is no development in Gujarat. Why worry about truth at a time when every vote is paramount!
It shows that Anna and Amitabh Bachchan were perhaps right. Politics is indeed a cesspool and every one entering it smelling of roses, re-emerges sprayed with the unbearable stench, odour and colour of current Indian politics. One only hopes that after the elections are over Arvind Kejriwal will take another dip in the Ganga to make a leisurely self appraisal and emerge as the self-declared saviour of the ‘aam aadmi’.
AAP has ceased to be Aam Aadmi Party. It is now only JAP, or Just Another Party!
Prof N Natarajan