Sunday, February 16, 2014

Indian Democracy and AAP

AAP declared the first potion of their Lok Sabha list - Medha Patkar from North East Mumbai competing against her nemesis Sharad Pawar's candidate. Her colleague from Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) Alok Agarwal contesting from Khandwa in MP....Holly Cow! 

Way back in my student days I kept asking NBA folks why not contest elections? I suppose I was too impolite to ask those questions then....did not get any satisfactory answer. What left an impression though in my mind then is NBA folks (kind of adherents of some kind of Neo-Socialism, equivalent of German Greens in Indian Polity) did not trust the 'political process' and unfortunately Medha was caught up in 'jal samarpan' and all that. The thing is NBA as an insurgent / resistance movement was trying to find an appropriate political instrumentality to make the change. NBA was struggling to find and fuse a political mechanism from array of choices like Che Guevara's call to arms to Gandhi's non-violence movement and satyagraha. Let me be clear - at no point NBA gave any inkling of any violent mechanism to achieve the change. To their credit that was never on the table. However, NBA still did not find 'electoral political process' as any useful and it kept undertaking its resistance through different means and legal actions (which I support since that implicitly trust our constitution)

Lot of water has flown in Narmada since then. Probably Medha Patkar is much 'fuller leader' capable of pulling some significant changes. If AAP is that single reason to bring folks like Patkar, Agarwal and many other marquee candidates (like scientists, engineers, etc.) to the political process and establish their trust and participation in India's electoral process; that will be a colossal contribution from Arvind Kejriwal and AAP.

I did not find much merit in the way Arvind Kejriwal resigned as CM of Delhi. The same streak of ultra-high righteous tone, willingness to 'trash' governance apparatus, 'my way or high-way' approach to politics and overall loss of understanding what is significant immediately to solve common people's problems here and now (how in the world Jan Lokpal going to solve issues when administrative transparency and enforcement of existing laws are primary requirements to root out corruption?); all those are glaring faults in my books which Kejriwal and AAP are displaying. Resigning from Dehli CM post on the first opportunity could be a good politics, but enough people are concerned here. Still if AAP is able to bring this capable, honest and deserving lot of Indians to Loksabha; it will be a sea change. Will it stop 'pepper spray' in Loksabha as we saw recently? I don't know, but having good MPs is far better for Indians. It will be a lifetime's worth to see Medha Patkar as a shadow Environment Minister grilling PM Narendra Modi - her old time original political opponent; all in the sovereign India's ultimate political body representing mandate of a Billion Plus humanity on this Earth; oh my God, that will be a scene to watch. I would say at that point Indian Democracy would have prevailed - bringing most natural and potent forces of change in the society coming face to face via constitutional and legitimate electoral process. Looks like some 'golden days' are possibly ahead of Indian Democracy.

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