Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Today, AAP (Aam Admi Party, so named after common man) released its manifesto. I read the salient features of the same. Nostalgia took me to my school days, when I was studying history subject, with much contempt. Is this any different from "Ashoka planted trees on both sides of the roads"? Any man with a brain would have asked "How can any one plant trees?" Once seeds are sown and watered, they grow into plants and if they are rightly protected they grow into trees. Is it not?

When I read that, the party formed for the cause of the Aam Admi, fighting the battle of ballot with billionaire candidates, said it would reduce the electricity tariff by 50%, without going into the nuances of the whole exercise, I wondered whether they were planning at directly planting trees. All other promises sounded in the same vein. 

This took me back to the day I had a tiff with a family member about the real intentions of Mr. Aravind Kejriwal. That day it was a Press Conference conducted by the inimitable AK flanked on one side by Mr. Prashanth Bhushan, the noted lawyer and on the other,Mrs. Anjali Damania from Maharashtra. Both me and my relation had high regard about the honesty of Mr. AK. The issue that day was the "Purti Group of Companies" led by Mr. Nitin Gadkari. After hearing the lame submission of the leader and the triumphant Damania's face, I made a comment that this group was only trying to score points to gain popularity and a personal issue of one of their members was being sought to be made a national issue. BJP, not being as thick skinned as Congress in these affairs, asked Nitin Gadkari to lie low after a sustained vilification campaign led by Media. My relation objected and said I was a sceptic and should appreciate that AK was doing something to improve the system. That day I told him, "This man is real ambitious and his true colours will be known soon." I don't think, my family member still holds the same high opinion about Mr. AK, as our whole family now wish BJP wins everywhere.

So AK branded the whole political system corrupt and joined the same political system ostensibly to fight it from within. I remembered a fairy tale my mother was telling. A person prayed to God that the whole world be annihilated in an Apocalypse, so that he could rule the world without any interruption. The God asked, "Whom would you rule?" In a system where all political elements are corrupt, Mr.AK floated a party and against saner advice decided to contest Delhi Assembly elections almost immediately. He wanted 69 candidates other than the "only honest" himself. He had to draw most of them from the same "corrupt" political system. So, it turned out that besides himself, eight others of the eighteen declared as candidates to fight elections were Billionaires. That closes the subject there.

Then, AK himself is reportedly facing nine criminal cases. Most of these are for "civil disobedience". This included non payment of electricity bills and reconnecting the disconnected power supply lines. Both are criminal acts as per the law of the land. He might argue that he was protesting the high power bills. Though it is a distant dream, if he is elected as CM of Delhi and  citizens like him feel the pinch about exorbitant train fares and pull the chains of all Metro trains everyday or travel without tickets and defy the law of the land what would be his reaction? Will he not say it is not in his hands as train fares are under Union Railway Ministry? Even then, if the citizens demand the State Government subsidize the train fares, will he be able to do it? So too,  power, water and transport charges, though under State Government, are subject to many inter related issues. Costs increase due to many factors, though corruption too contributes. None is a "fairy tale prince" to save the princess held hostage in a tower. This is only one example. Lawlessness, an example of which he has himself set for the citizens, may crop up anywhere in any form. How will he tackle? Will the voters who vote him today not show fingers at him? 

Dr,. Johnson said rhetorically, "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel." He elaborated that under the guise of patriotism rabble is roused against the State by self-interest groups to promote lawlessness. Let us hope it will not happen.

Then, the issue of funding came up. There were complaints of funding from foreign sources and Union Home Ministry was asked by the Court to investigate. As the matter is monitored by court we are always confident the truth will come out. In the same breath, we should welcome investigation into the funding of other parties too. But the core issue is the direct castigation of AAP by Anna Hazare that the funds collected by IAC were used by AAP wrongfully. The response was meek and muted. It was denied outright. But Anna followers and Anna himself seem to be sure about their allegation. Let us suppose the allegation was wrong. Even then,is it not in the best interests of polity that AK resign as Party President just as Gadkari did not seek second term pending enquiry? Denial is what all politicians do. Then, where does he stand as different from others?

It is most interesting to see Mr. Kejriwal brazenly lying on CNN/IBN Q&A session that EC gave clean chit to them in the CD controversy and in fact, called it a "political conspiracy". On one hand EC gave clarification that it did not view the CD and it is layman's knowledge that EC won't make such comments. And this man aspires to lead the Capital of the nation! And in the Q&A session, his poor knowledge of administrative and legal issues came out openly. One hopes that he is not given a chance at the hustings and make one more Chirnjeevi, who merged his party in Congress, out of him.

Mahatma Gandhi fought the system of governance of the British. He used his political and religious beliefs as accessories in the fight. He never aspired for positions of power, as he knew power corrupts. He called civil disobedience as a last resort. That was against the rulers from an alien country. He stood his ground when charged with 'sedition' and spent many years in jail. He did not "deny" when he was wrong. That made him "Mahatma".