Why should I vote for the AAP?
-Uday Dandavate This document is an addendum to my earlier document outlining 10 most commonly expressed concerns about AAP. As the campaign picks up, I keep hearing more concerns expressed by people who want to see a positive change, and want to make a well considered decision before casting their vote. Why did Arvind Kejriwal run away from the responsibility of governing Delhi within 49 days of swearing in? The AAP did not get a mandate to govern Delhi. In fact no party got a mandate to govern. The only clear mandate Delhi voters gave was to defeat the congress party both at the state and national levels. When it became obvious that no party could form the government, the AAP took the opportunity of forming a government, just to provide a demonstration of its resolve to start meeting its election promises and to confront the most powerful people for their corrupt acts. While lending support, the congress party hoped that the AAP could be tamed (just as they did by supporting minority governments at the National level in the past). The BJP hoped that AAP could be confined to Delhi, so that Narendra Modi’s campaign could continue nationwide unhindered. What Arvind Kejriwal did was to free himself and the leadership of the AAP to campaign nationwide for the Lok Sabha elections, so that the energy and enthusiasm for the fight against corrupt establishment could be taken all over India. In doing so, AAP saved itself from being branded a regional force, at the mercy of Congress, to a national force capable of providing an alternative to the ideas being promoted by the BJP. Everyone who voted for the AAP in Delhi wanted the AAP to be an alternative political force that could confront the corrupt establishment in India. The campaign to discredit Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation as an escape from responsibilities is a deliberate attempt by the BJP to counter his growing support base in the country. People who voted for him in Delhi, need to remember that the vote was for a change in India not just in Delhi and Kejriwal is focused on disrupting the corrupt establishment that both the BJP and the Congress have become a part of. Staying confined to Delhi was not an option when the entire country is raving to bring about a massive change.
Why should I support someone who takes pride in calling himself an anarchist? The term "anarchy" refers to a society without a publicly enforced government. Used in this sense, anarchy may or may not be intended to imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society. What has escaped media attention is that there are forms of anarchy that attempt to avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society. Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj is essentially an example of anarchy without coercion, violence, force and authority. The politician-police-criminal nexus Arwind Kejriwal was protesting against is in fact the anti-people manifestation of the state Gandhi had in mind. During a recent episode of Satyamev Jayate a senior police officer exposed the ugly truth when he said “politicians use the Police as a hungry dogs to maul their opponents”. The idea of anarchy refers to the need to protect citizens from the excesses of the state. German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s description of four types of governance explains anarchy in relation to other forms of government. 1. Law and freedom without force (anarchy), 2. Law and force without freedom (despotism), 3. Force without freedom and law (barbarism), and 4. Force with freedom and law (republic). AAP’s vision of Swaraj, contrary to the media projection, DOES NOT subscribe to either despotism or barbarism. It aims at replacing the republic of India with Swaraj, where self-rule could be established without requiring the force of the government. The younger generation in India is behind the AAP because they have a different worldview. They are not indoctrinated by old ideologies, nor with top down models of governance. They have access to the Internet and have got accustomed to the Open Source model of contributing their own ideas for a larger good. Crowd sourcing has become a reliable method of finding patterns in people’s needs and aspirations, more reliable than any expert opinion. In this background the younger voters are less loyal to centralized control and delivery mechanisms and more tuned into the fuzzy space of collaboration and cocreation. Eric Schmidt, Founder of Google describes this phenomenon as “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had”. The idea of Swaraj- a non-violent form of anarchy will challenge and disrupt the power centers but will turn India into a participatory democracy. Why is the Aam Aadmi Party only criticizing Narendra Modi and not Rahul and Sonia? Is AAP a B-team of the Congress party?
Arvind Kejriwal, in his acceptance speech in Varanasi has made it very clear that his fight is against both the BJP and the Congress. The RSS rumor mill is adept at creating doubts and spreading lies about their opponents. The real reason for such rumors surfacing from time to time is- the Sangh fraternity has developed a serious concern about AAP hurting the prospects of Mr. Narendra Modi. They realize that only way Mr. Modi can become a Prime Minister of India is if the BJP and its most loyal supporters (Akali Dal and Shiv Sena) together get a full majority. They realize that in the event of a need to do build a coalition, Mr. Modi’s authoritarian and arrogant style is not going to serve the party well. Mr. Modi’s media manipulation skills do sometimes create an aura that the Modi juggernaut is going to succeed, crushing under its wheels his opponents- both from within his party and outside. However the ground realities indicate that no matter how well Mr. Modi manipulates public perception, the AAP has emerged as a thorn in his side and his own party considers AAP and not the Congress party its real challenger. To disturb the electoral calculations of the BJP, there is also the factor of 10 Crore first time voters, whose voting pattern is unpredictable and also unreliable for the BJP. The first time voters have found in Arvind Kejriwal a valiant fighter against the establishment, and a counterpoint to the aggressive style of Mr. Modi. The bottom-line is that the congress party has done enough to hurt its own prospects. AAP does not need to waste its scarce campaign resources in targeting the Congress party. The energy in the election campaign is getting polarized between the supporters of Mr. Modi and Aam Aadmi Party. Rahul Gandhi is increasingly appearing to be out of depth with the passion, rigor and confidence expected from the campaign. In this background both the BJP and the AAP realize that they need to target each other in order to capture the imagination of a vast majority of India that is looking for a massive re-set in the composition of the next Parliament. Does the AAP really have the experience and the discipline required for governance? Every election is fought on a central issue. The build up of public resentment against the Congress party is driving India to seek a fundamental disruption of the corrupt system. The desired change will not come is easily. Corruption will not be eradicated just with one election. However, the process of removing corruption will gain momentum only if we replace people who have perfected the art of working the corrupt system with those who have a history of serving people with dedication, honesty, and humility. Both the BJP and the Congress party have become a part of the corrupt system. They know how to raise money for the election from vested interests and then to pay back favors after the elections.
Narendra Modi’s style of governance is essentially authoritarian and relies heavily on the police and espionage. Some people may argue that the only way to improve India is to resort to a “Danda Raj”. However the experience of emergency days, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi saw herself as a benevolent dictator, just as Mr. Modi sees himself is not encouraging. Concentration of power at the top and exercise of the power through the police inevitably leads to use of violence by the state machinery. Additionally, the interests of the wealthy business groups, who are supporting his candidature with big money, fuel Narendra Modi’s imagination of a modern India . Mr. Modi has demonstrated that he has no regard for the interests of native population when he ruthlessly implements his grandiose schemes of development. The representatives of the National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM), who have joined the AAP campaign, have relentlessly championed ecologically sustainable development models that respect the right of native population. AAP’s concept of Swaraj, takes into account a democratic method of engaging citizens in harnessing natural resources and in building public infrastructure for the good of vast majority of Indians- not just for the wealthy and powerful few. AAP wants to integrate the ideas of common man in the government. It wants to develop new approaches to getting citizens involved in development plans that benefit local communities. Such experiments have been tried and have proved successful in many countries. It is too risky to leave India’s development in the hands of either the Congress party or the BJP. The AAP will become a watchdog in the next Parliament and will ensure that public resources are used responsibility, no matter who forms the government. AAP will bring into the political process people of ideas, integrity and commitment to public good. In due course AAP will learn from its parliamentary experience and come back to seek people’s mandate to govern during the following election. AAP needs 100 members of Parliament in the next Lok Sabha, so that it can stay alert to the design of the corrupting forces and at the same time galvanize an alternate vision for India. That is why it is important that we should focus on disrupting the corrupt system during this election and tame the arrogance of established political class. Corruption cannot be eradicated unless those who are guarding the interest of the corrupt are removed from power. We need change and we need it now. Why should we vote for the AAP when regional parties understand local issues better? With the decline of the Congress Party, national politics cannot be left to be monopolized by just one ideology-that of the BJP. The fact remains that a vast majority of India has consistently voted against the party in power. The essence
of democracy lies in a healthy debate over vision, values and programs. With the emergence of top-down, Hindu nationalist BJP as a strong force, there is a need for another party to rekindle the hopes and the imagination of young India with alternate visions of a participator democracy. The AAP is stepping into a void that is created by the discredited vision of the congress party and fragmented visions of the regional parties. Its intentions are clearly aligned with India’s craving for a corruption free society. AAP wants to create equal opportunities to everyone to pursue their imagination and progress, regardless of their religion, cast or gender. AAP is already attracting people of ideas and accomplishments who want to collaborate in developing an alternate vision for India. It will serve India well if AAP is given the opportunity to serve as the main opposition party in the Parliament. Having tried coalition of regional parties at the national level, now it would be good to give a chance to the AAP to catalyze an alternative national vision. As a strong opposition force the AAP will get the opportunity to develop a coherent vision and build an organization capable of translating ideas into action. Why should I vote for Arvind Kejriwal? You should not vote for Arvind Kejriwal. The constitution of India has given you the responsibility of voting for the most suitable representative for your constituency. Let the voters of Varanasi decide whether to vote for Mr. Kejriwal or Mr. Modi. Everybody else should look for a deserving candidate running in his or her constituency. The AAP has selected people of integrity and imagination. Give AAP candidate a chance only after evaluating her or his credentials for serving your constituency. If we elect a large pool of good people to the Parliament, and defeat anyone who has a criminal or communal background, we will end up with a much-improved parliament, no matter who the Prime Minister is. Improving the quality of governance will depend on the quality of people we send to the Parliament.