The 8th Dec 2013 happens to be the date when the fate favoured India and stopped the rot. The Indian States Election results of 5 state assemblies that took place last week were to be announced. The capital had the biggest suspense in abeyance because of the new entrant party AAP, formed only a year ago. The promise from the party was to change the Indian politics completely. Results came but left AAP as a runner up. It may not be the outcome, the supporter hoped but it is on debut and credit worthy.
Indian democracy had degenerated from sublime to now awful and uncaring. It has allowed asset stripping and a complete plunder by lots of people not always in power but close to power and under their wings of patronage. They were not merely related to politicians but belonged to corporate houses as well. There was no check. The parliamentary term itself of 5 years seems now astronomically long given that public knew precisely in 2010 itself that ruling party needed to go after having voted them to power in 2009. To tolerate this barely performing govt for this long has been a big ordeal for whole of India.
The election results leave the ruling party routed in Delhi State, the capital region where it was ruling for decade and half. AAP should also thank their stars that they did not win the elections outright. AAP, in their manifesto had promised to reduce the power tariff by 50% which was well nigh impossible to achieve even with all good intentions. Putting a figure and also so high like that is recipe for voters not to trust the Party’s promises. AAP also ignored the attack coming from the eventual winning party BJP that AAP has cheated Anna Hazare, the 2011 architect of India’s mass movement against corruption. Perhaps, they could have combatted it vigorously by insisting that BJP has cheated themselves. They promised like the ruling congress party that they will enact law for Jan LokPal (corruption watchdog ). Not just that but they also failed to appoint state Lok Ayukt (corruption watchdog) in the states they ruled. BJP could have been pinned like Congress about promises for freeing the CBI, the investigative agency from Govt shackles. Finally, AAP also suffered from mis-judgements. It erred in not removing the assistant of Shazia Ilmi, one of its main candidate who was clearly suggesting in a sting video how to circumvent the election expenses limit rules framed for candidates by election commission. AAP should have apologised to public after removing such an assistant.
The coming of AAP promises a few new things for India. The funding for this party came from individual donations living either in India or abroad. Since it did not depend on industrial houses for donation, so it did not have to return any favour to them. The Party has promised to take governance to street level bodies by consulting with them on most issues. It withdrew one candidate midway through the election campaign because the candidate had failed to inform the party of court case pending against him. Its candidates were chosen by party members at local level and manifesto also took shape after consulting the public at local level. After looking at all party ‘s manifesto, it has become clear while there is greater merit in making manifesto with public consultation but it lacks vision as public keeps an eye on smaller short term outcomes. The other parties who had not consulted public for their manifesto promised to build a new hospital, a degree college and parking spaces which are in chronic need in capital. This type of promises could have only come as a result of vision of party leaders themselves. So there is a need to have a party vision as well in making manifesto. AAP’s election campaign was also unique. It had lots of volunteers from not just the capital but also from other states and abroad. They went around virtually all households in Delhi rather than conducting rallies.
Now, these election practices will begin to be accepted across the country. The party politics will begin to get cleaned. Though, there will be same temptations to indulge in old corrupt manner as before when to come in power and stay in power the money was used to buy the elected members of the opposition party or investigative agency CBI was used. Until now, the thugs were chosen as candidates by the parties without fear of court as India’s court system is crippled under the weight of pending cases. The parties were bound to a family or a group. It was difficult for anyone else to penetrate this circle of power without connections. Now, this outcome also leaves enough room for AAP to start building branch network across all states. There is so much goodwill for the party across the country. Having been free from governance after these election results, AAP needs to join Anna who is launching yet another fast for bringing the same Jan Lokpal bill as was sought in 2011. Anna need to be supported and brought back to AAP as both movements think alike. AAP needs to build a nationwide team . How such a big team will be communicated, funded etc remains a stupendous task, a task that is needed indeed to salvage India and reclaim.