The Delhi elections are a question of life and death for the Aam Aadmi Party. Therefore, this party is using all the four weapons – ‘saam’ (to advice and ask), ‘daam’ (to offer and buy), ‘dand’ (to punish), ‘bhed’ (exploiting the secrets) with great cleverness and adroitness. The leader of this party is said to be in favour of transparency, but ideologically his statements are alloyed and misleading. What is the meaning of change in the election system in Delhi? The Government of Delhi is the sole Government in the country which has neither the police under it, nor the responsibility of the security of people. It is such a toothless-poisonless (‘dantheen-vishheen’) Government that cannot even transfer senior or highly placed officials present in Delhi. When there is no authority then how will there be change? The promises with which the Aam Aadmi Party wants to win the elections are not rational. Implementing these promises is even beyond the large States, because India’s federal structure does not allow it. Any fundamental political change in the country is only possible through the Lok Sabha. By bragging about changing the electoral process or system through the Delhi elections, the Aam Aadmi Party is making a fool of the voters in Delhi. At the same time, it is not only deceiving Anna Hazare, it is putting a fuse to his goals and objectives, because Anna Hazare believes that the Lok Sabha is the central point for making a beginning to bring about a change in systems in the country. By fighting the Delhi Assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal wants to destroy the dream of Anna Hazare and this is what the BJP and the Congress also want to do.
In the elections for the Delhi Assembly, the biggest problem for the Aam Aadmi Party is Anna Hazare. This party was formed after separating from Anna Hazare’s andolan ( movement). The basis or foundation of this party is Anna Hazare’s credibility, morality and virtues, popularity, and sacrifices. But Anna Hazare’s clear cut instructions are that the Aam Aadmi Party cannot use his name, his photographs, his cap, or anything else. Without Anna questions arise about the reliability of the party and if the name of Anna is used, Anna is annoyed. But the reality is that the Aam Aadmi Party is openly using Anna’s name. Even today there are many such social media accounts in which the Aam Aadmi Party is described as Anna’s party.
At many places in Delhi, leaflets are being distributed in which it is being said that the Aam Aadmi Party is Annaji’s party. On this issue, the leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party do not give a clear reply either. Why did Anna separate from them, or why is Anna not with them — in response to such questions Arvind Kejriwal says that the purpose of Anna and the Aam Aadmi Party is one, only their paths are different. Why this statement is wrong we will explain later on, but the Election Commission has raised objections to describing Anna as ‘being with them’, and the Commission sent a notice asking the Aam Aadmi Party for proof or evidence that Anna Hazare is ‘with them’. The Commission says that to prove this the Aam Aadmi Party will have to submit a sanction or acceptance letter from Anna Hazare. On this issue, Prashant Bhushan even met the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi, but could not produce Anna’s sanction or acceptance letter.
In fact, during its publicity campaign the Aam Aadmi Party is showing a short film. This film includes photographs of the Jan Lokpal movement, in which Anna Hazare is seen together with Arvind Kejriwal. After the implementation of the Election Code of Conduct, to show the film, the party has to take permission from the Election Commission’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC). Therefore, the Aam Aadmi Party too applied for permission in the District Election Office. When the Election Commission Committee viewed this short film, it struck their minds, when Anna is not with the party, why are his pictures in the film? According to Ankur Garg from the Expenditure Monitoring Committee, they have no objections to somebody’s name being used. But they have an objection if wrong or misleading information is given about that person. Electoral officials immediately summoned the Aam Aadmi Party on the point and expressing objections, sought an answer. According to a senior officer of the Commission, the notice was sent and an answer sought under instructions of the Election Commission. The film will get permission to be shown if the answer sought is deemed proper and correct. The problem now for the Aam Aadmi Party is from where to get Anna’s sanction or acceptance letter – Anna is not with them!
Could The Aam Aadmi Party Be The Praja Rajyam Party Of Delhi?
Assembly elections were held in Andhra Pradesh in 2009. Here the fight for power has been between two parties the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). In 2008 a Praja Rajyam Party was formed in this State. Its leader was the film star Chiranjeevi. In his very first rally, 10 lakh people came. For one year, this party held rallies continually in Andhra Pradesh. The rallies were large. In a manner of speaking, the hands and feet of other political parties began to swell with anxiety. It had started to seem that a Praja Rajyam Government was actually about to be formed. The party fielded candidates for all the seats. Describing the Telugu Desam Party and the Congress Party as corrupt, Chiranjeevi laid claim to forming the Government. When the election results came, this party got a mere 18 seats out of 294 seats. The Congress won the elections again. After some time, Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party merged with the Congress Party. Chiranjeevi today is a Minister of State in the Central Government. The question is, could it be that the Aam Aadmi Party is the Praja Rajyam Party of Delhi?
To reply to the Election Commission poser, Prashant Bhushan, a leader of the Aam Aadmi Party who is also an eminent lawyer in the country, met the Election Commission Officers. Unable to produce Anna’s sanction or acceptance letter, he attacked the decision of the Election Commission. Prashant Bhushan said that the directions of the Election Code of Conduct are a violation of some fundamental rights. He said that if Anna has not made any objection, what can be the objection of the Commission? This is strange logic. So far elections have been conducted under this Code of Conduct. Then there was no breach of fundamental rights, but you receive a minor notice and your leaders begin an outcry on violation of Fundamental Rights. Perhaps Prashant Bhushan has
forgetten that Anna has made public many times his objection to his name or picture being used. The other thing is that Prashant Bhushan or the Aam Aadmi Party leaders now no longer have any information of Anna Hazare’s movement and activities. Arvind Kejriwal is so busy these days in electoral politics that perhaps he does not even have time to find out what Anna is saying nowadays during his countrywide Jantantra Yatra and the many meetings he is holding. Therefore, he has not been able to understand
why the Election Commission has sent the notice.
In fact, Anna is touring throughout the country and raising questions about the constitutionality of political parties. He believes and is of the view that when the words ‘political party’ do not even figure in the Constitution of India, how have political parties captured political power in this country? Anna says that political parties have made the country’s politics a source of money through power and power through money. He had not given any concession to the Aam Aadmi Party. At the same time, when the Supreme Court pronounced the Right to Reject decision and directed the Election Commission to install a rejection button on EVMs, Anna decided that during the upcoming State Assembly Elections he would sensitise people and appeal to them to use their Right to Reject. For this, he even wrote a letter to the Election Commission. In this letter he wrote that this campaign of his would be against all the political parties. The Election Commission, on receipt of Anna’s letter, even gave him a date for meeting on 25 October. In the meanwhile, Anna’s pictures were seen in the short film being shown by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Commission expressed its objections.
It needs to be understood that Anna’s movement is now not only for the Jan Lokpal. Now Anna is not carrying out a movement only against corruption. Anna wants a change in the system. He believes that change in the system in the country is possible only when people who want a change in the system reach the Lok Sabha. This change in the system is possible not through political parties, but is only possible through people’s representatives. Anna does not believe that Legislative Assemblies or State Governments are instruments or tools for changing the system, and this is correct, because given the country’s federal system, the change being sought is not possible. Our Constitution has given so much and so many powers to the Central Government and especially the Lok Sabha, that without their consent change is not possible. This is the reason that Left Governments came to power in three different States in the country, but no fundamental change took place. The Aam Aadmi Party is misleading people in Delhi by making a claim to bring about a change in the system through the Legislative Assembly.
Anna’s movement is based on the Jantantra Morcha’s twenty-five point formula and its draft policy. Now Anna is not leading any anti-corruption movement. Anna is now leading a movement of political and ideological revolution in the country and at every place he is getting more support. Meanwhile, the current objective of the Aam Aadmi Party is to capture power in Delhi. In the social media, the Aam Aadmi Party has started projecting Arvind Kejriwal in the form of the Prime Minister of India. It is meaningless to compare Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, but the difference between their objectives and targets can be seen so clearly. Anna’s movement is a countrywide movement and a movement of ideological change. Anna has emerged as the most powerful opponent of neo-liberalism. He is carrying out a movement for re-establishing a people’s welfare State in India. Anna’s movement is moving on the path of struggle and sacrifice in which there is no place for greed for power, exploitation and arrogance.
It cannot be denied that after the elections in Delhi the Aam Aadmi Party will also contest the Lok Sabha elections. The Aam Aadmi Party is fighting elections in Delhi but it has also prepared an organisation throughout the country. Money is coming to it from abroad. NRIs are giving donations. Therefore there is no dearth of resources. But whether the elections are in Delhi or in the rest of the country, if a political party is taking part in the elections, it is also essential to ask what is the party’s ideology? India is a country of disparities. India is a country of complexities. Therefore, it is necessary for political parties to have an ideology. Without it, there cannot be politics in India. It is through their ideology that it can be known where a leader or his or her party stands on issues that are important and vital for the country. If any political party does not give a reply on the burning issues of the country. If it has no opinion or suggestions on disputed questions. If it has no suggestion or opinion linked to minimising the problems affecting the lives of people. If it has no plan for the future. If it turns its back on economic and social issues. If it does not respond on national issues, then it has to be accepted that something is amiss.
Why Are Old Friends Not Opting For The Aam Aadmi Party?
Only very few people from Anna’s andolan (movement) are left in the Aam Aadmi Party. Anna was quite active in the movement. A short time ago Mahesh Giri, who gave the name Jan Lokpal to Anna’s Lokpal, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. In a programme organised in East Delhi, Nitin Gadkari gave him membership of the BJP. Mahesh Giri was behind the success of the andolan at Ramlila Maidan. Along with Mahesh Giri, Shivendra Chauhan who publicised and popularised Anna’s andolan amongst the youth through the social media, was also present on the stage during the programme. Even today, Facebook and Twitter accounts of Anna’s andolan are with him. Apart from these two, Delhi’s Gaurav Bakshi, a founding member of India Against Corruption also shared the stage with leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Aam Aadmi Party will have to ponder over why, after all, old friends are not opting for them, are leaving them and going away.
Recently, Arvind Kejriwal suddenly ran away from a TV interview. The question simply was, ‘what is your opinion on Pakistan supported terrorists ?’ Kejriwal said in reply to the question, ‘ask the country’s Home Minister this question’. The anchor asked again that Delhi has been the target of terrorists, what are your views, and Kejriwal replied that we will give the answer to this later on. Saying this, he rose from chair and began to walk away. But even as he was walking away the anchor asked what was his opinion on that letter of the Home Minister which spoke of putting a check on arresting or rounding up Muslims who were not at fault? Kejriwal’s reply was that we will answer these questions after December. Arresting Muslims for no fault of theirs is a problem. Even in Delhi, police arrested many Muslim youths. In Seelampur area people are upset due to such cases. If the so called future Chief Minister of Delhi refuses to answer to these questions, what does it mean? The meaning that emerges from this is that for a few votes, you will keep changing your stand.
One more issue on which the opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party is still not clear, whereas it should be absolutely clear. This issue is of Kashmir. A leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, Prashant Bhushan, gave a controversial statement that a referendum should be held in Kashmir and if the people of Kashmir want to secede and separate from India, then they should be given the right to do so. Saying this is not less than the act of a traitor, but the real thing is that such a statement can only be made by someone who does not know what Kashmir means for India. Kashmir is not just a territory for India, it is a guarantee of secularism. If he supports the separation of Kashmir in the name of religion, then Prashant Bhushanji will also have to tell what will happen to the remaining Muslims of the country. A clarification on this statement by the Aam Aadmi Party still remains to be made. Prashant Bhushan apologised for this statement. Now the Aam Aadmi Party must disclose whether it believes Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to be an integral part of India or not. Whether it has faith in the secularism of India or not.
When the discussion is turned to minortites, the Aam Aadmi Party must also explain the fact that Arvind Kejriwal flaunted at the Constitution Club a few Muslims joining the party, but on the real issues of Muslims remained silent. The Sachar Committee has estimated the condition of Muslims to be worse than even that of Dalits. The way Governments, especially so called secular parties have ‘played’ with Muslims, because of that Muslims have today become the most backward class in the county. The report of the Ranganath Mishra Commission has suggested many important steps, which also include reservations in Government jobs for Muslims. Is the Aam Aadmi Party in favour or not of implementing the steps and recommendations made for the progress of Muslims by the Ranganath Mishra Commission? This the Aam Aadmi Party must clarify before the elections. If any party does not take a stand on this issue, it means it is cheating and deceiving the people of the country.
There is another important question which nobody is mentioning. This is the question of foreign investment in the retail market. Delhi will be the most affected by this. If foreign investment in the retail market is allowed, then the livelihood of all the people dependent in Delhi on the wholesale and retail market will be affected. Arvind Kejriwal must disclose before the elections whether he is in favour or not of foriegn investment in the retail market. Only talking about ending corruption cannot provide solutions to questions about the future. In any case, corruption in the country will not end with the Jan Lokpal, because it will be applied only after a corrupt practice has occurred. But it will make it easier to get punishment for the corrupt.
It needs to be understood that apart from corruption, there are several issues before the country which are essentially important. What is the opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party on those issues? Does the Aam Aadmi Party support reservation in jobs and promotion for the backwards and Dalits or not? Does the Aam Aadmi Party oppose the Maoist terror in the country or not? Is the Aam Aadmi Party in favour of getting NGO’s which receive foreign funds within the ambit of the Jan Lokpal or not? What is the opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party on the Ram Janambhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute and controversy? What is the opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party on the problem of Bangladeshi infiltration and influx in Delhi and in the whole of the country? What is the opinion of the Aam Aadmi Party on Hindu terrorism or saffron terror as it is often called? Apart from these and in addition there are many other questions like what is the Aam Aadmi Party’s model of development? What is its economic policy? What is its foreign policy? What is its policy on the development and dissemination of science and technology? What is the Party’s stand on privatisation?
Questions of this kind are numerous. The answer to every question cannot be the Jan Lokpal, transparency and decentralisation. The Aam Aadmi Party’s opinion and views on these issues have not so far come before one, therefore, there is a situation of uncertainty and doubt. If the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate for Chief Minister says that the reply to these questions will be given after December, then the people of Delhi can also say that when the answer come, then take our votes. Raising such questions is not a matter of prejudice, but is demanded by ideological transparency. The Aam Aadmi Party claims to support transparency. If people do not know the party’s thoughts and views on issues of vital importance for the country, or let’s say they are just not told about them, then how will confidence be engendered that after an Aam Aadmi Party Government is formed, the problems of the people will become far removed?
Elections are an intoxicating addiction. Before this addiction, even opium pales and is mild. This is an addiction in which every candidate feels that he or she will be winning with a huge majority. Then, like a mirage, people seem to begin meeting them on the way, there are people who greet and welcome them by clapping applause, there are people who wave their hands in greeting and sometimes supporters who are just smiling at them begin to be seen. It seems to every candidate that all the people are voting for him or her. The candidate often becomes a victim of daydreams. Those leaders whose mental balance is not affected and who hold on to the ground realities, they are victorious, they win. If Sonia Gandhi gets intoxicated with this addiction, then she will reach Ahmedabad for a hand to hand with Modi and if Narendra Modi becomes highly intoxicated with the addiction, then to defeat Sonia Gandhi he will become a candidate from Rae Bareli. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Chief Ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal has declared that he will fight against the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. Arvind Kejriwal says that an Aam Aadmi Party Government is about to formed in Delhi. It will be getting 32 per cent votes. Along with making the announcement of fighting the elections himself against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Kejriwal has also declared that on winning he will immediately call and convene a special session of the State Assembly at Ramlila Maidan and will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill. There is still some time to go for the elections. The campaign of the Congress Party and the BJP has still not caught colour fully. Now, one is unable to understand and decide whether to laud Kejriwal’s courage or whether to take it as an intoxicating election addiction and forget about it.