‘A small step in Indian politics, a big leap for democracy’ said Shazia Ilmi of Aam Aadmi Party. The unprecedented electoral success of Aam Aadmi Party has created a political buzz like no other in the recent past. It is touted as the victory of the common man. That common man, who always had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.
28th December marks that day in the history of Indian politics when a swearing-in ceremony is widely watched like no other. As I write this piece, Arvind Kejriwal is delivering his CM address, more like a revolutionary than a politician. Well he has broken into the party song now (when did Any CM do that last!) What has gone behind it? What lies ahead of it?
A few crucial points:
Symbolism: Taking a metro to oath ceremony is height of symbolism in Indian politics. It needs applause. Though it would have left security in a tizzy, it was worth the effort. I am reminded of what Sarojini Naidu said about Gandhiji’s simplicity, and the cost nation had to bear for it. Hope it doesn’t go that way.
Arrogance: It’s only human to fall prey to lavishes. No one probably understands it better that Arvind Kejriwal. In his revolutionary-like speech he requested people not to become arrogant. That is a real test, for largesse will be showered by numerous contractors, mafia and middlemen.
Congress support: Making it to the government with the help of congress support is only advantageous for AAP. Pulling the rug before 2014 would be disastrous for Congress.
Expectations: That few common men are now in charge of government has stirred seasoned politicians and Indian public like never before. This has only created a mountain of expectations from this government. It is always tough to climb such mountains, especially under media glare.
Achievement: That AAP has achieved the unassailable, its achievement can be classified under two broad headings; first breaking the barrier of entry into politics. The common man had lost all hopes, for only political lineage and muscle and money power got you into that trade. Secondly, the power of ‘aam aadmi’ who cannot be bought with ‘chicken and liquor’. A combination of both has catapulted AAP and thus is the talk of the town.
2014: Organizational abilities play a crucial role in winning elections. AAP making a great impact in general elections in unlikely. But they may hurt some parties in few pockets.
Conventional: AAP is all about unconventional! It is the youth, the brazen, confident, breaking-free of traditions, taking corrupt head on, that powers AAP’s engine.
It is in the interest of the nation that parties like AAP come up. In the next few years few such parties will spring up. But the public will filter them. May the gods, whom Arvind Kejriwal thanked for their success guide him and his team to stay by their ideals. May they make that 'leap' now!