Reinventing Aam Aadmi

Reinventing Aam Aadmi

Reinventing Aam Aadmi, Even as his opponents call him an anarchist, Arvind Kejriwal is repeatedly appealing to the Delhi voters to forgive him for the past.

Even as his opponents call him an anarchist, Arvind Kejriwal is repeatedly appealing to the Delhi voters to forgive him for the past. If one has to believe Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party is being reinvented. Now, the Delhi electorate has to judge this. But, meanwhile, what should AAP do to reinvent itself to emerge as a serious and credible political force?

Kejriwal seems to believe the sovereignty of people is superior to that of the legislature. His street actions are a result of this ideology. But, Parliamentary democracy functions through legislative institutions which embody the will of the people. The deviation from this principle earned him criticism as ‘anarchist’ or even ‘naxalite.’ Kejriwal has to confirm to the grammar of legislative governance, though street politics catapulted him to power.

Governance is not romantic. Its results and outcomes should be romParliantic and revolutionary. The brief tenure of Kejriwal as Chief Minister saw a mix of liberal vagueness and populist concreteness. His decision to reduce power and water tariff represent the latter, while his rhetoric on Lokpal etc., represent the former. This is why the political class is confused over Kejriwal. But the opinion polls suggest that AAP still enjoys considerable support among people despite ‘Modi mania’ impacting many other States.

Kejriwal simultaneously ran a tirade against Ambani and assured the industry that government had no business to be in business. Thus, he could simultaneously embrace Marxian polemics and Adam Smith’s economics. Critics especially from the Left call it political expediency. But, supporters feel AAP is pragmatic. Of course, this is perhaps why the Left failed and Kejriwal succeeded in the Hindi belt. The Kejriwal‘s camp has ideological heterogeneity driving the party in different directions. But, despite this weakness, it represents freshness in politics on many counts. The absence of money power makes the party different from others. However, its stand on Khap panchayats was socially retrograde and politically reprehensible.

The leaders of AAP have taken divergent stands on many issues like Kashmir, Khap panchayats, Ambani and even Modi. The flexibility of ideas might have helped the party in electoral politics. But, it cannot suffer from tyranny of multiplicity of ideas.

The AAP reflects the people’s terrible displeasure with the existing political system. It has infused a lot of idealism into politics. While Lok Satta is largely confined to idealism, Kejriwal combined idealism with activism and symbolism. This is precisely why Kejriwal succeeded even when intellectually much stronger Jayaprakash Narayan could not. But, Kejriwal should realise an idea of politics has to be transformed into an idea of a party. Similarly, ideas of governance should be transformed into process and systems of governance. The AAP has to reinvent itself for the benefit of pro-people politics and public administration in India.

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