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kewal sethi
Posts: 33

AAPand the new politics


whole of india is againstcorruption which is universally acknowledged to be increasing exponentially. thoughfor a long long time, the ways and means to solve this problem have beenexplored, yet the belief was that those who profit by it cannot be expected toput up a real bulwork to contain it. but it did not deter those out of politicsto continue the fight. the highlight of this struggle was the fast by annahazare which aroused passions and spontaneous demonstrations all over india bydifferent section of people. the government had to accede to the demand ofhaving a lokpal. though the ultimate act gave much less than was demanded, atleast a beginning has been made.

an offshoot of the fast and theagitation was the formation of a political party viz. aam admi party with acronymAAP. by exposing the corruption at the highest level, it achieved therecognition of the society which responded enthusiastically to it. (in whatfollows, kejriwal and AAP are used as meaning same thing)

the spectacular show of AAP indelhi elections, winning 28 out of 70 seats has further electrified thecountry. they were expected to perform well but not that well. a wave appearsto have set in which has attracted many highly qualified persons to the newparty. balakrishnan, board member , infosys has resigned and joined AAP. alsogopinath, who started the first budget airlines in india. so have many others. buoyedup, the party has declared plans to put up candidates for 300 lok sabha seats. onekumar vishwas says he will fight against rahul gandhi from amethi. many othershave been named to take on congress and BJP stalwarts. many persons claim thatthere is a AAP wave in the country.

what are the strong points of theparty? having started by exposing bigwigs, kejriwal turned his attention todelhi local issues. his movement against the inflated electricity bills had agood media coverage.  he demanded cheapwater and cheap electricity for the people. he spoke about totaldecentralization. but his main plank has been about the transparency of hisparty. he received large contributions from public which he claims to have puton the website for everyone to see. he received a large amount of money fromabroad. NRIs are said to be behind his promise of clean politics. he promisedto keep away from other parties and promised a different route, a new way ofpolitics, a new atmosphere for working for the people.

following the fractured verdict,congress, worsted at the polls, and not willing to go for another elections sosoon, gave unconditional support to AAP to form government. going back on his promiseof no truck with BJP or congress, kejriwal accepted the offer but cloaked itbehind the façade of referendum amongst his followers on whether he should formgovernment. the result was as expected. it could not be otherwise. so he becamethe chief minister and has won the vote of confidence with the support ofcongress.

immediately on becoming chiefminister, and even before the confidence vote, he announced free water tohouseholds up to 20 kilolitres per month. he announced reduced rates forelectricity consumption up to 400 units. all this involves lot of expenditurebut, nevertheless attracts lot of attraction.  a part of forgone revenue is to be met fromincreased rates for water where consumption is more than 20 kilolitres. butstill a gap will remain. then there is subsidy for reduced rates ofelectricity. but the man in the street does not bother about these niceties. hemerely notes that AAP has done what others could not do. but i have beenimpressed by the fact that even the sophisticated persons are not concerned. theirfocus is on the corruption free society and clean politics which is what AAPpromises.  

the immediate objective of AAP(or kejriwal, which is synonym ) appears to be passing of the jan lokpal actwhich should come any day, his other main plank is the decentralization ofadministration by having mohalla samities (or ward samities, if you prefer). inhis manifesto and speeches he calls it swaraj. he claims that all decisions willbe taken at the ward level and very few at the central level.

the framework for the wardcommittees is already there. the statement of objects of the 74thamendment of the constitution provides for "(d)  constitution of committeesat ward level or other level or levels within  the  territorial areaof a municipality as may be provided  in the state law". the statecan make a law for that and prescribe its powers. the delhi vidhan sabha hasmerely to pass the act.

does it really meandecentralization? here come the contradictions. the manifesto of AAP says"devolving power directly to people; decisions about development in anylocality to be taken by Mohalla Sabhas; payments for any work (roads, pavement,etc) to be released only once the work is approved by mohalla sabhas. mohallasabhas to monitor the functioning of local school, primary health centres,ration shops".  in  their speeches however wild claims are madeas if the mohalla sabha will be the government of the locality. no decisionshall be taken without its approval. will it be a practical approach? only timewill tell.

meanwhile, as has been stated above,many intellectuals and influential persons are joining the party. the media hasdescribed the success of AAP as a revolution, something unprecedented. it istheir view that the bad governance will soon become a thing of past and new erawill start.

how far are they justified in theiroptimism? it will be recalled that there was similar euphoria when janta partycame into power in 1977 following the emergency. the then prime minister lostthe elections. many other bigwigs were gone. it was believed that times havechanged. All this came to nothing. so far as regional parties are concerned,which AAP is at present, we can recall the success of telegu desham party andof the assam gan parishad. it can, of course, be said that former was abouttelegu pride and the latter about the illegal influx of bangladeshis, ratherlocal affairs, while AAP in concerned about corruption which is india wideproblem.

about decentralization views have been expressed that itis done in indonesia. the process was started in 1999 but the common view isthat local public serviceresponsibilities are inadequately matched to local revenues and publicaccountability and strong legal institutions are not yet in place (keith green- decentralization and good governance: the case of indonesia 2005). just likeindia decentralization in indonesiais much more of an administrative decentralization rather than a fiscaldecentralization. the central government continues to control a vast share ofthe revenues required for local governance under true decentralization. localgovernments on average receive more than 80 percent of their revenues from thecentral government. decentralization is perceived to greatly benefit the localregions that are granted autonomy but only if these regions are allowed afreedom in law and economy that was previously available only to the centralgovernment. regional autonomy should allow laws and regulations to be tailoredto individual regions.

how far this typeof autonomy will be allowed to the ward samities. it does not appear that theywill have any independent source of income. delhi, as a compact urban area,will make it difficult to have wards plan their development on their own,notwithstanding intentions to that effect. likewise giving the gram sabhas aveto on acquisition of land for public purpose is not likely to speed up theprojects. we have already seen its effect in odisha.

another point ofconsideration is the democratic nature of these ward committees. so far as the74th amendment is concerned, the only binding provision is that thelocal ward member will be chairman of the ward samiti. rest is left to thestate government. the danger is that for these samities. the membership is leftto the state to decide. would they be democratically elected or be nominated bythe ruling party. it will be recalled that when madhya pradesh created 20 pointcommittees at tahsil level, only congress people were nominated, the plea wasthat only they believed in the 20 point programme. will the history berepeated?

governance is notmerely populist schemes meant to please everyone or even the majority of thecitizens. it is the fairness of the rules. will AAP be able to maintain that?

a view has beenexpressed that no one can stop the march of history. a person appears at theright time and every success is attributed to him. gandhi was one such person.his methods were unorthodox. no one believed that they will work but the marchof history made it possible, and he got all the credit. will kejriwal prove tobe the man on the spot? there is no doubt that things have gone from bad toworse. whole of india is seething with discontent. the large scale corruptionis evident. small time corruption affects everyone. no lollipops in the shapeof subsidies are going to help. it has to change. it is going to change nomatter who is the agent for the change. may be kejriwal can deliver. theproblem with kejriwal is that there is no philosophy of governance behind him. fightagainst corruption is one plank but it is not enough. delivery of serviceswhich have been promised is more important. it has to be sustained effort. butas with other politicians he is in a hurry to deliver. half baked ideas formedin the course of struggles do no good. take the example of our freedom. theleaders were selfless. they fought the battle for independence doggedly. butwith all their noble ideas they did not have a philosophy of governance. whenindependence came, they had no apparatus to handle it. so they continued theold hands, the bureaucrats. the bureaucrats were trained for ruling, not forgovernance. and they very quickly brought the new leaders to the same mould. unfortunatelyfor india, the supreme leader was agnostic and religion which has always been asource of strength was given a go by. gandhi, for all his shortcomings, wasreligious and it was that spiritual high ground which gave him strength. it waswhat fired the nation. before him tilak had recognized its strength and thisled him to public display of religious festivals to foster the idea of unityand strength. savarkar and hedgewar recognized the need for making religion thebasis to rejuvenate the nation. after the independence, thet source, which drovegandhi to universal acceptance, was gone and nothing came up in its place, noblind socialist faith which became the strength of soviet union or of china. orthe nationalist feelings which led to unification of germany, of italy and offrance. the nationalist feelings were not promoted as the supreme leaderbelieved in internationalism. so there was failure because what was sought tobe introduced did not match the genius of the land. his successors were worse.they did not even have the convictions which drove him. so the nation drifted.when things went out of control,, foreign powers intervened and imposed theirideas based on neo- colonial ideology which went by the name of globalizationand liberalization.

the result is themorass in which we find ourselves to day. corruption is just a manifestation ofthe disease, just a symptom. the malady is deeper. and AAP does not have aphilosophy to combat it. it started in agitation (for jan lokpal) and itcontinued to exist in agitations (reconnecting electricity, joining anti rapedemonstration). the circumstances have catapulted it to power but they had tosurrender their high moral ground to get it. the maxim that one needs power to fulfillthe promises prevailed. anna hazare was reluctant to plunge into politicalcontest and, in my view, he was right. power does not flow from office. itflows from spiritual strength. that is why entire india jumped up to force thegovernment to bring in lok pal, howsoever diluted.

this is the reason why i am notoverwhelmed by the AAP phenomenon. it does not have roots. it is more of astatement of exhilaration. i would not go as far as saying that it is acreation of media. as i said earlier, it has brought to the fore the discontentpervading all over the nation. but unless it develops a philosophy of its own,it is not going to lead anywhere. i would have liked it to reject outsidesupport and go for another elections. it had nothing to lose but the high moralground would have been its for the asking. meanwhile confident that they wouldbe expected to govern, they could have worked on the fundamentals. but that isno longer the route. where will the alternate route go to?

still hoping for the best.




January 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

OP Mishra
Posts: 55


Managing Civilization isa function of -

(1) Belief of Civilization- Whether its GOD is a KING or Parent?

(2) Attitude of Civilization- (a) TO SERVE or  (b) TO GET SERVED

(3) System followed by the Civilization-(a) DUTY ORIENTED SYSTEM (b) RIGHT ORIENTED system or (3) DUTY-CUM-RIGHT oriented system

All the above are under transformation through a natural process. India's Civilization's belief is transforming from KING orienred GOD to Parent oriented GOD. From attitude "TO GET SERVED" to attitude "TO SERVE" and from DUTY ORIENTED system constitution  to RIGHT ORIENTED SYSTEM and further transforming to " DUTY -CUM- RIGHT ORIENTED SYSTEM" of constitution for f Management of INDIA/WORLD's CIVILIZATION.



Thank & Regard 


February 20, 2014 at 7:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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