ByÂ Gautam S Kumar:
“A Government of the people, by the people, from the people will not perish from the Earth” – Abraham Lincoln
The manner in which the AAP ‘swept aside‘ the congress in the Delhi elections in its first ever showing, is testament to the above quote. The AAP or Aam Aadmi Party, managed to secure a stunning 28 out of 70 seats in the Delhi polls, thus narrowly finishing second behind the BJP who led the race with an impressive 32 seats. Numbers aside, what does this mean for the country? Does AAP present to the country, the solutions to all of its issues?
Non-performance will be frowned upon and treated with the harshness it deserves.
Before going into what the AAP victory means for the country, let us take a peek into what the victory means for Congress. It is an un-debatable fact the Congress has made a mess of things this time around. With the government failing to offer any form of protection to its citizens from inflation, and failing (again) miserably time and time again to make women feel safe in their own country, they have cut a very sorry figure. Add to that numerous corruption scams and even more number of unanswered allegations; it almost seemed as if the Congress had given up in trying to keep its throne. That or the party took the citizens for granted and either way, they ended up paying the price with a defeat of humiliating proportions being handed to them at the elections.
What this shows is that India has had enough of unfulfilled promises, and will no longer tolerate the outright ridiculous number of gaffes committed by the Congress in its governance. The current reign has been marred by numerous cases of corruption ( Common Wealth Games, 2G spectrum, Coal Mining Controversy to name a few ) and brutal instances of rape and fuel and food prices hitting the roof. The kind of defeat dealt to the Congress underlines the fact that India has had enough. A government is supposed to protect its citizens, ensure their prosperity and be trust worthy. With the AAP sticking to the simple (yet apparently effective) strategy of giving more emphasis to these aspects in their propaganda, they have showed the Congress what really matters to the citizens of this great country.
The people want to be ruled by someone who is one among them and not by ‘special people‘.
The AAP ensured the people that the party would represent the common man, and the people have responded. With assurances such as no MP or MLA using special security or luxurious government housing, or ensuring that no one with a criminal record would be allowed to contest in the elections, AAP pulled out all the stops to live up to its name. Most MLAs that the country has seen so far have shown no hesitation in indulging in the special status that they receive. The current ratio of 3 cops for a VIP and 1 for 761 citizens is simply incredulous and for the first time promises have been made to rectify this serious issue.
The mere act of an MP or MLA refusing special treatment makes the person more ‘approachable’.Â People are able to see him/her as one among them , as one who goes through the same troubles as they do, as one whose life is only as secure as theirs, but most importantly, as one who by helping the people is also helping himself/herself to the same extent. A common man’s MLA or MP thus aims to serve the people rather than do the people special favours. This is what I believe contributes most to the AAP’s charm. Who wouldn’t be happy if the guy next door is in a position to serve them?
Idealism and Alternative Politics are a long way from losing their charm.
The AAP party strangely, apart from being the common man’s party is also the idealist’s party. A party that promises a corruption free government. A party that promises the citizens that they will only have to pay half of what they do now for commodities and a party that ensures women of the country the safety they deserve. While this may be one of the most attractive aspects of the party, it also presents us with the most worrying consequence of its victory. Will it be able to live up to the promises? Or more importantly, is it possible to live up to them?
To promise a corruption free country to one where it has been imbibed into the system is itself chewing off more than is humanely possible to be swallowed. Promises of reduced prices and safer streets are all very attractive but due thought has to be given into whether it is possible to implement the same. The problem with an alternative form (or hippie form) of anything at all is that when it comes to being practical, it almost always fails to live up to expectations. Ingenuity has not always been the answer and in a country as diverse as ours, a country with so many different opinions an alternative solution stands every chance of bringing up many new problems. But with all that said, what the AAP’s performance represents is hope. What it shows is that India continues to hope and aspire. That we as a nation believe in ourselves despite the odds being heavily stacked against us, we remain strong and optimistic. And the power of the same can never be written off, the sheer power of hope may in fact, prove to be the answer to all our problems.