By Nanditha Sankar:
A party that had not even been conceived during the last election season has arrived at the vanguard in such a short span of time that even before its manifesto sees the light of the day , preludes are being released highlighting what is to come. The seemingly crowd-appeasing manifesto (or that’s what it seems like from whatever we know, so far) bats for decriminalizing gay sex, a topic that has been subject to a lot of debating in recent days. While frontrunners choose to keep mum on the issue or evade it tactfully, it is commendable that the AAP should openly support the cause, thereby supporting the plight of the marginalized LGBT community. It must, however, be noted that the AAP is not the only party that has spoken up for these amends with the same agenda having featured in the CPM manifesto as well. That more parties are lending their voices to the cause, should be an impetus to the LGBT community.
The other key area that drew clamour was women-friendly measures that would be implemented if they came to power.Â Â AAP sought to ensure disqualification of politicians charged with gender-related offenses( though it remains to be seen what the party’s stand is on other offenses equally dastardly), and demand a detailed plan of action from all government agencies to prevent violence against women. Abortions carried out after sex-determination would also see the exit door according to the manifesto, which is indeed a welcome move. In order to prevent the ghettoisation of the Islamic community, AAP proposes mixed neighbourhoods. The idea needs to be followed up and steer clear away from any sort of communal tension that could rise in its implementation as well. In another move aimed at appeasement of the minority population, the manifesto includes recognition of madrassa degrees by colleges and universities, and inclusion of all Dalit Muslims in the scheduled caste category.
In an attempt to strengthen the security forces in the country, the manifesto includes plans for modernization of security forces coupled with social economic solution development of the marginalized as a long-term solution to the Maoist problem. In an attempt to widen its reach, it has also included a foreign policy so that it is not seen as a regional element. The AAP has also pitched in for the Jan Lokpal Bill, the same reason over which it quit after 49-day rule in the Delhi Assembly
So far, no economic reforms have been mentioned yet and it must be noted that prominent AAP Leader, Yogendra Yadav, had acknowledgedÂ the difficulty faced by his fledglingÂ party, hardly 2 years old, in terms of the depth of knowledge required to understand economic reforms. Some of the points in the agenda deserve applause. The very fact that the party came out in favour of the LGBT community is commendable. Even during the Delhi Assembly elections, AAP played safe with populist measures which have featured yet, again. This being the Lok Sabha elections, the AAP will have to take into consideration, regional issues into account and make way for them as well. What worked with Delhi, need not work everywhere else. The manifesto will be released later in the week.