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Monday, February 10, 2014

Why the Aam Aadmi Party has caused more heartburn and agony than any other party

Tushi , not her real name, was in the U.S of A when the Anna Hazare movement was launched. Her husband, a doctor, had a comfortable practice and life was cruising along well for them and their children. The movement touched a chord in the couple's heart and they decided to move back to India, settle in Delhi, the epicentre of the movement, and work for Team Anna. Tushi recalls, " the moment we came back to Delhi, we threw ourselves , heart and soul , into working towards the success of the movement and ensuring the passing of the  Jan lokpal Bill." There is a faraway look in her eyes when she recounts how the couple was a witness to the falling apart of Hazare and Kejriwal. Tushi and husband  went with the  Arvind Kejriwal  faction because they were convinced by Kejriwal's conviction, his ideology ,his commitment to uprooting corruption  and his thumbs down to the existing system. Today Tushi does not want to talk about AAP. Her disillusionment is complete and total. When did she feel that things were not going well? " I realized even before the Delhi Assembly elections that AAP is just another political party , following the same agenda as any other party, and playing the same politics as the other parties."

So, granted that there is a lot of disillusionment with AAP. But why is it more so with AAP than with the Congress and BJP. The answer , my friend,  is blowing in the wind. The Congress is a party which has become infra dig for most of the voters. There is nothing new which the party promises; Rahul Gandhi is the son or younger brother who needs protection from big ,bad ,wolfish questions; the party  is synonymous with scams , corruption and stoicism and for most of us , the party is over for the Congress. Conclusion : zero expectations. BJP has pulled out its trump card, NaMo, and certainly there is a lot of hype and hoopla for the man from the land of the Sabarmati. But there is also a strong sense of resentment that the party did not make a concerted effort to bring the UPA government down, that it allowed it to mis govern its way through ten long years- years that saw the country's economy, polity and  foreign policy take a beating. The feeling is that the  BJP is part and parcel of the same system , the system that includes the Congress.

Kejriwal came, riding on the promise of change. His broom promised to sweep away the existing system, and sweep in the Utopia that one had heard  of but never dreamt of seeing. Hundreds and  thousands of Indians succumbed to the lure of the promise of change, of honesty, accountability and transparency. Suresh and his family moved into one room and gave up the rest of the house for party work. Ginny, living in faraway Florida, cut down on movies and saved up money for the party. Grandfather Sakhija spent his mornings at the Pitampura Metro station, speaking to  commuters about the need to vote for AAP. Rekha,a housewife, cut down the monthly household budget by half, so that she could donate money for 'Arvind ji's party'. Yes, every political party has its workers and they all work. The difference is that while the other political parties pay their workers, either in cash, or through favors granted, the men and women working for AAP did so  as a labor of  love, belief and commitment and not for personal gains.

Today, those same people have picked up the threads of their old life. Different lives, different men and women. The only thing they share in common is their disillusionment with AAP. The Utopian dream has broken from the gossamer thin threads holding it  and vanished into the world of the cynics and the  cynical - the ones who had in any case prophesiced, ,' here, nothing ever changes - not the politicians, nor their politics. Mark our words, AAP is just another party".

Sad, but it has turned out to be true.

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