Why AAP has a long way to go

The sudden and metaphoric rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) courtesy its victory in the Delhi elections seems to have forced political minds to think how and why this happened. There is of course no doubt about the credit that has to be given to AAP for its phenomenal success, for I am sure it has certainly captured the imagination of the young, urban and middle class alike. The fact that the entry of the AAP has given us a 'third' option in the political scenario, where we can choose beyond the two traditional political options given to us for a long time, is a welcome change and any such new entry into the political domain always brings in fresh perspectives and ideas which are much needed for political change. So, welcome AAP and Indians have more expectations from you.

However, since the past few days the AAP has been embroiled in controversies which it should not have been since it aims to go national and it is yet to fulfill its Delhi promise. Also, there is a huge problem with all the hype and hoopla that surrounds the party which makes it seem like it is the only one working for people's good. I am also a bit skeptical about the argument that AAP is an honest party and its intentions are good. Intentions do matter in politics (on a normative plane, they sound good) but only intentions cannot be the basis for politics since politics is about the 'doable', 'actions' and any party has to be judged on the basis of how it delivers on its promises and how it performs. Unfortunately the AAP has to take time and we have to give it time. Neither the AAP nor the people rallying behind it are understanding this point.

Here are some of the problems I see with kind of politics that the AAP is practicing:
  • Street politics, dharna politics instead of governance - did they leave street politics for the kind of actions that they are presently responsible for in Delhi? They need to switch from activism to governance mode.
  • The biggest malady of the AAP phenomenon is that their politics reeks of arrogance and ego. They have made all kinds of statements against other political actors, and absurd statements for that.
  • Irresponsible politics is what AAP is practicing, the biggest malady being their belief that they hold a monopoly over honesty and the rest of the political players cannot match up to them.
  • The dual policy of AAP - their promise not to take Cong/BJP support and then their doing exactly the opposite to come to power.
  • Their plan to go national can be disastrous - why they should abandon the people of Delhi like this?
  • The false premise that received the Delhi janta's mandate, going by principles of electoral politics none of the parties in Delhi received a janta mandate.
  • The peril of vigilante justice, activism and the hurry that seem to be in to garner as many members as possible.
  • The fact that they are ideologically bankrupt if the corruption agenda is taken away - their take on policies related to economy and defense is highly problematic.
  • The fact that they resorted to freebies and populism as soon as they came to power in Delhi
  • The last, they feel that they are the 'legitimate' Aam Aadmi and only they represent the Aam Aadmi.
Ironically, the biggest leveler in politics is time and the AAP seem in no mood to pay heed to this. They are fresh and innovative, they have gained momentum but they also need to build upon and capitalize on it. If they work for a few years for political consolidation and build a strong party base - they can emerge as a power to reckon with. But until that they must set their own house in order and give themselves and the nation some time to absorb the kind of politics they wish to see in this country. For the moment, the country needs not 'anarchism' but a stable, independent and visionary leadership to make strides in the right direction.

AAP - Please take some time, there is a long way to go before you can institutionalize yourself into mainstream politics. 


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