Perspectives on the Aam Aadmi Party

January 18, 2015

In view of the upcoming Delhi elections, we present three perspectives on AAP: two articles previously published on Sanhati by Debarshi Das and Alok Bhattacharya, and one new submission by Aditya Velivelli. – Ed.

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1. Post-ideological Politics and Left Politics – Debarshi Das
2. Respite for Corporates – Aditya Velivelli
3. Corruption and the ‘broom’ – Alok Bhattacharya

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Post-ideological Politics and Left Politics

By Debarshi Das. Original publication: March 2014. http://sanhati.com/excerpted/9320/

Left, Right and Rights

A stream of liberal thought, popular among NGO’s, argues that political parties in India, including the Left, have not done enough for the poor. Leaders and ideologues have kept on harping abstract principles, without caring for stark manifestations of poverty, such as lack of food, education, health. A solution, it is argued, would be to legislate the provision of these necessities as rights, so that the State becomes bound to provide them.

Busy in their fight against US imperialism did the Left forget to what end their battle was actually waged [1]?

The performance of Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Delhi elections has a bearing on this kind of argument. According to its leaders AAP does not believe in ideological partitioning between Left and Right. Yogendra Yadav, leader of AAP, has commented that the party does not believe in such pigeon-holing, a relic of the twentieth century [2]. Whatever works for the aam admi, whatever empowers him, is what the party believes in. Having gauged that many citizens do not support high power and water bills the party promised to reduce charges if elected to the office. The pitch of their campaign was decidedly geared toward the concern of middle class and lower middle class urban residents of Delhi.

This politics is consistent with the above-mentioned emphasis on rights. Both insist on the actual delivery of essential services or goods, not on the principles which guide the actions [3].

Does the electoral success of post-ideological AAP demonstrate that there is a possibility to carve out democratic space within the post-colonial State, all that needs to be done is to focus on the delivery of amenities? It’s notable that the constitution of AAP, as well as articulations by Yadav and Kejriwal repeatedly invoke the word ‘democracy’.

Discussion on rights often takes us back to old treatises. Lenin’s State and Revolution, that sledgehammer of a book in the face of liberal obfuscation, is one such work. Arguing that the bourgeois democratic State is as much an organ of oppression of one class by another like all hitherto existing states, Lenin writes,

If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the “petty” – supposedly petty – details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for “paupers”!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc., – we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been in close contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.

Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in analyzing the experience of the Commune, he said that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament! [emphasis mine]

The twenty-first post-colonial State is too clever to come up with justifications such as ‘public buildings are not for “paupers”’. It deploys cleverer instruments. From March, 2013 terminated workers of Maruti Suzuki company plant of Manesar had been on dharna at Kaithal town. They were demanding their own reinstatement and release of co-workers who have been in police custody since July, 2012 (147 workers were in custody in all). They planned a major demonstration on 18th May. The district administration imposed section 144 of Indian penal code on 18th May [4]. The police lathicharged and arrested around 150 demonstrators. Charges which were slapped on them ranged from violating orders, obstructing police officials to perform their duty, to grave allegations such as attempt to murder. Paupers of 1917 have been replaced by potential murderers in 2013. The purpose of extinguishing democratic impulse is served all the same.

Sanhati website’s News Reel section hosts statements of trade unions, mass organisations, civil rights groups, fact finding team reports and other such documents received from within the country and abroad. A cursory glance through the section provides examples of basic democratic rights being routinely denied. Take the following sample.

The State of Democracy

On 18th September, 2013 Sati Prasad is arrested without any warrant for planning a protest against Reliance power plant in Sasan, Madhya Pradesh. Prasad is the leader of a local labour union which has been demanding that their employment be regularised, that those who were evicted during the construction of the plant be given compensation, etc. The said protest was to take place on 20th September. After Prasad’s arrest on 18th, on 19th September agitated villagers marched to the factory gate. They were threatened by the sub-divisional magistrate with section 144. Two organisers were arrested. Police did not even inform on what charges these three people were held.

On 1st August, 2013 Jayeeta Das was arrested by plainclothes policemen at a market place in south Kolkata. Flouting Supreme Court guidelines, her relatives were not informed of the detention for hours on end. Nor were the designation or insignia of police officers shown when the arrest was made. No memo of arrest was prepared, no signature of the arrestee or witness was recorded. A search of her house was subsequently carried out, without any search warrant.

Charges brought against Jayeeta are equally Kafkaesque. She is alleged to have been active in Nonadanga, Kamduni and Nandigarm movements. What were these movements about? In Nonadanga slum dwellers were resisting eviction. The slum dwellers came from varied backgrounds. Some have been roaming the underbelly of Kolkata for decades, setting up ramshackle shacks on overlooked land by canal or railway tracks before being thrown out as the city gentrifies. Some have migrated to the city from the Sunderbans after the Aila cyclone of 2009 devastated farmland and livelihoods there. It is rumoured that the Nonadanga land would be handed over to real estate developers. The anti-eviction resistance was treated with police action. Scores of shanty dwellers of Nonadanga were arrested (toddlers included). Six activists belonging to various rights groups and mass organisations were kept in police custody for weeks. The police said that Maoists had set up a den in Nonadanga.

In Kamduni village near Kolkata protests erupted when a college girl was abducted, raped and murdered. It’s alleged that the perpetrators were under Trinamul Congress protection. The chief minister had to face difficult, non-planted questions from women when she visited the turbulent village. Mamata characteristically dubbed them CPI(M) and Maoist supporters out to defame the ruling party. The charge against Jayeeta is that she has been active in these two movements.

Ironically, she is accused to have been active in Nandigram. Lest we forget, when the anti-land acquisition movement was at its peak in 2007, the Left Front government alleged that Maoists have set up base in Nandigram. Six years on, after Nandigram, Singur, Lalgarh movements have been wrung dry; after every killing, torture, rape of resisters by CPI(M) mercenaries and police has been traded for votes cementing Mamata’s ascent to the throne it is now her party’s turn to play the thug of the ruling class. So, the allegation that Jayeeta was active in Nandigram is not that bizarre after all. Given a chance, today’s Mamata, the chief minister of West Bengal of the Union of India, would arrest Mamata, the Nandigram-agitator. The institutions which secure ruling class’s interests have remained intact. They ensure that individuals who are at the helm, be it Buddhadeb or Mamata, do the right thing.

Related to Jayeeta’s arrest is the detention of Himadri Sekhar Bhattacharya of Krantikari Naujawan Sabha (KNS) and Mrinal Kanti Jana, a political activist and film maker. On 22nd July, 2013 both were picked up by the West Bengal police from northern suburbs of Kolkata. While they were being interrogated in police station crowds gathered outside. It is due to constant pressure from the crowd that the police eventually released them. Both have been active in Kamduni protests. Himadri had organized a successful protest meeting in the heart of Kolkata. No charges were leveled against them. The purpose of the detention was simply to intimidate.

In Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, space for democratic dissent was similarly elusive. People who were protesting against the setting up a nuclear plant faceed charges of sedition. As many as 8000 people were booked under this offence. The prime minster Dr. Manmohan Singh claimed that foreign-backed NGO’s were behind the protests. A Fukushima survivor who was to visit Koodankulam was denied visa. A German anti-nuclear activist was detained and summarily deported.

On 21st July, 2013 in the Kathikudam village of Thrissur district of Kerala, the police assaulted villagers. They entered houses, destroyed property, arrested many, including women and children. The charge was that villagers had removed the effluent pipe of Nitta Gelatin company (NGIL). The pipe passed through the land of a person (who did not give his consent for laying down the pipe) and panchayati land (neither did the panchayat give permission). The NGIL is a joint venture of Kerala Industrial Development Corporation and two Japanese corporations. Each day its plant uses “130 tons of crushed animal bones, 1,20,000 liters of hydrochloric acid, and 20 tons of lime. It also uses ferric chloride, alum, caustic soda and other unknown chemicals. It has been discharging large quantity of toxic effluents in river Chalakudy, main source of drinking water in nearby areas and distributing sludges as fertiliser to farmers in nearby villages.” Protests against the plant for polluting the environment have been going on for some time. The densely populated locality has huge tanks storing 30 lakhs liters of hydrochloric acid of the plant.

In all these incidents protestors played by the book. They expressed dissent using legitimate means. The State, to serve the interest of capital or to protect its goons, resorted to repression. It can be argued that there are many protests which go unhindered, their organisers are not persecuted, why are we not discussing them? But there could also be many which were suppressed and were not reported in Sanhati. Cities in India are eating up space of dissent. At times, quite literally. Places where protests are allowed are shrinking. The police is becoming more reluctant to give permission to hold demonstrations, meetings. Gentrified India has little patience for obstructionists.

It is to be noted that the troubled limbs of the body politic have not been discussed here. Laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act which are imposed in those areas are more obvious examples of democracy being held in suspended animation. The above examples belong to here, the heart of the body, right here where the extraction of surplus value goes on almost uninterrupted, where capital and state are on a sure footing. Should not that degree of security have translated in toleration of jhandawalas and their attendant jholawalas? If rights are granted more in the breach in places where their most favourable conditions exist, their wellbeing in troubled parts is understandable. More importantly for our present discussion, what of the movements for extending these rights? Do such endeavours materialise into bourgeois democratic rights? Above examples tend to give a negative answer. But does not AAP’s success indicate that a space may be found if innovative means are deployed?

The Revolutionary and the Aam Admi

The first obvious point is that the route from protest demonstrations to movements to social revolution cannot bypass a tryst with the State. The examples above underscore that the State is one of the biggest hurdles on the path of democratisation of society. Instead of being the guarantor of rights, the State is ready to extinguish them at the smallest excuse. This is not a novel point. It reiterates the basic Marxist position that the State is an instrument of class rule, not an institution to maintain balance between classes. Democratisation would put all classes on the same footing, the very anathema of domination by a particular class. So, the State blocks avenues of democratisation. In the process it reveals itself. We get a glimpse of what it is: a ruthless, violent instrument of class oppression. Such moments of unmasking could be shocking to those with liberal illusions. For the revolutionary Left, they are moments of tactical victory.

The anti-corruption demonstration of Anna Hazare et al. confronted numerous chicanery by the Central government and Delhi state government. AAP was formed in the aftermath of anti-corruption movement. It wanted to engage with the State in order to bring Swaraj (loosely translated: democratisation). This change of tactic from being a simple demonstrator (to compel the State machinery from outside) to forming a party (to change it from within) perhaps proves that the State as an instrument of oppression is not easy to coax. To engage with the State AAP had chosen the parliamentary route: contesting elections, passing pro-aam admi legislations. The extraordinary power that business groups wield through financing of political parties is well-known. Expectedly, many were skeptical of AAP’s experiment. To its credit AAP surprised them by its performance.

Rights-walas are often found in cozy proximity of pro-status quo political parties. As if lobbying for legislation of rights is all that is important – politics is not consequential. Unlike them AAP has taken its politics seriously. In short, AAP should be commended because its engagement with the State is overboard, unlike rights-walas who invest heavily for securing seats in this or that durbar. It recognises the importance of a political party.

But what of the politics? What kind of demands is AAP raising? Here one begins to see why AAP’s success can not be replicated by Left parties. AAP wants to eradicate corruption in provisions of (mostly government) services. It demands provision of basic amenities at affordable prices. These are important issues. They deal with the day to day living of urban middle and lower-middle class. A political movement must take these as the starting point. There is no reason to sneer at the day-to-day travails of the middle class. The petty bourgeoisie is an important constituent of the ‘basic classes’ which is capable of bringing about New Democracy.

As Mao wrote, the petty bourgeoisie, along with the working class, are creations of a new society. This is a society which is different from the feudal society. One may question if the old Marxist schema of industrial capitalism demolishing feudal mores is valid in the twenty-first century when industries are on the backfoot, the trajectory from agriculture is more towards services sector. But it cannot be denied perhaps that the urban middle class (industrial or otherwise) is freer from traditional prejudice compared to their rural agrarian counterpart. They have to be engaged with. Fight for their interest is intertwined with the fight for democratisation.

But is that all there is to it? Does ideology not matter when the demand is for education or medical facilities? This again is an old question. Communist movement formulates the above as minimum programme. But these do not complete the conceptual grid of communist politics. Minimum demands are bereft of an impulse for revolutionary change. Their ‘economism’ focuses on the immediate, it is unable to look ahead and therefore incapable to chart out a course of action which would fulfill the minimum demands even. Transformative revolutionary politics combines the minimum programme with the maximum programme for socialism. Without the latter compass the former is bound to flounder. This is why the politics of AAP, the so-called post-ideological politics, is limited in its vision. By focusing on the immediate it fails to see the plot. Since it has no capacity (or willingness) to think beyond the present structure, its reformist vision willy-nilly ends up aligning with the status quo.

To give an example, low power tariff for the needy is a minimum demand. As logical extension of this demand, AAP demanded audit of accounts of private power companies. They are alleged to have had cut shady deals with the government to jack up tariff rate. But AAP’s logical progression seems to have got stalled there. It does not ask: why such deals are common between big companies and governments? [5] Why is the aam admi too poor to pay power bills? Is there a connection between the wealth of rich men who make those deals with the poverty of the aam admi? In which direction does a more rational system lay? Repeating Swaraj to each of the above is not helpful at all [6].

On the other hand, an ardent search for answers could take AAP deeper. It would enable them to move away from the one-point inane agenda of fighting corruption. Who is not against corruption? Even the Hindutva brigade is mighty upset about it. Corruption, at the end of the day, is a symptom. The real test lays in coming up with the diagnosis of the disease. As AAP reneges on the promise to regularise casual workers its politics becomes suspect. AAP’s silence on Muzaffarnagar riots or Maruti workers’ struggle is loud. Perhaps AAP is too naive or conflicted to diagnose the disease behind corruption. More sinisterly, perhaps it is does not want to diagnose at all.

From the above, it should be obvious that AAP is no force to transform the system. It has a limited agenda, much of which would be on the agenda of a Left party. AAP can be given the benefit of doubt of being a social democratic force [7]. It is raising important issues, the issues have a democratic content reflected in the rousing support the party received from the urban middle and lower middle class pushed to the wall by backbreaking inflation and indifferent job prospects. This constituency incidentally has rarely been mobilised by revolutionary Left politics. So, there are lessons to be learnt. In the final analysis however myopic democracy is no democracy at all. Not only does AAP’s democracy not go deeper than power bills, it does not dare to venture into Kashmir valley either.

The over-ground communists may not have raised the minimum demands forcefully or sincerely enough [8]. To that extent Sen is correct. On the other hand, Maoists, it has been reported, have paid attention to them. One of the first steps that Maoists take after entering a rural region is to hold medical camps. This attention has not been restricted to provision of services. In a recent article anthropologist Alpa Shah writes,

[A]ll other developmental functions of the government have been allowed, even encouraged – the functioning of schools, hospitals, developmental schemes such as the building of wells etc. And indeed it is in fact highly probable that without the Maoist mass mobilisation activities, many villagers in these areas would not be as aware as they are of the many faces of the Indian state – from the nation-wide National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, NREGA, (which gives them a guaranteed 100 days of wage work a year), to their food rights through the Public Distribution System..[9]

Differences notwithstanding, communists, both Maoists and the over-ground official ones, have clearer answers to the questions listed above. The answers shape their maximum demands.

Paradoxically, their answers work against them. The answers put them in direct confrontation with capital, with its logic of accumulation. Once exploitation of labour is put to question, owners of media houses raise the flag. At best total blackout, at worst, attack from all institutions of the State follows [10]. The space of democracy which is granted to AAP because of its silences, and worse, support for capitalists, is denied to revolutionary politics because it has the audacity to speak truth to power.

Endnotes:

[1] In an interview published in the Anandabazar Patrika on 8th January, 2014 Amartya Sen made this charge: http://www.anandabazar.com/archive/1140108/8edit3.html . This was not the first time he did so. Nor was it going to be the last time. Subsequently, in the keynote address at the Jaipur Literature Festival he made the same point.
[2] http://www.livemint.com/Politics/1bZ8xwxxvBEixvx3DzgcRK/AAP-does-not-believe-in-any-isms-says-Yogendra-Yadav.html
[3] It is not a matter of coincidence that many leaders of the AAP are from NGO activism background.
[4] Section 144 of Indian penal code: “…Whoever, being armed with any deadly weapon, or with anything which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
[5] Take the infamous deal between Enron and Maharashtra government for example.
[6] The 22 page long constitution of AAP and its vision statement have catch phrases, inanities, but lack substance.
[7] This too can become trying at times. Speaking at a CII meet, Kejriwal assured the capitalists’ lobby group that he was not against capitalism, but against crony capitalism (he used the term ‘business’). He soothed their nerves further by declaring that the government has not business to be in business, it should be left to private players.
[8] Sorry state of education and health in West Bengal ruled by self-proclaimed communists for three decades is an example. Kerala, a Left-ruled state, has performed better in this count. Which perhaps explains why they are relatively well-placed there.
[9] “The tensions over liberal citizenship in a Marxist revolutionary situation: The Maoists in India,” Critique of Anthropology, 2013. Shah goes on to criticise such moves. For these, according to her, end up extending legitimacy to the present State through promotion of bourgeois democratic rights. Our argument here is evidently different from hers.
[10] AAP tasted orchestrated hostility when their Delhi government disallowed foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

[The author thanks the Sanhati editorial team for suggestions on an earlier draft.]

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Respite for Corporates – The Damning Mysteries of the 2011 Anti-Corruption Campaign

By Aditya Velivelli. January 2015.

If a government is slow to give them [Corporates] the policy breaks that they demand … [they will] unleash civil unrest on this or that pretext. There is always the age old anger against “corruption” to be tapped. Adviser to Prime Minister of India, 2009-2012

“We’re going to make a campaign out of Anna Hazare.”Times Now TV anchor, just before the Hazare Fast began

Post-campaign bailed out corporations: “Reliance ADA, Vedanta Resources, Essar, Adani Group, Jaypee Group, JSW, GMR, Lanco, Videocon and GVK”.

India Inc bullied the administration — and by extension, government-owned banks — into extending yet more concessions and ever more loans without a murmur.The Hindu’s Business Line, January 1, 2014.

One year after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed the Delhi Government, Delhi is once again witnessing election campaigning due to AAP’s decision to quit in Feb 2014.

AAP’s 49 days of governance in Delhi was marked by 3 events: 1) An AAP leader’s assault on innocent African students, 2) AAP’s demand for removal of a dutiful police officer and 3) AAP’s impossible proposal for Lokpal used as an excuse to quit Government.

There is much fallacy in the logic of AAP’s defenders. One journalist blamed “representative democracy” for the assault on the African female students:

As their elected representative, Somnath Bharti with all his vigilante zeal was doing what representative democracy makes representatives do.

Perhaps this journalist should apply the same logic of “representative democracy” to the politicians who led mobs during the 2002 Gujarat massacre and the 1984 Delhi massacre.

Investigations revealed that the African students targeted by the AAP led mob were completely innocent of AAP’s allegations. And just as it was alleged about Africans in Khirki, students from Northeast-India face similar allegations:

The locals believe we drink all the time, return home late at night, have casual sex, and hence landlords have a right to throw us out at their whim.

AAP’s blatant attack on the African students has contributed to an increase in violent racist attacks in Delhi during 2014 compared to 2013 and earlier. Not prosecuting AAP leaders has also contributed to an increasing boldness on the part of racist attackers like those who attacked Africans at a Delhi metro station in September.

After being sworn in as Delhi CM, Kejriwal said Jan Lokpal Bill, was the “most important issue” on the agenda of his government. A few days before this statement, a journalist wrote an article titled “How Lokpal can prevent rape?”

The journalist’s friends were aghast at the premise of this article. One of them asked, “… cops being uncorrupt would prevent them [rapes] from occurring?”

Perhaps this conversation should summarize why the Jan Lokpal Bill was not important enough for a government to quit. But Kejriwal did quit using the failure to table the bill as an excuse. Hindustan Times noted why

“In a way, the exit plan was discussed threadbare and was ready from the time AAP decided to form the government,” said a party source.

AAP lost the national elections badly enough for The Hindu to conclude

As the party decided not to contest the Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, where most of its leaders from outside Delhi belong to, there is little scope to guess its political strength in its current shape.

That this would be said within 8 months of AAP’s win in Delhi is all the more stunning considering the various media pronouncements at that time about AAP becoming the chief national rival to the BJP.

The unruly and dishonest nature of AAP’s governance in Delhi would have been anticipated had people delved a little deeper into the 2011 anti-corruption campaign.

2010 was a special year. Elected governments in Europe were being replaced with those run by technocrats selected by the European banking system. The cause was the default and impending default of sovereign debt. In this backdrop, the IMF was putting pressure on India to reduce its external debt and to reduce government subsidies.

The private corporations in India constituted a large portion of the external debt and were in danger of not meeting payment obligations. Indian State Banks’ balance sheets were loaded with bad debt from large Indian corporates leading to constant infusions of State money into the banks to keep them afloat.

Corruption became the great weapon of diversion from the precarious financial situation of large Indian Corporates.

Although 2G scam came into public view by Jan 2009, it was not until July 2010 that the first stirrings of an anti-corruption campaign took hold. The audit report on the Delhi commonwealth games was leaked “perfectly” in time for the anti-corruption campaigners. A few months later in November 2010, more “fodder to the fire” was added by the leaked Radia tapes. Tata Industries chairman later stated that the Radia tapes were leaked by rival corporations, presumably those in financial dire straits seeking to take the heat off themselves.

The 2010 anti-corruption campaigners were not new to the game. They were originally RTI campaigners who had campaigned against bribes in 2006 with help from NDTV and funding from the neoliberal Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Kejriwal himself had undergone training with Friedrich Naumann sometime before 2006.

In July 2010, the anti-corruption campaigners brought out of the woodwork, a monstrosity called Lokpal. Lokpal was slated to be an institution led by technocrats (remember Europe?) who in turn were to be selected by “upright civil society” members and members of the judiciary and political parties. This monstrosity was to be a GIANT addition to the bureaucracy in India, albeit with Police State like powers to prosecute judges, politicians, and bureaucrats. No mention of prosecuting corporates however!

In September 2010, ipaidabribe.com was launched with Omidyar money as a precursor to the Lokpal campaign. At the same time, Kejriwal  “hijacked” the corruption issue from NCPRI leaving the other smug Lokpal campaigners Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander high and dry. After breaking off with the smug liberals, Kejriwal and Anna Hazare strategised with Baba Ramdev, whom the RSS had urged to collaborate with Hazare and Kejriwal.

In September 2010, a Times news editor, Chauhan was busy building facebook pages calling them “Commonwealth Jhel” (Commonwealth Suffers).  Kejriwal hooked up with Chauhan and others in October 2010 and started ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC) and converted the “Commonwealth Jhel” to the IAC page.

Not surprisingly, the IAC facebook page morphed into a Modi fanboys page in 2012 and Chauhan today works for the public relations dept. of Reliance Industries. Kejriwal himself has morphed into a Modi acolyte.

Mystery 1

 
The Lokpal campaign technically started with Anna Hazare’s fast on April 5, 2011. The attendance on the first day of the fast was less than 100 people at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar grounds. PTI noted “scores of people”. On the second day, it was around 300 people. Many attending the fast were part of Baba Ramdev’s group and the remaining were individuals demonstrating for separate causes at Jantar Mantar.

And yet, by April 6, Times Now TV was proclaiming this fast to be India’s Tahrir square thus putting into practice Arnab Goswami’s pre-fast pledge of “making a campaign out of Anna Hazare”. The middle classes started coming to Jantar Mantar from April 7 onwards due to the time-lag effect of the saturation media coverage. When Hazare ended his fast on April 8, Arnab Goswami asked Anupam Kher “Do you think WE would have won tonight when Anna makes a detailed statement?”

By using ‘WE’ and ‘WON’, Goswami demonstrated his and by extension the media’s thorough involvement in publicising and lionising the Lokpal campaign.

During an interview with Hazare on April 5 evening, the NDTV anchor told Hazare that people came out in support of the fast in “400 cities/town”. At the same time, headlines on the screen screamed: “Lakhs join drive against corruption”. How did NDTV get these numbers?

Veteran journalist Harish Khare took to task NDTV and journalists such as Arnab Goswami for “cheerfully strategising with the India against Corruption crowd” and for “crossing the thin line between journalism and political partisanship”.

Senior journalist Nupur Basu wrote about the media’s role during the April fast:

Most channels endorsed the campaign and anchors openly urged people to come and join Anna’s campaign. Anchors and reporters had become campaigners and activists. On talk shows author Chetan Bhagat was brandishing a tattoo on his arm which read ”Mera Neta Chor hain”.

As it turned out, while the media was lionising the Lokpal movement in April 2011, they were also in deep trouble and desperately scouting for cash infusions from foreign and domestic corporates. Sevanti Ninan, a longtime reporter for The Hindu on media matters wrote on the website Hoot.com when The Hindu refused to publish her piece:

One by one, India’s original TV entrepreneurs who grew at an impressive pace, are being bailed out by big business. Financial unviability is today the chief hallmark of the TV news business which is tottering, even as it grabs eyeballs and mind space

Mr. Khare who has been a keen observer and writer of Indian politics for well over 3 decades wrote that Hazare was never more than a “minor nuisance to Maharashtra’s highly contaminated politicians and bureaucracy”. Mr. Khare asks “who decided that Anna Hazare be pitch-forked on to the national stage.”

Part of the answer to this lies in a marketing video put out by the Kejriwal associated NGO Kabir in late February 2011. This clever Ford Foundation funded marketing video by NGO Kabir shows Hazare in an Obama-like visage. Snippets of this video were later used to promote Hazare’s upcoming fast. In the new video, children were made to speak out about Lokpal. As if children would know how a democracy functions or what exactly the Lokpal Bill was demanding.

To buttress the point on Kejriwal being the brains and therefore the one who drafted the demands:

“OK,” Kejriwal said, almost shouting Hazare down. “We’ll talk about it some other time.” Hazare didn’t speak another word after that, eating his plate of rice and dal in silence.

By August 2011, it was clear that India’s top corporates required a bailout

India’s banks have begun sending out warning signals that a credit crisis worse than the one in 2008 could be just around the corner, according to analysts, bankers and credit rating agencies. Non-performing assets are on the rise and have started showing up on Indian banks’ balance sheets.

Media companies were being bailed out by corporations which in turn would get bailed out by a government that was being attacked by these same media companies.

It is very clear that NDTV lied about the numbers on the first day of the Hazare fast in April 2011. The numbers it claimed were a factor 1000X the actual numbers. Similarly Times Now TV made up an “Indian Tahrir Square” campaign where there was none.

Mystery 2

The ending of the Lokpal (anti-corruption agency) campaign in December 2011 is shrouded in mystery. The same media that showered attention on the Hazare fast in April 2011, tried its best to ignore the mysteriously shifted (Delhi to Mumbai) Hazare fast in December.

The number of people who showed up for the first two days of the fast in Mumbai was much higher (Thousands) than those who showed up the first two days (Hundreds) of the fast in Delhi in April 2011. And yet the media lionized the April fast, while it downplayed the December fast.

NDTV which gave its own [entirely false] estimates for the first day of the April fast as “hundreds of thousands”, this time just quoted the police figures of 7 thousand attendees for the December fast.

Arnab Goswami, a Times Now TV anchor who decided to lionize Hazare’s April 2011 fast even before it began, now turned on Hazare and asked: Are the methods of Anna Hazare & his team justified?

From Hero to Zero: Media Now Pans Hazare summarized Hazare’s fall in the media.

Kejriwal’s actions in December 2011 were quite puzzling. Only 12 days before the scheduled fast on December 27, Kejriwal and team decided to shift the venue to Mumbai. Why they decided to shift away from Delhi is highly mystifying because Delhi contained their most vociferous supporters. Kejriwal and team claimed that Delhi is chilly at this time, but that does not sound as a credible explanation. If they were concerned about winter and chill, they would not wait until 12 days before the scheduled date to make a change.

It is also not clear why Kejriwal and team set up a ‘Jail Bharo’ or ‘fill the jails’ campaign just 4 days before the December 27 fast only to scuttle it on December 28.

100,000 people signed up for ‘jail bharo’ or ‘fill the jails’ and must have been pumped up to get into action for what they thought was a great objective.

When Mr. Kejriwal withdrew the ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign on December 28, it amounted to a sabotage or at the very least an intentional winding down of the of the Lokpal campaign with help from the media.

What was the final result of the 2011 campaign? Did they achieve what they set out to do? A big NO. The Lokpal Bill tabled in parliament was far from what Kejriwal and team demanded. A question that remains unanswered: Why did Kejriwal start the December 2011 campaign only to quit abruptly and without explanation?

Something else occurred on December 28, 2011. In an interview, the Deputy MD of State Bank of India mentioned plans of “resorting to internal restructuring as well as corporate debt restructuring to help corporates get over the hump.”

How did it get to this point?

Indian business has been on a decade-long binge, more than doubling its debt to 50 per cent of gross domestic product last year. This jump has been especially pronounced among its 10 most indebted conglomerates: the likes of Adani, Essar or Vedanta, which owe more than $100bn.

India Inc’s debt required restructuring for them to stay afloat and avoid bankruptcy. Guess what happened in 2012:

“We are seeing an extraordinary rise in the number and volume of loans being restructured,” Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor K.C. Chakrabarty said in Mumbai Aug. 11. “It appears that the provisions of the corporate debt-restructuring mechanism have not been used very ethically and judiciously.”

The amount of debt restructured in FY 2012-2013 was 10X times the amount of debt restructured in FY 2010-2011.

In a follow-up to Dr. Chakrabarty’s comments, the CBI conducted enquiries into fraud:

A bulk of the public sector bank non-performing assets (NPAs), which is under the Central Bureau of Investigation scrutiny for suspected wilful misappropriation of public money running into thousands of crores, is on account of debt repayment defaults by 30 corporate majors

A Bloomberg.com article wondered aloud why a Batiste type implosion did not happen to Indian Billionaires

An August report titled “House of Debt — Revisited” from Credit Suisse Group AG reveals that 10 of India’s biggest industrial conglomerates, including Anil Ambani’s Reliance companies, Ravikant Ruia’s Essar Power Ltd., Gautam Adani’s Adani Power Ltd. and the Essar Group, had combined gross debts of more than $100 billion. Much of this debt — the highest leverage since the late 1990s — is denominated in foreign currency. 

So could the next Batista-style implosion occur in India?

The answer to this question is a NO. And why it is so, is explained by a source to Financial Times:

“It really is a bit like a Ponzi scheme,” says one senior figure at a large international company based in India, describing the way some larger companies are able repeatedly to restructure loans with state-backed banks, which in turn are periodically recapitalised by infusions of government money.

Despite being bailed out by the Congress led government, the Corporates had no compunction in working to defeat the Congress led alliance in 2014. As Harish Khare put it:

“The very rogue elements that were financing and strategising the anti-corruption “movement” are now energetically financing and strategising the “Modi wave”

Of course the magnitude of the Congress defeat had nothing to do with the Corporates financing and strategising the “modi wave”, but had more to do with the cowardice exhibited by the Congress government in bending to the corporates.

India Inc bullied the administration — and by extension, government-owned banks — into extending yet more concessions and ever more loans without a murmur.

A social activist in the Gujarat massacre relief camps had this to say when the Congress Party failed to win a single Parliamentary constituency in Gujarat for the first time in history:

“AAP is like the B-team of the BJP. Look at the results. BJP swept Gujarat for the first time. I blame AAP. They split the vote.”

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Corruption and the ‘broom’

By Alok Bhattacharya. Original publication: January 2014. http://sanhati.com/excerpted/9056/

The ‘broom’ is out, out in the centre stage. Recent political news in the country is splashed with the phenomenon of corruption and the ‘broom’ that has emerged as the election symbol to shoulder the onus of driving corruption out of the country. In a distant simile, people familiar with the cartoons that came up just after October revolution in Russia in 1917 may recall a poster where Lenin was shown to drive capitalists out of the globe with a long broom in his hands. The current chief minister of Delhi obviously does not have such lofty preoccupation or volition – his declaration is much simpler to understand, he wants all corrupt people identified by one “Jan Lokpal” to be sent to jail. This is a more innocuous prescription than the thunder of the first prime minister of the country who fancied a new utilization of the lamp posts by hanging the corrupt onto them. Later, his worthy daughter during her prime ministerial tenure realized that corruption is a global phenomenon that needs adjustments starting from daily life of the ordinary to more serious state matters such as the so-called “Bofors scam” that came out during the time her elder son held the office of Prime Minister. The word “scam” became an integral part of political vocabulary of this country after the purchase of Bofors canons from the Swedish firm in late eighties. Now, we cannot even keep track of endless such scams such as “Coal Block scam”, “2G scam”, “CWG scam”, “VIP chopper scam”, “Tetra truck deal scam”, etc., etc., whose mind boggling figures in crores of rupees would make even the dead middleman of “Bofors scam” shy in his grave.

Still the broom is out in this world full of cynicism and nonchalance. It is out in the hands of people of Delhi who turned up in hordes to jam the polling booths of Delhi assembly election. Voting continued till late evening with a remarkable 72% of electorate casting their votes in a largely peaceful election to give ‘broom’ a chance to weed out corruption from Delhi’s public life. The impact of ‘broom’ in Delhi in national news is such that a three times elected chief minister from Madhya Pradesh who won convincingly on a social welfare plank for the poor or another feisty lady who ran through the fortress of election promises of previous government in Rajasthan have no presence in national news scene. Even their prime ministerial candidate whose daily calumny was always the first news in boldest headlines suddenly finds himself in the midst of new strategy planning sessions. His think-tank seems to have urgent need of refueling! It is now a fierce competition among the protégés and their proclamations – who will be the best actor in the drama of fight against corruption! “Catch the Delhi mood” is the current catchword of all political parties jumping in the arena of elections!

Like every mass upsurge, the events in Delhi have also a beginning – that is the parade of ordinary people of all walks of life in Ramlila Maidan in August 2011 centering around the fasting symbol of anti-corruption movement. The very image of an octogenarian fasting calmly with a firm resolve of demanding Lokpal to end corruption and graft in public life caught the imagination of common urban people. It is no denying that relentless and widespread coverage of the live scenes of fasting and speeches made at Ramlila Maidan along with organized presence and backing of right wing organizations galvanized the crowds in Ramlila Maidan, but that alone does not explain the momentum and nor was the principal reason behind gathering of people’s wrath. Suddenly people of Delhi discovered the language and expressions of protest, suddenly issues lying at the heart of people started finding new language of outburst. The institutions and symbols of power seemed easy to reach and near to be challenged. The mighty czars of power whose initial response was arresting the anti-corruption crusader on the eve of fast came to their knees when they started negotiating with complete outsiders to draft the provisions of Lokpal bill anew bypassing the parliament and the politicians therein. The parliament and state came to Ramlila Maidan for making peace with the octogenarian, government came to the stage of fasting with folded hands, and the urban civil society went back home sensing a moral victory over a Government that became synonymous with shielding the breed of corrupt politicians.

The fateful event of death of a young paramedic girl in December 2012 out of brutal rape by the scum of Delhi in a cold, wintry night in a private bus covered with all tinted glasses added a new dimension in the protestive mood of people. New motifs of protests erupted, young population in Delhi looked rebellious who even broke the barricades before the palace of President braving the chilly winter of Delhi, chased the then chief minister of Delhi away, in fact started questioning every mandarin of power, and targeted every “VIP”. For a brief interval of a week the sprawling lawns from India Gate to the seats of government power were filled with wandering hordes of youth whose wrath against police, administration, and politicians reminded the Tiananmen Square of Beijing, May 1989 or the very recent Tahrir Square of Cairo, February 2011. Most important, sensing the mood of protest the state machinery subsided to the role of a mere onlooker and an apologist knowing fully well that any repressive measure will bring the youth to a path of open revolt. The protests will no longer remain cordoned by the issue of security of womanhood in society; it will snowball towards open revolt against the insensitive, corrupt state machinery.

Both these two momentous events in quick succession paved towards political formation as a logical conclusion for the more confronting section of the civil society movement. The more aggressive section of the movement against corruption who demanded the “JanLokpal” sensed widespread disgust and vengeance of people of Delhi from all walks of life those are splurging out of the arena of traditional issue based civil liberty movement. The aspirations in the minds of people were asking for transparent answers to all burning issues of public life those cannot be sheltered only in TV debates nor could be couched only in sophisticated arguments and speeches against corruption by media experts. All these issues be it exorbitant and arbitrary power tariffs, scanty or no supply of water and widespread money making by musclemen out of water scarcity enjoying the protection of state, skyrocketing prices of daily vegetables, total insecurity of the millions living in shanties who thronged and barged in the capital in lure of livelihood were compounding, looking for somebody who can boldly declare “it is now enough – we need to have life”.

The “broom” seemed to be the most convincing symbol to these millions who switched traditional loyalties along caste, regional or communal lines by a huge swing of voting to reject soundly and convincingly the ruling dispensation in the throne of power for fifteen years in a row. It became voting not only against shielding the corrupt in public life, it became an assertion for the “aam admi” against the established norms of politicking when regular chest thumpers and brazen money bags had to eat the dust. The huge assemblage of people in the swearing in of ministers in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on 28th December 2013 probably had no parallel in Delhi. People were not ferried in hired transports of tycoons of political parties in the ceremony. They came spontaneously, lustily cheering the announcement from the new chief minister that the “aam admi” of Delhi became ministers on that occasion.

Here unfolded the true fallacy in the drama of public life! People went home from the public ceremony with the satisfaction that now “aam admi” will have say in governance – in fact, they were not looking at mirage. Within next two days came the announcement that water supply of 20 Kiloliters a month for all citizens will be free from the New Year till the end of financial year, next came 50% reduction in power tariff till the auditing of power supply companies are done by CAG. We may look for several such windfall announcements for the people of Delhi in the coming days demonstrating that Aam Admi Party (AAP) led government is working for the “aam admi”. People are made to believe that if a bunch of messiahs with strong intent come to power to serve and improve the basic issues of people’s living, it is possible to make the state machinery work for the people.

Old timers in Bengal will recall such good intention of protecting workers’ rights of trade union and living were proclaimed from the rotunda of Writers’ Buildings in 1977 and how the fate of industrial workers’ were sealed in the next three decades. Granting rights of tilling for the share croppers made waves in “operation barga” of 1978 those swept the panchayat elections of rural Bengal ushering the rule of so called “left front” for 35 years. Such lofty proclamations from the verandahs of power even in the new “paribartan” regime in Bengal are bitterly experienced among the landholders of Singur whose fate is now bitterly locked in lingering court room battles. The new Delhi government has a stiff challenge – they have a got a very small time window before the general election is announced for which green room rehearsals are now reaching at their peak for all the political parties to come out with all sorts of make believe promises. The current dispensation in Delhi government got evolved from a movement that lives closer to people’s daily needs and practices, therefore the pressure of expectations on the shoulders of AAP are also reaching astounding proportions for speedy and effective relief as they are now ambitious to be a big player in the theatre of general election.

But what is the fallacy there? What is wrong if a people’s movement outside the arena of corrupt and insensitive establishment can take on the establishment and try to orient the machinery of state towards the burning needs of the millions? What is wrong in the sudden change of gear of the debating experts of media that the rainbow of issues such as development and derivatives of growth rate, inflation and terrorism, uncertainty in the fluctuations of financial markets or insurgency in the north-east or Kashmir are no more topics of their burning debating points? All are riveted to the question whether the Delhi government be able to deliver its eighteen promises or not. It may not require lengthy explanations at least to the people of Bengal to answer the questions above. Suffice it to say that the color of flag does not matter when talking of reliefs to the people.

People in Bengal experienced the bitter shattering of dreams by allowing a dispensation to do this experimentation for more than three decades continuously and now going through the results of change for last two years where gimmicks are offered in lieu of reliefs. Quick announcement of relief from the current Delhi Government was possible not only because there is plenty in the coffers of Delhi state exchequer that states like Bengal could never boast of, but also because of the fact that being the capital of India the state government has very little to bear in terms of expenses. Otherwise it cannot be explained how the central government could grant such huge largesse for the commonwealth games held in Delhi in October 2010. When work on the Commonwealth Games began in 2006 the budget of the mega event was Rs. 22,000 crores. Four years later the budget was Rs. 30,000 crores. It was swollen by nearly 40 percent forcing the Delhi government to increase taxes and roll back crucial subsidies. Only the Commonwealth Village had a budget of Rs. 465 crores in 2004 and on the eve of the games it was Rs. 1400 crores showing how the budget of an international game event could jump by 40% as a fait accompli to brazen swindling by daylight.

Chorus of power tariff reduction is getting hoarser day by day from the vocal sections of the party who originally coined the ‘aam admi’ symbol seeing in horror that the plank is being hijacked by rank outsiders to the game of politicking. Government in the adjacent state of Haryana announced big reduction in electricity bill immediately after the announcement from Delhi state government followed by Maharastra state government. Lest we forget, free electricity for big kulaks in rural Punjab, for sugarcane lobbys in western UP or western Maharastra, free irrigation water are major planks of ruling parties of Maharastra and Punjab for so many years after the ‘green revolution’. In the granary of paddy cultivation of Chattisgarh state the three times winning chief minister is known as “Chawalbaba” for distribution of rice at Rs.2 a kilo even before the food security bill is passed in the parliament with great fanfare.

The biggest fallacy is all that the new Delhi government can afford to do is to subsidize the living cost of people. Even if they are able to implement their eighteen points program it would be no better than the so called “twenty point program” of emergency days or very recent slew of offerings from the central government. Therefore, in the competitive game of one upmanship in an election year the reliefs announced to the people of Delhi will soon get blurred in the cacophony of promises those will be made and will be claimed as results of implementation of pro-poor policies. They will soon turn out to be the same old blurred colors as like the first panchayat election in rural Bengal meant to be leverage of power to people soon metamorphosed in producing village musclemen holding and deciding the purse strings of government funds. In fact, the much touted story of India’s growth rate development in the last two decades is also the story of distribution of government funding in all sorts of social welfare measures starting from kanyadaan jojyana, free medicine distribution, free cycle distribution, free laptop distribution, free housing to the extent of free color tv distribution from various state governments. Each of these schemes of free distribution acts as local breeding pond of corruption among the distributors of such free bounties.

The other side of the story of development is that the central government had to bring in enormous amount of international finances to maintain and boast about the so called social welfare measures. The demands of international finance for unequivocal rights over the forestry, mineral resources, water resources, land resources and over the population by unbridled hike in inflation rates are now unbearable in terms of both natural and human resources. Therefore, the wrath of the people desperately now look for alternative avenues when it becomes public news that mandarins close to centers of power are able to make sunshine by their lobbying power and have a fair share of looting be it communication spectrum, coal, housing, power plants, steel plants, or whatever infrastructure be named. That alternative route may be taking guns in the jungles at one extreme or more assuredly by trying with AAP in parliamentary elections.

Let us take the issue of free water supply to hit more directly at the policies of AAP. It does not require more than common sense to realize that the tycoons of robbery living in palatial Delhi and the people living in the jhuggies of Simapuri or Trilokpuri who find it difficult to even arrange water after defecating in the open cannot have the same yardsticks of right to free water supply. Similarly, freedom and equality cannot have the same yardstick of application when talking of any of the basic social needs those are highlighted in the manifestos of AAP be it schooling of children, amenities towards healthcare, transport system of a metropolis. Even when one talks of corruption it is blatant hypocrisy to equate corruption of local traffic constable looking for weekly hafta that he sends through the channel of his superiors and the corruption of one of India’s biggest monopolists lobbying the prime minister for coal block allocation to his company. In the first case, being caught the constable gets suspended. In the second case, the whole spectrum of establishment starting from fellow monopolists to vocal commentators including the prime minister himself chide the so called autonomous agency of investigation for crossing the limit. The focus of attention for AAP is to obfuscate the very dichotomy of sky rocketing economic and social disparity that has grown enormously in the last two decades of urban growth of India. Their novel practice of bringing governance near to mohalla committees will not buy any better alternative than deciding municipal policies in the local congregation of people determined by the vested interests and the powerful in the locality.

It is important to emphasize that the media savvy vocal leaders of AAP never talk of corruption in defense purchases whereas this being one of the mothers of corruption in India’s economy – they only talk of corrupt practices of established political parties leaving one of the biggest chunk of corruption to continue under the garb of national security. They do not talk of the corruption of corporate lobbying, of the rule of middlemen operating through the special economic zones (SEZ), seizing vast tracks of forestry for the mining lobbies, power plant lobbies, automobile lobbies in the fear that may loose their “aam admi” support among the monopolists of India and international financial czars. Second, they never articulate what protection of living they will offer to the workers, say even in Delhi and Hariyana where vast sections of unorganized workers, migrant from their roots contribute significantly in the infrastructure developments while facing tyranny of their contractors in the workplace and of musclemen at their places of living. It is being widely touted that AAP are a strong contender of power in Haryana, a state government known for traditional highhandedness. What message can be understood about AAP’s total silence to the conditions of jailed, retrenched and ransacked workers of Maruti plant in Manser when it is publicized that the chief financial officer of Infosys or a big executive of royal Scotland bank, the owner of this country’s first cheap airlines Air Deccan are also now AAP protagonists!

Last three decades of practices of so many governments in so many states who come to power through popular mandate have shown those regimes very quickly take the position of being anti-worker and espouse anti-working class standpoint. It is important to show that political parties in the arena of elections have all sorts of promises for any number of strata of society specifically barring the workers with no promises to secure and uplift social conditions of workers. AAP is no exception in their attempt to offer a rainbow coalition of class interests as their electioneering agenda while of course continuing symbolic rejection of the trappings of “VIP culture”. In that sense, the current Bengal chief minister can readily boast of being more “aam admi” than her counterpart in Delhi while she continues to bring out most tyrannical dictations to the workers of Bengal including their organized sections in recent times. Even the fundamental rights of association of workers and employees in Bengal are now under threat, the leading members of its own government employees’ trade union association are forced to be transferred at different places in districts to keep them aloof from their trade union activities.

Is it then only another example of the more it changes the more it remains the same? This writing is not just to preach mere cynicism and indifference to a phenomenon that is now not only matter of talk shows but also is taking the shape of a national movement keeping the general election of 2014 in mind. It is important to underscore that AAP itself is a movement, the type of political discourse hitherto not seen in this country. In independent India’s past the movements of people particularly of urban youth were essentially guided by breakaway political parties, say the urban Naxalite movement of late sixties, the Navnirman movement in Gujarat, Bihar and other places in mid-seventies, or the anti-emergency underground struggles in urban India. Those were guided and led by people with long background in communist, socialist or right wing nationalist parties respectively. What we are witnessing is the outgrowth and extension of civil liberty movement that is trying to grapple with issues of statecraft and state policies those are essentially antagonistic and antithesis to the basic issues of urban working people particularly those living in the lower ladders of socio-economic strata. Irony is that the policies of the movement are guided by the same class interests those enjoy and nurture corruption and are intimately related to the same antagonistic economic and state policies.

The issues of living standards of workers, the issues of rights of working people, the issues of working class policy perspective in state and economic policies are shrouded and blurred in the amalgamation of class interests represented by the practices of AAP. The wave of support of urban youth to this “aam admi” movement who till now were flocking to right wing aggressiveness is a significant pointer to the basic failure of hitherto working class movement in India. It needs to be highlighted the even though all left parliamentary parties have their big headquarters in Delhi they could never get volunteers to articulate the aspirations of people living in the jhuggies of Simapuri like the way the winner of New Delhi constituency, the hotbed of the rich could do even though he and his party had no so called experience of leftism. On the other hand, it is also a pointer of education to them whose practice of democratization of India is centered in the armed training of jungle warfare, for them to realize that even contenders of civil liberty can sway, influence and carry forward the urban working people for forceful articulation of their expressions.

Somebody wrote in the early twentieth century, “theory is grey, green is the tree of life” – the movement inside AAP reflects fresh greenness of youthful activism that naturally tends to hit the establishment but as a fallacy actually strengthens the justification of existence of the establishment. It is rare and definitely a breaking ground when the chief minister of the city of the “powerful and elite” finds him powerless to confront the strong arm tactics of police, vouches to seize the seat of power by public demonstration of defiance to the system of which he and his government is very much part and parcel. The genuineness of protest against the corrupt, high handed, anti-social, arbitrary practices of policing in Delhi turns out to be an exciting street theatre as people witness practice of two –day governance on the street!

As natural fallout of stirring within the movement the cross currents of thoughts and divergence of views are widely coming out in the open from the leading lights of the party because the political party itself took birth out of articulation for changing the establishment. Witnessing the divergence of views that the movement within AAP can still withhold is a lesson for them who demand political parties to be monolithic goliaths away from the articulation and venting of people’s ire to the state machinery. That such articulation of divergence of opinion on policies does not weaken the confidence of youth in the party but rather encourages more to join the movement is a huge education to such hierarchically regimented political parties of establishment of both left and right wing varieties. The political parties of establishment have already started to ridicule the movement as “anarchy” fearing that all their edifices thoroughly weeded in hierarchical practices of exploitation may be demolished in the surge of public protest that they fear to the core. That such an urban movement could take a call over caste, region, linguistic or communal divides those long remained basic arithmetic for election considerations shows the inner urge of democratization in the society– but again taking route to the same institutions those nurture the most undemocratic practices in the country. The tall, vacuous urge of AAP is to gatecrash the parliamentary institutions for cleansing them from within remains itself the proof of litmus that these institutions remained practitioners of anti-democracy of horrific proportions. May be the belief is as much you try to come out of mud you have to enjoy the mud you are in!

The “aam admi” in AAP will not remain the same as it stands now. The flux will soon hit the wall of despondency that comes logically when expectations of immediate realization hit the hard ground reality of non-fullfillness. There is bound to be radicalization of the urban youth out of this movement that will look forward for a qualitative alternative to the establishment, alternative of the corrupt state, and certainly not for the apostles of beauty sharing the lap with rapist corruption. We would definitely look for that day of radicalization of the youth of working people, of young working class thinking and working for the real alternative like the giant demon leaping out of Aladin’s lamp that cannot be bottled up within the sterile and corrupt limits of establishment.

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