AAP: the anti-liberal

Feb 22 2014, 02:50 IST
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SummaryArvind Kejriwal becoming a liberal is as improbable as Obama joining the Ku Klux Klan

“You could have done better but I don’t mind

You just kinda wasted my precious time”

—Bob Dylan,

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

What is the appeal of the Aam Aadmi Party? Can it make a difference? What are its views on economics, politics, and social issues? The AAP gets more attention in the media space than all the other parties combined. And it has been doing so for the last three months. This is no mean achievement and the party needs to be credited for its brilliance, albeit one that Machiavelli would be most proud of.

A nowhere party to now-a-party with a difference, and a party with a promise of change. Kejriwal led the AAP’s rise to power has been a symbol of hope for many. A hope that maybe India could change for the better; a hope that India could be corruption-free. The AAP has selected candidates on a transparent, non-corrupt and non-criminal basis—a huge positive for a criminal- and corrupt-infested Parliament. Thus, there is hope that India will see honest politics and with it, honest economics. For as Kejriwal recently stated his version of the AAP’s economic policy: “Our economic policy is honest politics”.

There is no doubt that Election 2014 is shaping up as the most important election, ever, in Indian history. And as the one promising to be different, we need to examine what the AAP leaders say and mean when they opine on policy. Until just a few weeks ago, most people assumed that the AAP believed strongly in political freedom. That view has been dented with protests, sleepovers and resignations on the grounds that it is “the AAP way or no way”.

Does any AAP member know, or even care, as to the contents of the Lokpal Bill that forced the “principled” resignation of Kejriwal’s party? When asked as to how the Lokpal Bill would affect the life of the aam aadmi for whom it was explicitly meant (NDTV Big Fight, February 15), senior member of the AAP party, Ashutosh, went into convoluted contortions to answer this straightforward question. He started explaining that big ticket corruption needs to be checked and ended with a reference to Lal Bahadur Shastri. I persisted… But how does the Lokpal Bill affect the life of a Delhi citizen? His lack of a response reminded me of a refrain among the youth of the 1960s: “Ask no questions and you will be

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