Yogendra Yadav spent the most part of Christmas Day meeting individuals, nearly 60 in all, involved in people’s movements across the country, in the capital’s Constitution Club. These men and women had been invited to Delhi by AAP, of which the academic-psephologist-politician is a key member and ideological mentor. The December 25 meeting wasn’t incidental. Among AAP’s several claims to a new kind of politics is this one — while AAP would not look for a coalition with other parties with whom it shares a relationship of mutual suspicion, it seeks to both increase its footprint and become a coalition in itself by drawing in movements so far disconnected from mainstream politics. Excerpts from an interview with Vandita Mishra:
On AAP’s outreach to people’s movements
This is not the first time that we’ve got in touch with people’s movements with a view to integrating their energies into AAP. Even before the party was formed, in August-September last year, we had similar meetings. I travelled all over the country to speak to people’s movements.
For me, these movements are important not only for the numbers they might bring but because they bring experience, leadership, skills, sense of direction, an ethical filter. A movement that grows so rapidly — as our party has — runs the risk of losing direction.
Much of the positive energy that has come in the last three decades or so has been from outside the political establishment. It has been released by people’s movements, including classic radical movements like farmers’ movements, women’s movements and green movements, those involving struggles for jan, jangal and zameen and new movements like for RTI. While the third space in India’s politics has expanded to include new issues and energies, the Third Force has shrunk in politics. This disruption of the party-movement dialectic led to a moral vacuum and the emptying of politics of real life substantive questions. It should be the ambition of AAP to be the inheritor and heir to this political space.
On the model for AAP, and where it stands vis a vis Left and Right
We’re trying to look beyond the existing models. If I say the Left and Socialists connected to people’s movements in the ’50s and ’60s, it would be an incomplete statement because they connected only to certain kinds of movements. The African National Congress is a somewhat closer model — as an umbrella for all kinds of movements.