Changing Indian Politics: Aam Aadmi Party for Parliament -2
-DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL
For too long, people of India have longed for a new era of honest politics and they do deserve that.
It is a fact that Aam Aadmi Party is not a political party of traditional sense of the phrase suggests. Unlike the other political parties where leaders while enjoying all privileges and the resources they manage to loot with help from agents, expect the people to serve them with full dedication, the Aam Aadmi Party considers the members of the party to serve the people, work only for their welfare.
Hence the only experience the Aam Admi party has gained so far is from serving with dedication the cause of common people.
Hence they do not have the usual expertise in many fields the usual corrupt governments do posses in India. The leaders of AAP therefore may not be experts on policies matters concerning economics or foreign policy, etc.
As sincere workers in the cause of people and nation, they also lack the usual niceties the leaders of corrupt parties possess in abundance to fool the public. Those with expertise in various fields are now pouring in the AAP, the only people’s popular party.
In fact, the Aam Aadmi party’s main objective is to fight corruption and make Indian corruption-crimes free. All their works thus far have been to oppose the corrupt Indian parties and leaders. Even people elected them to rule Delhi state they did not abandon their principles and took many corrupt stalwarts to task, upsetting the central government which shields all corrupt elements.
In fact politics was not on their agenda when they struggled against problems facing the Delhi people as well as all over India.
The decision to contest the parliament elections stems from their burning desire to save the nation from corrupt criminal elements operating inside the political parties, both central and regional. It is a natural fall out of misbehavior of corrupt parties towards the Common man party.
Aam Aadmi Party – the young anti-graft party that stormed to power in India’s capital last month plans to field at least 73 candidates in national elections due by May to stand against politicians accused of crimes, its founder Kejriwal said. Following its strong performance in Delhi, interest in the year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has surged. Since an announcement earlier this month that it would contest the general election, its membership has passed 10 million.
As part of poll campaign, the AAP launched a nationwide anti-corruption drive, a day after Arvind Kejriwal quit as Delhi chief minister. The AAP party starts a nationwide anti-corruption rally, led by Kejriwal, from Haryana’s Rohtak district – the home district of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress – Feb 23. Assembly elections in Haryana are scheduled for later this year.
When Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as the head of Delhi’s city government on December 28he was unveiling a new era in Indian politics. Though he assumed power only to leave the office in less than two months, he and his team learnt so much as how India is being run by the corrupt gangs that indeed gang up against any one who tries to halt the corrupt flow of dirty national politics.
The BJP played dirty politics with people of Delhi and India by refusing to support the Lokpal bill. Further, BJP shied away from forming an alternative government while the Congress said that the AAP regime failed as it strayed “beyond the constitution”. BJP’s former chief Nitin Gadkari, who had been in-charge of Delhi polls, said: “We don’t have the numbers so we are not considering forming a government in Delhi. Sheila Dikshit, who ruled Delhi for 15 years until she was defeated by Kejriwal in New Delhi, said the AAP government failed because it started to go “beyond the constitution”.
The AAP government lasted 49 days. Kejriwal, 45, quit on Friday after his AAP’s efforts to introduce the Jan Lokpal bill aimed to curb corruption was stalled by the BJP and the Congress. A day later, Kejriwal refuted allegations by the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that they were not given enough time to study the Jan Lokpal bill. “They are lying… we were ready to give them more time,” he said. They are not interested in it at all.
Opposing crony capitalism being propelled by Congress-BJP regimes one after another at the centre, Aam Aadmi Party leader and successful anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal alleged collusion between RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani and the government to hike gas prices. Subsequent to this, an FIR was registered by the Anti-Corruption bureau last week.
But the Congress led central government and major right wing opposition in parliament Hindutva Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) want to shield the corrupt mafias and gangs led by Ambani (corp.) because all major parties are being financed by the corporate class both at centre and states
Put it bluntly, Indian politicians promote only the rich and corporate bosses in exchange for the finances they get. For the parties, the common people are just useless and even harmful dust. .
Indian voters are innocently notorious for rewarding candidates with criminal records or accusations against them. Politicians accused of crimes had a higher success rate than others in the last parliamentary election in 2009. “It is for the people to decide if they want to support clean politics or not. Earlier the people used to say they didn’t have an option, now we will provide them with a clean option,” Kejriwal said.
Until now, the party had not said how many of the 543 lower house parliamentary seats it might contest in an election pitting the corrupt ruling and opposition parties. But the AAP is expected to put up candidates in constituencies of 73 members of parliament now who face serious criminal charges. Candidates would also stand for the seats of central government ministers which the party believes are corrupt, Kejriwal said in an interview with Reuters. “The most important thing is there are a large number of cabinet ministers who have indulged in corruption, they need to be defeated,” Kejriwal said, there are nearly 162 people in Lok Sabha who have criminal charges against them and there are 73 out of them who have serious charges against them. They need to be defeated, we will put up strong candidates against them,” said Kejriwal. He did not say how many, or which, government ministers would be a target. The AAP is expected to field national election candidates in constituencies in New Delhi and in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab.
Most of the politicians on their target belong to the UPA, particularly top ministers besides Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi but the former BJP President Gadkari is the only NDA politician from Maharashtra on their radar. Of the 48 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra, the party has released the names of probable candidates from Mumbai, Nagpur, Thane, Pune and Nashik. Kejriwal accused Gadkari of being hand in glove with Sharad Pawar to suppress the alleged irregularities related to irrigation projects in the state.
AAP carefully treaded in naming its nominees from Maharashtra and especially from Nagpur before announcing its first list of 20 canidates for the Lok Sabha polls. AAP’s nomination of activist-turned politician Anjali Damania is likely to hit the bi-polar contest in the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency, which will now witness a triangular fight. Damania, a political green horn, pipped local social worker Rupa Kulkarni (also a contender for the AAP nominee from the Nagpur seat) to be pitched against BJP stalwart and ex-party president Nitin Gadkari from this prestigious seat. Damania is now ready to further expose Gadkari and his alleged involvement in various scams. Vijay Pandhare, a former engineer with the Maharashtra government, has been named as probable candidate from Nashik. Pandhare played a major role in unearthing the irrigation scam that led to the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
AAP’s chances in their maiden run of securing sizeable votes have considerably brightened with Damania’s nomination from the Nagpur seat, despite she being described as an ‘outsider’ by the so-called national parties like BJP and Congress. A known face of the party in Maharashtra, some political experts feel that she will definitely make a dent into Gadkari’s prospects more than damaging the Congress; she will at least ensure Gadkari’s defeat.
Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal mounted a scathing attack on the Congress and the BJP, accusing them of playing into the hands of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, against whom the AAP government had filed a criminal case two days ago over a gas pricing row. Speaking from a window on the first floor of the office, Kejriwal said that the BJP and the Congress joined hands “when we tried to introduce the Jan Lokpal bill”, the AAP’s pet project. “This had never happened in the history of India.” He alleged that Ambani had been funding the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) alliance for 10 years and for the past one year was backing BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Kejriwal wanted to know from where Modi got money to travel in helicopters to hold large public meetings all over India. “The moment we acted against Ambani, the BJP and the Congress got together,” he said, sparking off high-pitched slogans against both parties by AAP supporters. “They knew that if this bill becomes law, then more than half of them will go to jail… So Kejriwal had to be removed.”
Kejriwal insisted that the central government — as well as the Congress and BJP — were telling lies by claiming that the Jan Lokpal bill can’t be passed in the Delhi legislature without the central government’s okay. “I have read the constitution… It is not written anywhere in the constitution that we need to take permission from the central government to pass a bill in the assembly.” He said he would never bow to the central government on this issue. “The people will teach the Congress and the BJP a lesson. People are not going to keep quiet.”
As the BJP and the Congress, after pulling down the first ever Aam Aadmi government in Delhi could not form a coalition, Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has no option but to dissolve the assembly.
The issue here is the nexus between the central government, governor and big business houses that are close to Congress – BJP combines. They are more than eager to protect the rouges. As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had named a string of powerful politicians from across the political spectrum he described as corrupt and said his anti-graft Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would target them in an upcoming general election. He also named a few corporate magnets that control the regime.
Kejriwal is working on a national campaign that is likely to split votes for the governing Congress party and the opposition BJP. He named more than two dozen said his party would field strong candidates against them in the polls due by May.
Kejriwal named cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Oil Minister Veerappa Moily. “If we don’t defeat Veerappa Moily, then from April 1 gas and electricity prices will double,” said Kejriwal, who has offered free water and slashed power prices in Delhi since coming to office. He also attacked the BJP leader Narendra Modi for his pure gimmicks. Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty who is leading the Congress party in the campaign, was also cited as an election target although he is not embroiled in any scandal.
All the politicians Kejriwal has accused, as expected, have denied any charges of corruption. Cases take years, if not decades, to wind through India’s notoriously slow judicial system. Congress party’s Suresh Kalmadi. was arrested in April 2011 on charges of inflating tenders for equipment used at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which he headed, and served nine months in prison.
A day after leaving power, the AAP went into an overdrive. Intending to clean up “a corrupt system”, the party kicked off its ‘Jhadu Chalao Yatra’ across 24 states. The Jhaadu (broom) is the election symbol under which the over an year old party fought the Delhi assembly election, bagging 28 seats. With the party’s sights now set on the Lok Sabha elections, the week-long ‘yatra’ (journey) will be organised at over 2,500 places in 332 constituencies across 24 states. The journey is essentially a “clean-up drive against corrupt politicians, criminals and rioters in the Parliament.
Senior AAP leader and top lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the party had no option but to quit after the Jan Lokpal bill was rejected in the Delhi assembly. “Our biggest responsibility was to form a corruption-free government and run it, but if the BJP and the Congress are not letting us pass the bill, then what is the point of us staying in power,” he said. AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said the AAP has set a precedent as a government that is willing to quit. “AAP was formed to contest election on several principles, one of the foremost being the Jan Lokpal bill,” he said. “As we were not allowed (to introduce the bill) and it became clear that in this assembly, it was impossible for AAP to even introduce the bill on Jan Lokpal, the party complimented Arvind Kejriwal for taking a clear decision of resigning,” he added.
The Congress, which with its eight lawmakers had helped prop up the AAP to reach the halfway mark in the 70-member assembly, blamed the AAP for its fall. Shiela Dikshit former Delhi CM whom Kejriwal defeated in New Delhi said the Congress supported the AAP government, thinking they will fulfil all the people-friendly points and promises made in the past and in their their party manifesto. Congress seems not inclined to hold the polls early in Delhi. The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party by winning 31 seats in assembly elections, was afraid of AAP and hence refused to form the ministry in Delhi. The party held a meeting to discuss the party’s future course of action. State president Vijay Goel said that the party would also launch an agitation at Jantar Mantar Feb 18 to expose the AAP.
The AAP’s fight was not against individuals, rather against the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which have joined industrialists to form a secret “club” running the country.
The curtains came down on Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi on a Friday after it was not allowed by Governor to table the Jan Lokpal bill in the assembly, ending 49 days of rule. However, the following achievements of the short-lived government wouold make the voters realize how much more theparty could have doen if the Congress-BJP duo is let them rule full term: Free supply of 667 litres of water daily for households with metered connections. Fifty percent subsidy in electricity bills for households which consume up to 400 units of power a month. No red or blue beacons on official cars, bringing an end to ‘VIP culture’ All government schools surveyed for infrastructure deficiency and given Rs.1 lakh each for immediate repairs. Some 24,000 people exempted from paying 50 percent of their power bills during the period they took part in an AAP campaign against inflated electricity bills; launched anti-corruption and nursery admission helplines. New permits given to 5,500 autos. Registered first information reports (FIR) against former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in irregularities in the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani for allegedly colluding to inflate natural gas prices and raising power bills. * Ordered audit of Delhi’s three power distribution companies.
Finally, it was the opposition not allowing the tabling of the Jan Lokpal bill, one of the AAP’s major poll promises, in the Delhi assembly Friday that led to Kejriwal quitting the position he had assumed Dec 28, 2013.
Further, the AAP government moved the Delhi High Court to withdraw a plea filed during the previous Congress regime against a trial court’s order for lodging of FIR against Sheila Dikshit for alleged misuse of government funds in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls. The cabinet has taken a decision that in corruption cases, the government will not defend anyone. Justice Sunil Gaur may hear the case Tuesday. Since Dikshit is not holding any government post, no sanction would be required to prosecute her. Last year, the Dikshit-led Delhi government had moved the high court, seeking quashing of trial court’s order for ordering FIR against her. The high court then stayed the registration of FIR against Dikshit. The special court, Aug 31, directed the Delhi Police to register FIR against Dikshit for misusing government funds to the tune of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign prior to the 2008 assembly polls. It was said that in 2007-08, Dikshit was the chief minister of Delhi and also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged fund misuse took place.
The Delhi Lokayukta recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds and to “advise” her to reimburse either herself or through her party a sum of Rs.11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the president found adequate.
The AAP achievements are so great that even an expelled member voted with the ruling AAP party to save the government. Expelled Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Vinod Kumar Binny voted along with the party legislators for tabling the Jan Lokpal bill in the assembly Friday after a whip was issued. The bill was however not been tabled as most legislators were against it. A total of 42 members were against the move while 27 – the AAP legislators and Binny – were for it. Following the development, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal later announced his resignation. Binny had rebelled against the party and accused it of not fulfilling the poll promises of water and power. He was expelled Jan 26. Whip is a direction to ensure that the members stick to the party’s stand on certain issues and directs them to vote as per the direction of the leadership.
Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation as Delhi chief minister will only increase the party’s support base. Kejriwal is not an escapist, rather a brave man who kept his word. People haven’t heard any chief minister taking a stand like this. People will realize AAP’s sincerity and the purposefulness. AAP support base will only go up because people have realised that people in AAP are serious, they are not for power.
Forty-nine days after he took charge of a minority government, Kejriwal resigned following a tumultuous day in the assembly where the Congress and BJP legislators defeated the AAP’s attempts to introduce the Jan Lokpal bill aimed to curb corruption in high places.
While polls suggest the debutant party is likely to win more than a dozen seats, its success in Delhi has shaken up the national race, with Modi’s BJP and the ruling Congress party both aping Aam Aadmi’s anti-elite, anti-corruption language. Even a small clutch of seats for the AAP could be enough to deny Congress and BJP even a remote chance at forming a government, thereby saving the nation and give AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal a say in national policy.
Politics in India, the world’s largest so-called democracy, has been plagued by corruption and other problems. About 30 percent of lawmakers across the federal and state legislatures face criminal charges, many for serious crimes such as rape, murder and kidnapping.
Laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act have had no significant impact on the corrupton drives in India. AAP kicked off a “Jhadu Chalao Yatra” here, as part of the party’s nationwide anti-corruption drive which will continue till Feb 23 involving over 330 constituencies in 24 states.
Many questions focus on the source of funding for political campaigns. More than 90 percent of funding for the Congress and the BJP comes from unknown sources, according to the advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms.
But corruption has rarely been an election issue until now. Scandals have come thick and fast on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s watch in the last few years and Kejriwal’s party has quickly tapped into the public disgust over sleaze.
The AAP’s success in Delhi has led to huge interest in Kejriwal and the party up and down India, where voters seem to be thirsty for change after 10 years of scandal-prone rule by a Congress party-led coalition. The AAP has only recently begun operating outside the capital and its strength is untested. Kejriwal’s party will contest at least 350 seats of the 543 lower house of parliament seats, senior party member Sanjay Singh said at a news conference.
An opinion poll conducted early this month before Kejriwal’s resignation suggested the party may only pick up a dozen seats. Its main support is in Delhi and surrounding states such as Haryana and Punjab
However, the political picture on this seat is likely to be clear once Congress, BJP and other important parties announce their lists of candidates in the coming week.
Meanwhile, Anna Hazare, the social worker who spearheaded anti-corruption movement in Delhi along with his disciple Kejriwal and who later abandoned him over politics, has begun talking politics now. Hazare had refused to do politics though Kejriwal tried to convince his mentor that crony and state corruption cannot be wiped out of India without power.
(More to follow…>)
د. عبد راف
Unfortunately, today there is not even on Muslim nation practicing truly Islamic faith.
–BY DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL has been an Educationist, Columnist-Commentator on world affairs Expert on Mideast Affairs, Former university Teacher; Editor:INTERNATIONAL OPINION; FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Author of books;website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ Phone: 91-8129081217—(Account: No 62310377429 – CIF No: 78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India) email@example.com