I would like to preface this by saying that I have extremely anti-statist views when it comes to governance. I like my governments small and unobtrusive (possibly even non existent).
However, talking from more of an India-exclusive standpoint, I have always maintained that it isn’t going to be one political ideology, be it this end or the other, that is suddenly going to change the traditionally murky Indian political setup for the better. For me, the reason behind the pitfalls was hardly a function of a flawed stance/misplaced beliefs. It was a function of the maleficence and apathy that characterised the reign of many a party ,each claiming to hold dear another set of ideals. In the spectrum of political beliefs/stances, the AAP hasn’t even bothered defining itself. The propaganda had a healthy dose of the Indian political staple of populism and promise of state-handouts. Nevertheless, it isn’t political ideology, at least of the right-left-centre persuasion, that defines AAP.They have defined themselves, or seek to, in terms simple, clear and resonating: anti-corruption. While to the outsider, this may seem like a glaring redundancy, since it’s obvious no party would make corruption their motto, it is tragically common knowledge in India that the two major Central Parties that have enjoyed power for more than 5 decades are ones where corruption runs rampant and unchecked all the way down to the rotting foundations. Established on the aftermath of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that caused quite the nation-wide stir, by an active participant in the struggle no less, the party had a clear cut brand positioning, so to speak. Aided by doggedly determined and often clever propaganda that went on for the better half of a year, the party set up quite a good base for itself. This in tandem with the Delhi denizens’ disillusionment with the mostly ineffective Congress government headed by Sheila Dixit for a decade, secured the fledgling party a historic first-poll haul.
To me, before the AAP wave swept over, there was a fair bit of skepticism. I was not convinced that honest intentions,even if they could be taken as such in the first place, are enough in themselves to run a successful government. Such misgivings were mitigated firstly by the knowledge that the AAP is headed by a person who can a. read b. write and has a degree from a premier institute to boot. That’s comedically (?) rare stuff in India. Sadly, this is a country where high school dropouts unabashedly spearhead top education portfolios and the general bulk of the key legislative bodies are often woefully undereducated. Therefore, for obvious reasons, the AAP is a welcome change in this respect. Although, a point to the counter turned out to be the sad reality of the party on a number-rising spree, indiscriminately adding potential Lok Sabha candidates into it’s fold, with no apparent considerations of merit (some of these guys have a proven track record for misappropriating large amounts of public money.)
This brings us to the question: is the AAP really going to change things drastically? As I write this, the AAP has been in power for 9 days and I already see progress. The move is being reflected in small changes being made at the grassroots level. It seems unlikely that they have any clarity of stance on the crucial questions that divide politicians and the the science, all over the world; However, they (from the leader’s speeches) seem really keen to usher in a brand of governance that, is self-describedly anti polar to one that has prevailed in this country. They have made good on most of their short-term assurances from their manifesto and that in itself deserves some if not heaps of credit.
Nevertheless, unlike bigoted zealots who are running amok in plenty, overjoyed at having found a new idol to blindly celebrate and worship, I insist that one can’t, at this moment, make any predictions for the party’s long term viability, steadfastness to it’s resolves or even it’s fate in the Lok Sabha which are almost upon us. These remain to be seen.