We Indians have a short memory, we really do. Well, we can’t blame ourselves, we have so many things going on in our life that we just have no time to sit, think, understand and remember the “unimportant stuff” like for example the topics of national importance. At best we have that one hour where we watch that 9 PM prime time news over our dinner and get educated about what is happening around us. Beyond that, we don’t really have time. Given that this is how we educate ourselves, i.e. on pre-packaged news, no wonder we never get to understand the real issue. Oh, yes, sorry! We do have time to share that post about AAPs theatrics that everyone is sharing. It is important that everyone knows the truth about them.
Two aspects of AAP is currently very popular – the fact that AAP Quit the government and “ran away from the government” (the infamous ‘Bhagoda’ tag) and the fact that Arvind Kejriwal (AK) is spending time in Jail for what looks like a non-issue and seems like this is one of his Dramas to catch media attention. I wanted to think on these two more closely to understand the merit of these accusations – the Bagoda and the Drama. I am hopeful that you would take time to join me in this assessment.
Aam Aadmi Party Leader Arvind Kejriwal Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Licence
The Bhagoda Tag
One of the key reasons why AAP came into existence was the anti-corruption movement and its commitment to bringing Lokpal Bill into both Delhi and at the centre. In the time leading to Delhi election, AAP made a number of time bound commitments and one of them was to pass the Jan Lokpal bill within a month of coming to power. Post formation of the minority government, it was always known that getting this bill passed might be the most challenging task for AAP but as promised, it went ahead but failed. Given this failure and given its promise pre-election, AAP had to quit the government.
This event probably coincided with AAP’s national ambitions and hence quitting the government based on Lokpal bill looked perfect action to garner bigger pan-India support. After all how many have quit government on such principles? There were none that I could find. The only other example was Kiran Kumar Reddy’s quitting as AP’s CM due to division of the state into two. Almost every other party have tried to retain power even when facing criminal charges or big bang scams (I can remember Yadiyurappa and Lalu Yadav very easily). So AAP thought that quitting the government would be seen as a great sacrifice for a cause close to its existence and within a blink of an eye AAP quit the government.
It is not hard to agree with the rational of quitting. However, looking back, it is easy to say that they clearly rushed into it. If they had at least spent some time speaking to media and try to gauge the mood of the people, it would have helped greatly. When AAP quit the government it was very clear that a great opportunity was lost. So yes, we can easily accuse them of squandering an opportunity. They had done so much and if they had stayed in power for little longer, they could have done so much more.
However, the question is could this be labelled as ‘Running away’ from the government? We use such a term typically when someone stops and escapes from a challenging fight mid-way and choose a less challenging fight. However, what AK and AAP did was the opposite – took on a bigger challenge of going national. In fact it is such a big challenge that no other party had ever gone national at such a scale within 2 years of its inception ever in Indian history.
So given this, if we still want to accuse them of anything then it can only be of being over ambitious. Sure, their risk did not materialise and their effort failed spectacularly. But again you can only accuse them of “expecting too much” but not for “not trying”. However, being over-ambitious is not a big crime. Most of us have been guilty of the same at least a few times in our lives.
If you agree with the above assessment, you might be wondering as why did the “Bagoda” tag has become so popular? Well, quitting was the mistake that other parties were waiting for and they just exploited it to the fullest. Given the resources they had, they marketed it very well through all possible media and the novice common man fell for it. Now it is sounds so ‘true’ and we need no invitation to use the Bagoda tag with AK. However, make no mistake, AAP would have got the “power hungry” tag if they had stayed on power post lokpal bill fiasco.
Media Hungry (The Drama)
India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. So naturally when someone tries to oppose such practices there will be altercations which catches attention of people and media. AAP is one such party which raises voice against incorrect practices if you look at most issues that they have raised there is some merit in it. The media attention might be one of their agenda as you need attention of the nation on important issues but accusing them of acting only for media attention is taking things too far.
Also please also note that media is not stupid to give time for pure attention seekers. There is intense competition in the media industry to get the best story telecasted. If AAP’s issue has no merit then both AAP and the media covering it will lose out credibility. Also given that AAP is starved on cash and resources, you can bet that AAP cannot buy paid news anyways. So if there is news about AAP’s activity then you be can rest assured that there is some merit to it. However, AAP’s opposition has been successful in spreading the ‘Drama’ tag so well that the common man requires no reminders to use the tag synonymously with every action of AAP.
My Final Say
I would feel that this effort of mine was worth it if you even partially agree with the above. What concerns me is the ability of AAP’s opposition to systematically malign AAP’s credibility. There is already an erosion of support for AAP for various reasons but we need to ensure that we are well educated to guard against false propaganda. How to ensure that? Well, next time there is a “dharna” led by AAP then take time to understand their side of the story (from them) before you judge them.
Based on past history and untraceable financial backing that they have got, I have my doubts about other parties but when it comes to AAP, we could disagree with their methods but not their intentions. Delhi’s elections are not far away and given their intentions and actions when in government, I believe AAP deserves a second chance just like the way Modi got at the centre.