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Political Play
Ratan Sharda
Arvind Kejriwal- the possible Left of Centre Alternative 26 December, 2013
Relevance of Arvind Kejriwal is not his good electoral debut and his crowning as the Chief Minister of Delhi. If he wishes AAP to become truly relevant to the Indian politics at national level, he has to occupy the Centre of Left space of national political landscape abandoned since decades by the Socialist and ex-Congress groupings.

For long we have seen the mockery of socialist philosophy by regional parties masquerading as so called socialist parties of various hues. They are nothing but casteist combines claiming to be descendants of Lohia brand of left of centre politics. Just as India needs Right of Centre parties like BJP, it also desperately needs a genuine left of centre alternative. Communists have lost way and base and they are trying to latch onto any formation that professes to be leftist to remain relevant at national level.

Congress is neither left nor socialist nor capitalist. It is a pale shadow of an erstwhile hold-all umbrella that could hold people together a rainbow of ideas from left to the right. Nehru followed by Indira; then by infiltrators of Communist movement and so called liberals killed that legacy. Now it is a bundle of opportunists professing secularism and welfare economics trying to exploit the misused Gandhi brand to its last breath. While this caucus floats policies of welfare economics that would destroy Indian economy, it is also a hotbed of crony capitalism.  It is a new avatar of erstwhile quota raj now being perpetrated through Green policies and clearances of various sundry boards run by proxy by political masters.

Arvind Kejriwal who was at the right place at the right time in Delhi can, therefore, actually become relevant to national politics by occupying the left of centre space in true and honest sense.  Provided he has perseverance and patience; and media doesn’t turn him into another short lived charmer like V P Singh. 

Leftist thinking is in the genes of the members of AAP. You can sense it in every statement they make. Some of the statements, infact, show  their extreme left tendencies. Their blind and rabid criticism of BJP is another indicator. That they chose to take support from a certified corrupt party like Congress against whom it principally won, and not  work with BJP shows their immature thinking.  They seem to believe that to be a rebel one has to be a leftist and certified as secular though this premise is not correct.  They will, hopefully, take more practical approach to leftist policies and governance as they turn rulers.  Both pure capitalism and pure left have taken a beating in the recent past in democratic societies.  So, panacea doesn’t lay in taking a hard stance either on the right or the left but choosing right policies at the right juncture, keeping people’ good at heart.

Now, let me add an important caveat. I do not subscribe to traditional leftist and rightist definition of political economy because it is not suitable to Indian socio-economic realities.  The labels are used either because our intellectuals are too lazy to think of new definitions suited to Indian genius or they are stuck with age old ideas learnt from British institutions not relevant to modern dynamic times.

For example, there is no dichotomy between secularism and nationalism and they are not mutually exclusive. These philosophies cannot be termed leftist and rightist as is routinely done in Indian media and writings. A nationalist can be a secular without any issue and vice-a-versa.  A socialist like Shri Ram Manohar Lohia could be a nationalist and truly left of centre as well as secular though he also believed in power of Ram and organized ‘Ram Kathas’ to organize people. He believed that Lord Ram was an ideal national hero. How do you label such a person if you were to use iron clad labels used by Indian thinkers? 

BJP is communal by leftists and self-certified secularists’ standards because it believes in Hindu cultural nationalism and does not believe in any kind of appeasement. By the routine definition it  also becomes rightist by default. However, its traditional policies of Swadeshi, economically independent village units, belief in small scale industry promotion flowing out of its core ideology of Integral Humanism are more close to Communist, Gandhian and Socialist ideas. Policies pursued by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments confirm this thought. If you scan Modi’s policies in Gujarat and not go by popular discourse, his stress on agriculture, self employment in villages, electricity for farmers before 24x7 to everybody, welfare schemes for girl child, education etc. are on the same lines. So, in economic sense, it is more of a left of centre party. That it is seen more as industry friendly party hence rightist is a intellectual construct of left intellectuals.   For years Communists, parents of Naxalite movement are anti-Naxal. That should make them rightists by lazy thinkers’ standards. But, they are not. A highly opportunistic pro-minority tilt of Congress should make it secular extremist rather than centrist party.

If you look at AAP from this prism of ideas, AAP fits in as the left of centre entity. But, for it to really occupy this space, it has to give up its woolly headed like handing over Kashmir to Pakistanis to buy peace, or support people who are supporting anti-democratic Naxal movement. Or compete in mai-baap welfare policies with Congress. It needs to define a well thought out strategy on national issues if it has to become more than a city-centric, or Delhi-centric party and prove itself to be more than a media creation. It must keep away from extremist Mullahs to appease fringe elements and appeal to minorities with a positive agenda. It needs to be truly secular, i.e. give equal respect to all faiths and appease of none on basis of caste, religion or language. Euphoria of instant victory and media backing can deviate it from its path easily. If it wishes to evolve on these policies, then it is clear that it cannot be seen in the company of casteist regional parties presenting themselves as national level socialist parties.

AAP cannot become a tool of so called third front jokers who are corrupt to the core. Being leftist and pseudo secular cannot absolve people of financial corruption, political or ideological corruption.  We have seen how secularism has been used and exploited to paper over gross criminal acts. If AAP has to occupy this open space, fill this vacuum, and then it must steer away from these opportunist regional and left combines who claim to be third front with no clear national policies and ideology. These corrupt outfits need to be eliminated first along with Congress to expand AAP’s catchment area.

It is up to Arvind Kejriwal and his young compatriots whether to have a long term horizon for AAP to really give a new alternative national party to the country; or get bloated heads as their behaviour is indicating currently and be happy with short term spectacle of ruling city of Delhi. This path may be long, but this is the right path, for their sake and society’s sake. Arvind Kejriwal has a choice of being the new age Lohia or enjoy the short lived glory of a media propped V P Singh.

About The Author
Ratan Sharda is a citizen journalist. He has authored books like 'Secrets of RSS'. A marketing consultant by profession, Mr. Sharda is a keen observer of the country's political scenario.
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Magic Wand ?Yesterday , Arvind Kejriwal said ," We don't have a Magic Wand with which to cure the problems of the people "DEAR ARVIND ,You don't have to search very far for such a wand ! That could be the name of an Android app ( I Seek It Now / U Solve It Now )To be developed by Home Ministry of Delhi Government , for successful implementation of DELIVERY OF SERVICES ACTMake the app freely downloadable from Google Play or from official web site of Delhi governmentTo activate , a citizen will log into the App , by entering :> Aadhar Identification Number> Delhi Electoral Roll NumberAs soon as he does , his name will appear on the first screen of the App , which will read ,“ I wish to send my complaint to the following department ( For Example ) : * National Commission for Women•Garbage Clearance•Water Supply•Electricity Supply•Roads Repair•Rationing ( Food Distribution )•Police•Bus Transport•Railways•Post•Employment•Education•Irrigation•Building Permits•Revenue / Land Records•Anti Corruption•Other ……………………………………….etc ( List should not exceed 50 )Touching name of any department name will open a SMS message box where the user will type out his complaint ( in a language of his choice )There will be option to speak-out and record voice message , for illiterate usersTouching SEND button will transmit the complaint and within minutes, user will receive SMS reply giving, •Name of Officer responsible•Office Landline No•Mobile No of Officer•Email Id of Officer•Complaint No with date•Expected date of solving the complaintBingo !The Delhi Government official web site ( integrated with mobile App ) , will carry a tabulation of departments , arranged in the descending order of the no of complaints received / cleared / pending !The Tabulation will also show , several performance matrices such as,> Max time / Ave time / Min time , for solving problem> Percentage Performance> Binomial Distribution Curve> Credit Points earned by the Department .........etc This frugal innovation will bring in Good Governance to AAP government in Delhi Arvind Kejriwal may want to request Nandan Nilekani / Sam Pitroda to help out . If they are too busy, his own Alma Mater , IIT-Kanpur would be glad to develop such an App within 15 days !If AAP manages to successfully implement this in Delhi , it will succeed in convincing 760 million voters of India that ," Where there is a Will , there is a Way Give AAP a chance to replicate this at All India level " * hemen parekh ( 27 Dec 2013 / Mumbai )

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