Confusion reigns in AAP

There is little doubt that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a new phenomenon in Indian political scene. The support of the people for its anti-corruption platform has been so overwhelming that the party now eyes the Lok Sabha polls pencilled in for April-May this year.

Surely, it's within its rights to go national after the resounding success in the Delhi assembly election. Now, the party has to contend with Delhi governance on the one hand and the LS polls on the other.

It has to start working on the myriad promises, not least on the corruption front, given to the Delhi electorate. The preparation required for the general elections is nothing less than humongous. So it's fair to make allowances for the web of confusion that the party is currently entangled in.

It's pointless to blame the party leadership for the comments that are being made by the party members or the so-called supporters of the party at various forums.

When the party plunged into the Delhi assembly poll its agenda was flagged by a few populist measures like free water and a sharp cut in power tariff.

Now that it has come to power in Delhi, it seems to have little time to implement the rest of the promises given to the people, leave alone craft a policy template applicable across the nation.

Nobody should be gobsmacked if a future policy decision by the party leaves local issues to the state units concerned.

Going by its characteristic out-of-the-box thinking and a style of functioning that gives freedom to the common people, nobody can rule out such a possibility.

But as of now, the forthcoming parliamentary polls have made its leaders a confuzzled lot. They seem to be out of their depths. This is clear in channel debates and interviews. 

Most funnily, we see litterateurs and professionals who have joined as recently as a fortnight ago, commenting on matters local, national and international as if their remarks are in perfect step with the party's stand.

In Kerala they air their comments on pretty much all hot-button issues like Kasturi Rangan report and the proposed Aranmula airport. We may well hear exactly opposite views from other people as they join the party.

We have already witnessed the repercussions of the views of Prashant Bhushan, a founder member of the party and a likely Lok Sabha candidate, on Kashmir. That the AAP's office in Delhi has been vandalised is not as damaging as the disaffection his remark has created in the minds of thousands of people, who might otherwise be party sympathisers. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had to issue a statement to the effect that his views on Kashmir are not those of the party.

AAP may not have spelled out its stances on various issues as it is still in its infancy. But the various party functionaries and other members need to run their views past Arvind Kejriwal with whom the buck stops. Otherwise, we will continue to hear APP people talk past each other.

It's not that Kejriwal knows all the answers either; it's just that confusion can be avoided to a great extent. Even Kejriwal could get completely flummoxed when faced with certain situations like the one during the first Janta Durbar he held some days ago.

When the crowd swarmed around him he had to skedaddle for fear of his life and that of the people as a stampede was about to break out.

He said he had not expected such a big crush of people at the venue and promised that his party would organise it better the next time around. Confusion apart, it shows the depth of the people's trust in the new government.

Kejriwal should organise district-wise Janta Darbar at select locations a la Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Kerala CM's mass-contact programme, which won him a UN award last year, has been noted for its excellent organisation.

Even so, nobody can begrudge AAP's nation-wide popularity and its national ambition is quite palpable. But that's par for the course. Surveys have pointed to its making big gains in the Lok Sabha polls.

However, some political eggheads opine that AAP needs to do a lot of homework before venturing into the parliamentary foray.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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Excellent, well-balanced and thoughful article. Thank you!