AAP Introspects

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • Jun 06, 2014



The setback faced by the Aam Aadmi Party in the Lok Sabha polls has forced a churning within. The primary objective now is to infuse internal democracy down to the rank and file. AAP has been forced to look into this aspect of the organisation after senior party leaders, activists and even dedicated volunteers alleged that the Party is being run by a group of only four to five people, which goes against the very ethos on which the Party was established. Gurgaon-based Kishore Asthana, founder member and part of the apex team, says that the National Executive meeting of the Party being held on June 6 and 7 will be crucial. "The main thrust will be on internal democracy, on ensuring that decisions are taken with consensus. There is a hundred percent support for Arvind Kejriwal, but it is also being felt that certain decisions taken by the leadership on the spur of the moment have badly hurt us," says Asthana. In AAP the National Council comprises of a large collegium, which then elects the National Executive, and this elected body nominates the powerful Political Affairs Committee. The members are keen that the Party gets back its aam aadmi touch. Asthana is candid. "Our Delhi govt should not have resigned, and we should not have made the election campaign personal (by attacking certain individuals)", he says. Kejriwal has also called for retrospection. 

According to Asthana, AAP should relaunch itself in its original avatar – with a focus on corruption, inflation, scam-ridden governance and the problems faced by people in their daily lives. “Beyond a certain point no one is really concerned whether Ambani gets a major contract or not; everyone is more worried about his or her job, the cost of food and availability of power. Also, we erred in making a major shift in our plank by bringing in communalism as a top priority, saying that it was even a more potent danger than corruption. Our ‘mool mantra’ was changed,“ he says. Communalism has unfortunately become a ‘bogey’, a tired concept, in Indian politics, and has been milked by all kinds of parties. “The Congress in Delhi was defeated by focusing on corruption and price rise. The success of the AAP movement will depend more on our ability to focus and deliver on local issues, than in espousing some grand vision for the entire country. The Party should concentrate in its core areas of Delhi and Punjab, and gradually move to Haryana,“ adds Asthana. On Haryana, he says that, despite it being close to Delhi and many parts of the State being a part of NCR, the political ground is still not ripe for a successful AAP experiment - which was also visible in the Lok Sabha polls. On the decision to fight the Lok Sabha polls nationwide, Asthana says that it was seen as an important strategic thrust. However, that collective decision did not pay off; maybe more thought should have gone into it. “The Party also needs to reconsider its stand vis a vis the media, police and other institutions of the State. In politics we should not make anyone – and definitely not everyone - an enemy. In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, there had almost been a war of attrition with certain media channels, and the Party had decided to ‘abstain’ from those that were not supporting its cause. "We need to clearly understand and accept the reality that AAP is no more a movement – and act accordingly. AAP is a political party, which needs to function within a system, and yet have the flexibility to manoeuvre for the betterment of the people whom it represents," he asserts. “The leadership needs to develop more gravitas, more depth, and should take the seniors and advisors into confidence before launching specific projects. The AAP leadership should imbibe our constitution in letter and spirit. We have senior people like Admiral Ramdas and several others who can contribute quite well," he asserts. He also points to certain important decisions that were taken by a small coterie – like the ‘sudden’ announcement of Kumar Vishwas as the AAP candidate against Rahul Gandhi, Shazia Ilmi's shift to Ghaziabad, and the bringing in of ‘outside’ candidates. He maintains that AAP won in Delhi because the candidates were local, common, honest people who had the zeal to make an impact in the lives of the aam aadmi. AAP would do well to remember this, to remain a relevant, and respected, player in the Indian political scene.



The critics of AAP say that the Party is still in a ‘movement’ mode, rather than trying to become a mature political party that can offer quality governance. The Party would do well to help mitigate the frustration of the masses, which is still real, rather than fight for causes that are of little concern to their core constituency. It can no longer be led by politics based on just the instincts of top leaders like Kejriwal. The country too needs a vigilant opposition, like AAP, which will continue to raise issues that are often forgotten by a ruling class and Party.


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