AAP’s moment of reckoning

The choice is clear for Kejriwal: to herald inner-party democracy or become a Congress-BJP clone

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | March 3, 2015


#aam aadmi party   #arvind kejriwal   #yogendra yadav   #congress   #bjp  


Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal share many characteristics. Cult politics is one of them. However, unlike the PM, the Delhi CM is fortunate in having people who can speak out and question him.

It is difficult to imagine any arguments against what Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan are saying, that the AAP has been too much of an individual-centric phenomenon, and it’s high time some inner party democracy was introduced. Instead of replying with any coherent arguments, the Kejriwal ‘coterie’ has chosen to respond with accusations, that the duo are trying to topple Kejriwal. A weak argument they have made is that it is the cadre who wants Kejriwal in command.

Indeed, it is true that the AAP victory was largely due to its charismatic leader. Many AAP voters would have a difficult time in naming the local candidate they voted for. That has been the case with the Modi voters too, in Gujarat for more than a decade and now at the national level. Maybe, people relate more to faces than parties. That can explain the advent of the presidential-style elections of late. In that case, the AAP cadre and voters too may want to see Kejriwal as CM, party chief, Lokpal and national opposition leader all at once.

But then that is not a democratic scheme of things. If the cadre needs to be educated, Kejriwal should do that – rather than fire those who speak out for democracy.

The stance taken by the coterie is somewhat surprising, because the Gandhi-inspired idea of political decentralisation has been very much at the core of Kejriwal’s vision, right from his NGO days to the Swaraj bill. Is the overzealous self-righteousness getting better of him? He should remember the advice he had given to his supporters in his oath-taking ceremony speech: one must beware of ahankar, or egotism.

The AAP has been a unique and exciting political project, and voters have given it a second chance. A third chance might be too much to expect if it becomes a clone of any other political party and stifles inner democracy.

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