India needs civil society movement

AAP still does not represent the change that this country needs

prahlad

Prahlad Rao | February 6, 2015 | New Delhi


AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal campaigning in Delhi on February 05.
Photo: Arun Kumar

The national capital votes on Saturday for its assembly. The aggressive campaigning by all political parties came to an end at 6 pm on Thursday. Campaigning took a dramatic turn in the last phase as opinion polls gave a kind of walk over to Arvin Kejriwal-led AAP.

If these opinion polls are right, the AAP will return to form government in Delhi. Other state parties and communist outfits have declared support to Kejriwal brand of politics.

But, the Kejriwal brand of politics is possible only in Delhi. It cannot be replicated in states or in other urban areas. Delhi is different; it is national capital and people see the working or non-working of the government at close quarters.

The birth of Aam Aadmi Party can be attributed to citizens participation but it is not a product of enlightened civil society movement. The AAP’s victory will be an expression of disenchantment with politicians and the current political culture. Unfortunately, it may not spread to India, at least for few more years.

Consumer India is one important reason why rest of India may not see AAP in its backyard. Consumers buy a product or reject a product and the AAP is still not a properly produced product. The party and its chief are feeding on disenchantment and discourse of impractical solutions.

Unlike what many commentators are saying, AAP’s win in Delhi will not be a turning point in national politics. India needs a civil society movement at local levels and no party in Delhi is talking about this civil society.

Agreed, the way we are being governed has to change but grand promises are not way forward. The civil society should know its duties first and rights later. A citizen has to act like a driver steers the vehicle on the road.

Delhi will vote and polling begins at 8 am on Saturday, and wraps up at 6 pm. A total of 1,33,09,078 registered voters -- including 73,89,089 males, 59,19,127 women and 862 from "other gender" – are eligible to cast their ballots. Results will be out on February 10 (Tuesday).

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