Finding Kejriwal

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Finding Kejriwal

    Rajkumari Rajpal has yet to tell her husband that she has joined AAP. The 42-year-old Hisar school-teacher is your average citizen wary of the fractious ways of Indian politics. But last month when she heard Arvind Kejriwal deliver his swearing-in speech at Ramlila Maidan speech she felt the need to do something out of character.

    So, kid in tow, she trooped into the stall where AAP was running its membership drive and signed up. She carefully scribbled down the phone number of a volunteer for reference, not sure what her husband would say to this move. "I have a busy life: home, school, tuitions. But I want to contribute in some way. When an honest person comes forward in politics, we must help," she says.

    In an apparel store on Jhajjar road, Rohtak, the pocket-borough of Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, owner Parveen Tayal talks about a new phenomenon. "In the past 15 days or so, people who have nothing to do with politics have started asking for aam aadmi caps," he says. For the past 30 years, Tayal's Shree Balaji Khadi Bhandar has been the go-to place for caps and car flags. Congress, Indian National Lok Dal, BJP, Haryana Janhit Congress — every party's stuff is on display here. But the AAP wave has forced him to engage more tailors to make caps.

    Buzz is a much-used , and often, abused word. But driving through Gurgaon, Jhajjar , Rohtak, Bhiwani and Hissar districts and talking to villagers in the hinterland, it becomes clear that it is the perfect word to describe what AAP has generated in Haryana. For many here, AAP seems to be like a well-publicized movie with a rising star at the helm and with great boxoffice reports from Delhi. Not everyone is sure if it will do as well in Haryana.

    THE NCR EFFECT

    Haryana is also due to hold assembly polls later this year. The state flanks Delhi on three sides and thousands commute to the capital from two of its LS constituencies , Gurgaon and Faridabad, every day. D R Chaudhry, activist and an authority on khaps, says, "Politically these constituencies belong to Haryana, but mentally and culturally, they are satellite towns of Delhi. Many such voters might opt for AAP. In other constituencies too, AAP can strike roots if it projects new people with clean records who also fit the caste and community criteria."

    Distances have collapsed in this age of relentless news television and the spread of regional newspapers. Everything AAP has achieved in the past month has been watched, chewed and digested in even the far-flung pockets of the state. Kejriwal is often seen as a local boy in Hisar and Bhiwani — he was born in Siwani, a kasbah on the border of the two districts — and many here know him better than, say, the average Dilliwala.

    In the 2009 LS polls, Congress garnered 42% votes and captured nine out of 10 seats; only Bhajan Lal of the Haryana Janhit Congress from Hisar bucked the trend. But right now, antiincumbency is in the air. Few want to be identified as Congress supporters. Not many claim to be BJP supporters; but many insist they will vote for Modi.

    Even with AAP, the identification is more with the leader than the party. Two top Indian National Lok Dal (IMLD) leaders , Om Prakash Chautala and Ajay Kumar Chatuala, have been jailed for their involvement in a teachers' recruitment scam. But from all accounts, the party still enjoys a decent following, especially among rural Jats. Interestingly, last week INLD leader Abhay Chautala hinted at "unconditional support" for Modi if he became prime minister. The INLD-BJP combine had swept the Lok Sabha polls here in 1999.

    CASTE ASIDE

    Pundits often present the state's politics as a binary between Jats versus non-Jats . Jats, roughly 22-25 % of the total population , form the single largest caste group here and dominate the political scene. Scheduled castes account for another 20%. Can AAP offer an alternative to Haryana's caste-based politics? At least, its supporters believe so. "In a state where every party uses caste sammelans to mobilize people, people are joining AAP irrespective of caste," says Ram Kanwar, an AAP member from Jhajjar.

    Chaudhary adds that AAP has made the election unpredictable by shunning the caste factor. "The politics of caste, gotra and khap cannot be dismantled but it can be transcended," he says.

    AAP's ongoing membership drive is garnering good response too. By Tuesday , Sirsa had already enrolled 4,000 members. AAP co-ordinator Vijay Gupta says that in Hisar and surrounding areas , about 12,000 have registered.

    Like Delhi, AAP volunteers here are an enthusiastic lot. In Kaithal, an auto driver inaugurated the local AAP office. A tea shop, barely the size of the AAP banner it displays, also served as a recruitment booth. "People are impressed by what Kejriwal is doing in Delhi," says tea-seller Ramesh Sharma, who comes from Dulheri village in Bhiwani district. Rabindra Natak, a dalit from Bahu Akbarpur village in Rohtak district, says the poorer folk of the bastis are more excited about the AAP wave. "But the chaudharys appear indifferent," he says.

    THE MODI FACTOR

    Not everyone in the group of dalits in Rohtak's Kaloi village that this reporter spoke to had made up their mind. During the previous LS poll, most had voted Congress . Yet almost all had positive views on Kejriwal, especially the young. Some wanted Ashok Khemka, the IAS officer who had questioned Robert Vadra's land deals, to join AAP and contest. "If Khemka contests from Rohtak, nobody stands a chance. But if Khemka isn't there, I will vote for Modi," says ex-serviceman Bishambar Dayal, an INLD supporter.

    Modi still remains a strong option for many. "At least there will be better law and order," says Modi supporter Anil Kumar Kaushik from Bond village, Bhiwani. Even AAP supporter Kanwar admits that Modi was the preferred choice for many voters because they saw him as a better administrator. "He also fits the image of a strong leader. But Kejriwal has taken participative democracy to another level. People believe that under his leadership, AAP will provide a better delivery system, and an end to the VIP culture," he says.

    Local politicians are dismissive about AAP. Bhiwani INLD leader Puneet Masta says he doesn't see AAP posing any kind of electoral challenge. "INLD is the original aam admi party," he says. Hisar Congress leader Dharamvir Goyat offers a more nuanced view. "AAP has no presence in the villages. They might get some middle-class and bania votes," he says.

    But the freshness of AAP's approach is visible in its posters. INLD's says: "Gaon mein humne thana hai, Chautala ko lana hai (in the village we have sworn to bring in Chautala)." BJP exhorts voters to: "Vote for India." But the AAP poster, on an electricity pole outside Farrukhnagar , is radical: "Rajneetik kranti ka hissa banne ke liye aam aadmi party se judein. (Join AAP to be part of a political revolution)."

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/deep-focus/Finding-Kejriwal/articleshow/28697083.cms]Finding Kejriwal - The Times of India[/url]

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    Che Guevara had said - The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.

    The AAP revolution has not fallen like a rope apple, but it is ripening (in the perception of the voters) and is tantalisingly hanging, as if to fall so that the people can taste its sweetness or blandness! If prematurely made to fall, it would have not matured enough to be sweet. If plucked late, it might turn out to be soggy!

    Visually, it is sweet, though parts of this revolution seem to show insect damage (like the Kashmir and Naxal quotes) and blemishes (populism that maybe difficult to sustain or uphold in law, as pardoning electricity theft that goes against the Delhi Electricity Law).

    That the AAP will be3 nudging the electoral votes is but a foregone conclusion, no matter what the diehards of the national parties may claim.

    The question will be how far will the AAP damage either of the national parties is the question.

    As the reporter has indicated, it is not as if the BJP has become the flavour of the season. Not at all. It is Modi who is being looked as the messiah of sorts, who is seen as a good tested administrator, decisive and a can deliver the people from the abysmal political, economic and geostrategic and geopolitical chasm. He appeals to the individual's pride that has been subbed in the mud by the last Govt. It is not the BJP that attracts, but Modi.

    But then Modi will not be there in all constituency as the candidate. Therefore, all political parties will have to choose their candidates with care weighing carefully the factors that would influence in that constituency.

    Would Congress face practically oblivion in the National Election as they have experienced in Delhi?

    Will AAP take Congress place?

    Will BJP triumph?

    Or will there be a hung Parliament and God being the sole one to salvage?

    The 2014 election is an exciting affair and it will throw up surprises.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @Singh.

    Waiting for your considered comment and analysis of the political scene nationally an d beyond Delhi and the effect that AAP will have to upset the apple cart.
     
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  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    @Ray sir, we need to keep the number of threads limited, I just cannot keep up with all these threads.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I agree that you are taking on more than what you deserve.

    Here I have raised fundamental issues that require answers so that we, those who are still undecided, but wary, can take a stand.

    Why don't you help?

    Note it is not BJP that concerns the Nation. They are just another political party. Advani lost twice! So, BJP is not material.

    What is material is stability, leadership and decisiveness.

    Modi seems to be the best bet.

    Let us know how Kejriwal is poised to upset the cosy bandwagon that Modi rides on?

    Kejriwal is not corrupt, Modis too is not corrupt, even though he has been in government and with adequate opportunities to be so, which Kehriwal hasn't had and he, in his career as an IT chap has mostly been on leave and less at his desk!

    But Kejriwal has shown that he backflips and does not think through, both in the Electricity promise (which he is now reconsidering) and also the mess he made without thinking it through for his Durbar.

    I hasten to add that I am all for his honest approach and involving the people. That salute that.

    However, given my experience in my profession, I find well meaning but confused flappers are more dangerous to the cause than the clueless!
     
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