The stalemate in Delhi has many lessons for us. The Aam Aadmi Party calls for change — radical, systemic change — and then doesn’t have the wherewithal and the guts to take the challenge and lead a minority government with help from members of the Opposition to bring about legislative alterations. How much more insecure and immature can a political entity be? To set a charter of demands and threaten, ‘either comply with all or else,’ is akin to college-level blackmail tactic to win brownie points. Running for cover because of being ill-equipped at all levels, ranging from organizational abilities to governance, within a democratic framework where differences need to be sorted out through consensus is unacceptable. When we Dilliwallahs were compelled to listen to diatribes about how mohalla committees will determine our futures, it felt as if anarchy would be replacing democracy, no matter how faulty the processes of democracy have become. They need to be corrected, not dispensed with.
What Delhi needs is a complete overhaul of the mechanisms associated with governance. It needs old colonial laws to be scrapped and rewritten by the best people in present-day jurisprudence in order to protect civil society. It needs experts in multiple fields to become ombudsmen so that they can assist elected representatives to ensure professional services. It needs to make municipalities accountable to the legislature, which is the representative arm of the people. It does not need vigilante groups protecting mohallas. That is a recipe for disaster.
Free for all
What is most disturbing about the AAP leaders is their supreme arrogance. There is no space whatsoever for another voice — a different view — dissension, debate, discussion. How then is this fledgling party any different from the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party? The same elements fund it, from here or overseas. It exudes the same kind of arrogance about its views of being the right one. Its leaders have no humility whatsoever, either about themselves or about what they want. They seem to be afraid of taking responsibility or of being held accountable for delivering what they had promised before the polls.
They know that they will not be able to bring down the prices of essential commodities with the waving of a wand; they know electricity has to be paid for and cannot be subsidized forever; they know about the escalating prices of oil and gas in the international market; they know that cutting electricity wires is illegal, even while protesting corrupt practices in that department; they also know that such illegal acts, as the cutting of electricity wires, can be indulged in when one is not on the gaddi. This is because a different kind of ethic kicks in when you are the ruler and, therefore, with responsibilities that go much beyond populist rhetoric.
What they also understand is that all these dreadful irregularities that we in India have been engulfed in need to be rectified immediately. But for this to happen, the entire blueprint that governs parties in power will have to be redrafted and, then, enforced by the very government employees who have misused the law and their privileges over so many years.
Will the AAP institute the norm of ‘hire and fire’ when government staffers who would assist the party to run the administration fail miserably to perform the task at hand? Does the AAP have a draft to bring in changes to encourage values like efficiency and probity? Or will every mohalla decide what it wants for itself? Are we being offered new-age khap panchayats by the leaders of the AAP? Or are its leaders running scared because they know that they are neither ready nor equipped to rule?