April 11, 2014

Almost 100 on Honesty, But Zero On Vision and Leadership... Now Kejriwal Needs to Learn The Theory of 10,000 Hours of Practice

AAP came up like no party had earlier! And is now on its way down as fast. But, has AAP lost its entire support base? Not at all! The poorer sections of the society, who are relatively less on education and understanding, are still firmly with them. AAP's non-stop claim about being an honest party has caught the fancy of these sections. And rightly so. This is a claim that is almost true. There are stray cases where people with a criminal background have gotten tickets; but by and large, I still believe AAP's intent is to remain non-corrupt. Compared to all others, they are the true "pavitra ganga jal" in this department. The lesser educated classes don't understand governance, vision, development, growth, stability and negatives of fascism; but they do understand honesty. It's a simple non-complicated term.

These classes are seeing social workers, who have been tirelessly working for them, getting tickets; people from their own fraternity getting tickets; and minus a few cases of people like Kumar Vishwas – who have been seen wearing designer shoes, jackets and gold chains – most AAP members look one of them, including Arvind Kejriwal with his muffler and regular bouts of coughing. So these sections do believe AAP is honest. And thus, when you go to a "Som bazaar" (a Monday market that is put up every Monday by roaming traders), you see all of them out there wearing AAP caps. The name Aam Aadmi has worked with this segment. This most awful and visionless symbol has worked with these classes, and the cap has worked too. Yes, this is largely Delhi based, but if AAP tomorrow gets resources and starts getting seen more often in other cities, it will work there too; but amongst the city poor only, at least as of now.

But is that good enough to win elections? Well, perhaps not. My gut analysis is that the wave is always created by the so-called middle class. They are the teachers, journalists, employers of maids and drivers. The city poor work at their homes and hear them on radio and see them on TV and get influenced by their choices. During the previous assembly election in Delhi, this class was supporting AAP. Being fed up by corruption, they got swayed by Kejriwal's promises and the residue of the Anna effect. Thus, they went out en masse and voted for AAP, and the result was for all to see. All areas with middle class majority are where AAP won. All outer Delhi seats with poorer sections were not won by AAP. Poor votes were divided; middle class votes were united.

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March 28, 2014

Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Jaswant Singh are right; and yet, Arun Jaitley is right too!

Many people have been moved by Jaswant Singh’s genuine tears of pain, L.K Advani’s hurt pride and Murli Manohar Joshi’s sadness at the BJP Central Committee not blindly agreeing to give them the seats they wanted. Personally and emotionally speaking, I too have been moved by the same. Truly, compared to these BJP stalwarts, how many leaders in the Congress can you point out and say that you respect them? From the younger lot, there are some who are better than the average, but are yet to earn any respect. From the older lot, almost all are people who are impossible to respect. You look at most and feel that you are looking at seasoned scamsters.

Compare that to the older BJP generation – from Vajpayee to Advani to Murli Manohar Joshi to Jaswant Singh and even to Yashwant Sinha. They are all people for whom a deep sense of respect comes almost automatically. Not one of them can I look at and think of as a thief. They may not have been revolutionary politicians and may not have given India any revolutionary growth, but they are clean statesmen who have not brought a bad name to politicians and have done their bit in the way they could have best done. They are dignified party workers and have never tried to make the party their private limited company. Ergo, they must be respected. They must be treated with dignity and must always be kept at a higher pedestal. After all, with thieves, scamsters and criminals all around in politics, these are the people we need to highlight as role models. Thus, when they feel pained, I feel pained. I feel for them. BJP has indeed failed to maintain good communication to explain to them the situation, and to keep their respect intact. While Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi swallowed their pride, Jaswant Singh couldn’t, and quit. They surely deserved more respect! BJP could have communicated very positive media statements directly from Modi and Rajnath explaining that the respect of and for these legendary politicians was intact and that it was only because of circumstances and calculations that such changes to seat allocations had become necessary.

And yet, I agree with Arun Jaitley when he says that party members must take party decisions with a smile. Why? The reason is that the old must give way to the new. For years, no one questioned the leaders who had become pillars of the party. And these leaders almost always got what they wanted. With change in leadership, new thoughts come in and there are changes. Change is always painful, but very often necessary. Yes, the change-maker must make it smooth; and BJP has failed to do that. But look at it from a very ruthless perspective, and you start understanding the situation. Respect apart, is it correct to allow a man to become the PM of a country despite his suffering from Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or keep an 80 year old man as the PM of India for 10 years despite his voice being almost inaudible, despite him not being able to give even one proper speech anymore, and despite him being one who has lost his sense of comprehension? All just because he was once a great leader? I accept that politics is about sacrifice, about passion and there should be no age of retirement. But still, I wouldn’t accept compromises like the ones mentioned above.

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