February 21, 2014

Supporting Khap Panchayats to Random Dharnas - How Arvind Kejriwal Lost The Support of Civil Society

While Arvind Kejriwal’s stubborn defence of Somnath Bharti’s illegal and racist attempts at vigilante justice against African women and Kumar Vishwas’ racist comment on nurses of Kerala got written about, Arvind’s support for Khap panchayats (labelled as the Taliban of India by women’s right activists) got sidelined. Yes, people are writing about how in his politics, women’s issues have been sidelined. But it is his support for Khap’s dictats – which are shocking and shameful and range from banning women from wearing Western clothes and using mobile phones to ordering killing of young couples – that has hit women’s groups (especially those who want Khap panchayats dismantled) the most.

In India, politics has forever been about the vote bank. That means, politics has always been aimed at helping those who are having some problem with the normal course of law and procedures. Politicians, by giving promises to help such people, by circumventing the law and bringing new laws/policies, have gained the votes of these groups. Be it plans to set free the killers of a former PM, be it Khap votes, be it minority votes or be it the votes of those who do not want to pay electricity bills – no one ever really bothered about the civil society, which actually has no onerous problems with the law and does not want any special favours. The civil society primarily comprises the middle class and upper middle class, and all they want is clean governance. For the first time, thanks to AAP, this civil society felt disencumbered, that they had a party of their own; and in Kejriwal’s noise about corruption, his electricity vote bank politics got hidden and no one took any particular note of it. The name of Kejriwal’s party might be Aam Aadmi, but his Delhi success was thanks to the above mentioned middle class and upper middle class, those who form the civil society. They are the ones who went en masse and voted for him. Every seat that had a concentration of lower income votes was more or less lost by AAP.

But let’s analyse what message did Kejriwal’s antics of turning governance into a circus send to the civil society and the youth. His reckless mannerisms of resorting to dharnas, calling himself an anarchist, and non-stop loose talk only made people wonder if he was appointed Chief Minister to show governance or show gimmickry.

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1 comment:

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