Celebrating Democracy?
Yes, but then is Indian democracy winning?
This year’s Nobel Prizes for Literature and Peace!
They are to vindicate democracy and democratic values in the modern times.

nobelSo, every country calling itself democracy or a modern nation has to ask some tough questions.In India we seem to take pride in our democracy.

Fine. But then how do we see our democracy?

Winning power through the General Elections, a herculean task by any standards is a success for us, for the citizens of India.
But then winning elections by use of big money, very much like that of the US election practices, have also led to easily undermine democrative values and practices.

Indian democracy on the one had seems winning. But then power is seen as brutal power, riding rough-shod over established institutions and why, even turning things upside down. This is seen happening in India.

Outside India Mr.Modi seems to have hit upon making a splash over the Indian disaspora, more so in the USA where the well-educated Indians are settled.

But will the outside world applaud all what Mr.Modi is doing to win friends and influence people?

In our opinion, here Mr.Modi is clearly short-sighted.You have to win the minds and souls of people, the intellectual and the elite classes everywhere would be only too sceptical about Mr.Modi’s roadshows, so to say.

Anyway, here are some thoughts for the elite and the general public alike.President of India, Pranab Mukerjee, has called for India sticking to India’s core values. What are India’s core values? This question had been asked many times and by many people. And answers to have been many depending upon who gives the answers.

If we are to take the present leaders of the ruling party, namely, BJP and more in particular the Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi, even here the answers tumble out of   unspecifid situations, events and even some emerging crises time to time, as it happens especially in politics.

Can we say that we are running a democracy, a well-defined one or one that can be interpreted as we like depending on the occasion. Take the Bihar election campaign. The Bihar campaign saw with star campaigners like Modi himself, besides the veterans like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar.

In fact, it was the wordy duel between Modi and Lalu that saw new words, new coinages and in the hands of Lalu, no less with Modi, we saw all sorts of verbal battles. Election rhetoric a new high.

But in this word war, it is the truth that was the causality.
This year’s two Nobel Prizes, for Literature and for Peace asserted one   world reality.

The Literature Prize went clearly to the Belarus writer of journalism and literature that the Swedish Academy said the writer mapped the Soviet Soul and it mirrored her version of the exercise of authoritarian political power, first under the Soviet Union, later as an independent nation by the Belarus dictatorship. Ironically as we write these lines the Belarus Presidential elections are about to take place and as of now, as the Nobel write said the President of her country had not yet responded to the award and the President had not congratulated   his country’s now famed citizen!

Also, this year’s Nobel for Peace had gone to the Tunisian four civil society groups that had successfully participated in restoring democracy in Tunisia. This Tunisian achievement is of much greater significance when we see the 2010 Arab Spring protests in other Arab nations like Egypt in fact led to the reversal of democratic process and led to re-establishment of dictatorships.

So, there is a strong message in this year’s Nobel awards.
The world is changing; new nations like China, Japan and Turkey, among others, the citizens of these nations also went on to win the coveted Nobels.

Also, in the wider world there are also new developments. The democratic nations like the USA and other EU countries are almost silent on the IS crisis in Syria while the Russian President, Putin, is sending his missiles into Syria.

We have to remind ourselves that Russia is not a democracy we know it.

While India is also a democracy, the recent events, the Dadri massacre and other developments have led to much heart-burn and worry among the thinking sections of India.

In a significant development writers like the Nehruvian ideologue( I think we can call her so considering the huge contributions she had made)had returned her Sahitya Academic award and following her example other luminaries like the famed Hindi poet, Ashok Vajpei, one more Sahitya award winner and now latest Sashi Despande also had returned their awards.
Of course, there is still not any strong protest again Mr.Modi’s very many contradictory  behaviour.

We, Indians, are known for our character deficiencies. We usually don’t go against the current, rather we try to sail with the wind.

So, there is a question mark on the horizon. Is the Indian democracy on the progressive ascent? Or, is it on the descent? We are failing arrest from the standards we have learnt to be our own, our own Indian democratic standards.

Secularism, plurality, toelrance and the co-existence of dissent and debate. India has to  rise up in the comity of nations that we have something to contribute by way of new ideas and bold innovations to take the democratic values to a new high.

Unlike as we see  even in the USA, currently shown  as our role model to imitate, both by the reigning leaders of the two countries and also by the much-feted Indian disaspora.Mr.Narednra Modi might not be taken very seriously. His priorities are different from what the genuine Indian concerns are.

Or, unlike some of the American practices like lack of civility in the police administration, lax gun control and the latest  widely perceived  racial discrimination in admissions to the Ivy League universities and also in jobs in higher levels.

The point here is that America is no more a  destination for millions of Indians who dream of an American Dream.

At that distance, there looms a not so beautiful a dream. The ugly realities, it is time to take note of. It is the duty of Indian   thinkers to outline out own critical observations of America, American democratic values.

Compare and also contrast what strengths Indian  democratic institutions have and what needs to be  done here.

The time for submissive surrender to foreign intellectual manipulations, either from the USA or from other countries. India has been for long a colony. This colonial bondage still hangs heavy on the Indian minds.

My view is that to improve our democratic standards we need new ideas, bold ideas and these new ideas won’t come from the government alone. It often doesn’t take place. Ruling politicians, the political elite, seized as they are with their own frenzied enthusiasm, throw overboard even what little refinements we had practised so far.

Many institutions like, for instance, Lokayukta, are downgraded or weakened. There are so many such deviations.
Indian intellectuals speak out

So, intellectuals and experts, those committed to higher values, must stand up and speak out.

Let us draw inspirations from this year’s Nobel awards. India must become a mature society and our democracy a mature one.

Challenges of Democracy
Roles of ruling party and Opposition parties

jaswant-singhThe BJP has some vague socio-cultural ideology. It has no sound political ideology. Nor any historically relevant economic ideology. It is time we realise India itself now needs a very clearly stated contemporary ideologies.

We can’t see any one country. We are not China. Nor the USA. We can at least draw some lessons from the many regimes in the EU. There has been a trend toward some conservative social democracies, as in UK and Germany. Centrist politics, liberal private sector -led economic growth models seem relevant to India.

We have to think afresh. The Congress and the BJP shouldn’t fall into the trap of too much populism. Corruption and black money are the twin evils of irresponsible private capitalism. So, we need to think afresh in an objective manner.

Modi government after a year
The Independence Day came and went. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off as soon as the festivities were over to the Gulf Region. It is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to do whatever he deems a priority and as such the Pm has lot of leverage over the direction of the country, the polity, economy, the very fabric of the Indian political system. Now, certain public perceptions and public opinion emerge as the days and months roll on.
After a year in power and after the many promises he made, from election campaign to Independence Day speeches, the public from certain judgements.

How far Mr.Modi has come from being a daring campaigner to a committed Prime Minister?

He has now faced certain resistance from the Opposition, the Congress plainly decided to obstruct the normal functioning of Parliament. Yes, the monsoon session was a washout.
How had been the Parliaments in the past? Yes, there were obstructions and there were floor managers, there were men like Pramod Mahajan and Kamalnath and governments did business.

Even now, there are indications that Opposition parties like the SP and BSP, why even some like the Trinamool and even the BJD, why even AIADMK and even the most wily of all, the DMK, a veteran in the game of political chess playing may prove to be a good game!

It is the real test of Mr.Modi in the days and months ahead to manage and get things done and face the next election, four years later. India is a democracy, why, a great democracy. We are admired abroad for the simple reason our democracy had survived and even prospered. Our Election Commission help is sought after in many countries, even the USA sought our help.

But then, this is the first time that a long-standing party like the Indian National Congress (INC) had been wiped out literally, a pathetic 44 MPs is no news at all. Now, as the major Opposition where does Rahul Gandhi, the designated heir would go?

The INC is simply forgetting the harsh realities. It is a large party but it has become a one-person party. Sonia seems to imagine she will be there for any long time she desires.
The party had forgotten its own time-table. When Rahul will be elevated? It looks it not so near or so easy.

The seniors who had made an appearance dot want Sonia to go. Their own future is at stake. Once you had learnt to live in New Delhi, the Lutyan’s bungalows, you are unlikely willing on your own volition to vacate the place!

So, where would the senior go? They won’t go to their constituencies, they won’t bite the Kamaraj Plan and so they would like to stay where they are now. That means the same old faces, the jaded faces at that would continue to crowd the AICC headquarters?
No one has an answer. Nor the party seems to realise it doesn’t exist in most major states!
Unless you build the party in the states, you have no future.

But who cares now?

I spoke to some seniors and even juniors and no one wants o speak. Neither Sonia nor Rahul are in a mood to do any hard work. So, in my opinion, the Sonia-Rahul ‘hat-trick’, the disruption is not just a trick, it is also a strategy which paid off handsomely.
As for the hard work, only the time can tell.

As for Mr.Modi, I feel that the BJP as a party and as a government need to do its homework seriously. Mr.Modi must have a real political and economic ideology. As for economics he has some good experts, the two economic experts are top class and they could give Mr.Modi really some strong inputs.

You can’t have faster economic growth without investments and this requires the role of private capitalism. Mr.Modi may be corporate friendly but then he must have a vision. The Indian corporate under the previous regime brought down the reputation of both the government and themselves.

This brings us to the role of governance. Unless you realise that unless you have a sound political ideology you are likely to trip at every moment.

From Hindutva in the back of your mind, you trip on education, higher education, culture, social spheres like rights of minorities and rights of others. Human rights, freedom of expression, press and media and the very fabric of a modern society are put to risk.
There are a range of issues of serious political implications, from electoral reforms to electoral funding, reform of the political parties (which are not mentioned in the Constitution) to reform of the EC itself.

The other important aspect of the polity is the role of an independent judiciary on which the Modi government is grappling with at the months.

All these call for constitutional reforms. Political ideology is all about vision, broad picture as well as small details like the freedom of the various institutions, old and new.RTI is the latest contentious issue. LokAyukta, Lok Pal is also part of this debate, namely, the new definition of a new political ideology for India.

There is a sense of revenge taking. All top minds are replaced and very lower categories are elevated. This already ranges from Censor Board to FTII and many other cultural bodies.

This hits upon the idea of India and this leads to ruptures. What about the headless institutions, too many to list here. So, without a strong ideology of the economic growth, ideology of the political beliefs you will be left with only catchy slogans and sometimes empty ones!

In economic sphere, there is the unstated role of capitalism. The history of capitalism is an old issue. We shy away from discussing capitalism. It is time we face the issues squarely. Crony capitalism will crop up. Unless we take clear steps to define the cosy nature of the corporate with the present government. This doesn’t mean the previous one was all puritanic. A fresh discussion and debate would do lot of good for all the parts concerned.
Democracy calls for periodic elections, parties need funds and funds can come only from the big corporates. If not the level of transparency in disclosing sources of election funds, as they do in the USA (where we saw the utter candour and commitment shown by Jeb Bush in disclosing his election funding) we see in India there is almost a conspiracy of silence from all stakeholders, all the parties seem to demonstrate a penchant for hedges and misses!

It is time we clean up. Mr.Modi will be surely watched carefully on this front. The second Independence Day speech of the Pm sounded like that. Not even a word about his foreign policy on which has done some decent progress.

Also, in economics he must spell out his corruption-free private capitalism’s role. Black money is itself a huge challenge. Of course, some scams, like the two ministers, one chief minister all require careful handling.

Democracy demands some gestures and rituals. Now, there is some tension in the ranks. A cabinet reshuffle, now and then one way to go about. May be Mr.Modi may learn his ways.
He has demonstrated will and resolve that is in sharp contrast with his predecessor.

One more last point. Mr.Modi has to face the media. Twitter alone is not the way for a Prime Minister of India. He also needs some spin doctors.

Image itself is tricky. You have to have substance too. We wish the Prime Minister well.

The pace of ‘development’ not fast enough!  ‘Governance’ not transparent enough!
Invite Deepak Parekh as government adviser!  Things would brighten up!

DSP 2--621x414Mr.Deepak Parekh, the industry veteran and one who is not known to speak in fine English language but he has a blunt way of talking the truth!

India needs straight talkers!   In more than one occasion in recent times he has openly said that what Mr.Modi promised, speedy decision making, is not happening.

Knowing Mr.Parekh’s past services to the government and other public well, we are sure the recent pronouncements must have reached Modi’s ears.  While we have any number of high profile corporate leaders. Where are the famous ones like Ratan Tata and Ambanis and others?

Unfortunately, at this very moment came the so-called corporate espionage which blew off the lids on many of the very same high profile corporate.  As anyone with a bit of Delhi government and bureaucracy, this corporate espionage is no news at all.

In fact, there is a well-organsied and well-oiled racket, even there are highly expensive lobbies, they perch themselves in star hotels, entire floors are occupied and there is a new hierarchy within this espionage racket.

Any official secret paper reaches the top barons of the corporate world before the same papers reach the PMO’s tables!

So, this is the well-entrenched Delhi bureaucratic setup. Now, what do you do?
What do you say about the Prime Minister’s predicament?

We asked a very senior leader of the BJP party, now not in the good books of Mr.Modi(as there are other seniors also inside the party for strategic reasons, we suppose) we asked him as to what he thinks of Modi, the new Prime Minister and what the PM should be doing in the coming days. He paused for a moment and came out with just two words.

Humility and truth!
Is it easy to practise the Socratic wisdom?

Mr.Modi, now after some 10 months in office and facing the humiliation of defeat at the hands of Kejriwal, is faced with a series of issues.

He has to hold his allies first into a cohesive coalition. Though it is not a political coalition, in the Indian context Modi must realise, realise sooner rather than later that he can’t take his electoral majority as a lance to bow beat others. Certainly not in the wider society outside the parties and party politics. India is a country of vast diversity.

It has many states that had great leaders, many illustrious chief ministers.
There are classes, the upper, the middle and the lower classes. They have their own dynamics.

There are also, let us admit, caste and communal hierarchies. We don’t know how much Mr.Modi had understood these diversify and the hierarchies.

Take one example. Recently, Prof.Amartya Sen, the Nobel Laureate, was stripped of his office of the Chancellor of Nalanda University for the second term. Fine.
But be generous enough. Call for Prof.Sen for a personal meeting. Talk to the distinguished personality and win him over. Win his sympathy.

Your stature would have shot up. Likewise, even the Opposition leaders. It was a fine gesture on Mr.Modi’s part to visit the Opposition leaders in UP over the social function.

But then a Prime Minister can do thousand things to win over the public perception about him. His team is fine as on date. But there is some disquiet over some portfolios.

Take health. Of course, the health budget is cut. But on such an issue like swine flu outbreak, even the PM must speak out and reassure the public anxieties.
So too education.

So too railways. Mr.Suresh Prabhu is a discovery. There is nation-wide trust in his efficiency and delivery capability. But then, the February 15 Bangalore accidents, near Anekal, with ten dead and 15o injured, show that the railway establishment is not a transparent one.

Even after 10 days the railway safety enquiry officer says his counterparts in SWR didn’t give the details of the accident. The track was welded just 12 hours before the accident and the loco pilot was not informed! This truth is not revealed! This is disturbing.

The public and the families directly affected are kept in the dark!

What sort of railway establishment it is? What the PM had done. Did he pull up the minister or the officials? Any heads rolled? Why this behaviour?

So too the civil aviation ministry. AIR INDIA must be reformed. You can’t have a white elephant, an inheritance from the previous government as it was always, Loss making enterprise. So too other ministries.

One here: agriculture. The ministry gives an affidavit that it had fulfilled the mandate given to it, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court. This is unacceptable.
What about the farmers’ suicides?

The PM must be seen as one deeply concerned. We can go on and on. As Mr.Deepak Parekh had observed that the government must move fast, act fast, take decisions.

Also, luckily, Mr.Pareksh had also come outwit very good suggestions as to how to raise funds. Disivest in PSU units. So, in conclusion we say: please invite Mr.Deepak Parekh to sit on the Niti Ayug! He would really come to rescues the government from some of its latest short-comings.

Humility and truth!
That would serve this government very well as a timely advice!

Let us listen to the farmers!
Then frame a realistic agriculture policy!

arun-jaitleyWho in the Modi government care for agriculture sector?
The Modi government, as Arun Jaitley tells (in his NDTV interview) is a pro-business-friendly government.

In telling about the need for government to acquire more lands, for some priority needs like industrial parks, infrastructure, housing and he listed five priorities, is sought through a new bill. For which he seeks the Congress party support in Parliament.

Is the Modi government a Centre-Right party?

The finance minister seems to say so. In that case, there is the farmer who are now owners and who have to part with their land under the government terms, might not agree to the business lobby terms.

Is there not a farmers lobby in India?

The farmers ‘points of view have to sought and must be spelt out in the public by the government. There are very many steeper issues involved in seeking vast acres of land for government priorities. Justice must be done to farmers’, poor farmers’ interests.

The new government in Delhi has taken many new initiatives in various sectors. In industrial development there is visible new awareness and new assertive steps.
The Prime Minister justifiably has given top priority to revive growth. This means in one sentence industrial growth and the emphasis on make in India is a manufacturing industry revival only.

But there are, as the Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian pointed out that many of the existing regulations must be eased.  The new theme is how to make the “ease of doing business index” to be India’s new boldness to demolish the many obstacles and as Mr.Modi has observed, make the starting of the company, the registration process to be done in one day!

There are shortages of resources, coal, electricity and other constraints.
The PM is single-mindedly doing all these things.

Now, there is the biggest industry in India. What is it? It is just agriculture!
Anybody in the government is talking about agriculture?

We don’t know. We have asked for an appointment with the new Union agriculture minister. So that we can raise some basic questions that affect the prospects of agriculture. Agriculture is not only the biggest industry. It is also the biggest employer still. The majority of the people also live in the villages and are dependent upon the agriculture sector for their livelihood, for their very space.

Where are the new concrete houses for the villagers, the village poor and the others living in the villages, various castes, and weaker sections etc that are deeply affected by what the government does for the rest of the sectors.
There is a new emphasis, why, even mart talk about “smart cities”.

Yes, cities growth is now becoming more important, cities are growing fast.
Every major investment, why, major changes in the Indian economy is in the cities, also dependent upon the city environment.

Fine. Then we need a master plan. A sort of a future roadmap for the urban growth. It is because we are concentrating, we mean the government, the corporate sector, the middle classes and other factors push for concentration on urban affairs, neglect of the rural India.

Please let us note that Indian agriculture suffers great neglect. The new finance minister Mr.Arun Jaitley talked about the farmers whose interest he would protect. Even as he says so he is only talking about the land acquisition laws and the compensation for the farmers.

No, this is only one side of the land question.Now, you had reformed the labour laws and also other restrictions on investments in various sectors, you have let down the farmers with the antiquated land laws like ceiling laws, tenancy laws and other laws that had made the average farmers, owning less than one acre per capita.

The future of agriculture depends heavily upon new investments in agriculture.
New investments would come in agriculture only if you make agriculture sector profitable.

Now debt and suicide deaths are the character of the agriculture sector.
No one has said about these issues. The PM in his campaign speeches in Vidarbha pointed out how the region was neglected by the UPA government and also the NCP-Congress combine.

The PM promised he would stop the farmers’ suicides if he was voted to power in the state. The voters did please Mr.Modi by giving him such a clear verdict. Now, we ask Mr.Modi: Please do something fundamental that could make Indian agriculture a strong productive, sustainable sector.

Towards this end we suggest these following radical measures:
Please relax the land laws, relax the ceiling act, relax the tenancy terms so that new investors, new generation young farmers, new entrepreneurial-minded investors would come forward to invest in new agricultural technologies, new seeds, new biotech-based agriculture and also new high-value, high-tech farming could be brought to India.

See agriculture in Japan for instance. So too in other advanced countries. In Netherlands and Belgium.  This magazine in its 25th years had published a great deal of new information in agriculture.

Our agriculture portal, www.agricutureinformtation.com, is perhaps the world’s largest agricultural portal.

By the way, agriculture is always talked about, by the ICAR and government bodies, as a science-driven activity. We say there is the sociology of agriculture. So many stake-holders are engaged in agriculture.

Besides the universities and agri depts, there are a chain of others, from agriculture owners to agri labour and also other village traditional professions who are always dependent upon big households for their traditional professions to survive.

This side of the agriculture is totally ignored and even blacked out. Let us recognise the farmers who live in the villages are the real heroes. Let us reach them, listen to them, their suggestions for how to revive lives in rural areas.

Very likely, if what the insiders revealed on the national meet are true!
Kejriwal’s politics is no different from others?
Congress, the oldest party!  Aam Aadmi, the newest party!

Supporters of Kejriwal leader of the newly formed Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party attend the first party workers' meeting in New DelhiWhat is the difference between them? One is seen as one-person-centric. Kejriwal’s new party is also fallen into this trap? It seems so.

Indian political scene is however, changing, no doubt. But the Indian political parties, the political culture seem the same. The major three parties, the ruling BJP, the highly weakened Congress and the new star on the political horizon, the Aam Aadmi party are all seem to be caught in the one leader-centric cult politics.  This is no evolution of a new democratic culture. Just the reverse. There is cause for worry.

Intellectuals must worry and debate. Led by Arvind Kejriwal and the new Chief Minister of the Delhi Union territory and the flavour of the season politician   have all one typical characteristic, they all behave as if the political calling is still a feudal culture. And a personality cult built around the party chiefs. Once in power, the sycophancy becomes a cult!

Internal party democracy? Forget about it.  India, China and Russia

Indian democracy? Yes, the Indian democratic culture is rather very vibrant. The whole world sees India as a very successful practising democratic state and society.

Yes, we have to remind Indians themselves, how we are lucky in that respect. See China or for that matter Russia. They are very different societies. No democratic features there. No Opposition party either in China or even in Russia. How the Opposition leader in Russia cans can be shot down and yet we are asked to see Russia with a Parliament, elections and political parties.

So, we are lucky to have a democratic political culture.  It is only in this context the sudden crisis that had overtaken the newest party in India calls for some deeper analysis and a few questions. Yes, there are problems for India’s democratic polity.

When we compare now the democracies, the UK,USA and European countries like France and other ones with our own there is much to celebrate and self-congratulate ourselves. But then see what is the other side to Indian democracy and the Indian political parties.

2014 Lok Sabha campaign: a new high or a new low?

prashant-bhushanThe 130 year old Indian National Congress is now in a sad state. The party lost the 2014 Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) saw the not so old, BJP party under Mr.Narendra Modi ran a US Presidential style of propaganda concentrated on the one person, Mr.Modi, money was spent like water and the man himself was not free from flaws, he went for the most ‘crude, vulgar, cheap and coarse campaign’ in the words of a seasoned  political commentator, Mr.Harish Khare in his latest book(How Modi won it, notes from the 2014 election(2015).

Of course, Mr.Modi won it in an unexpected way, as Mr.Khare himself notes because the Congress, as an established party for long and accustomed to rule by a variety of coalition partners and of course at the end of its regime, the Congress coalition presided over by Dr.Manmohan Singh became a byword for large scale corruption scandals and sheer cynicism.

The projection of a greenhorn Mr.Rahul Gandhi proved a disaster. The Youngman failed to live up to the expectations of everyone.

The BJP also proved to be a party with no difference. It had long claimed to be a party with a difference, there was of course internal democracy in the party. There were many leaders and they all asserted themselves at times. There were elections and many leaders held the party presidentship. Unlike the Congress which under Sonia Gandhi progressively degenerated into a coterie of one family and that too under Sonia and son Rahul, both proved to be utterly unequal to the challenges of the times.

The party stuck to a formula and Sonia, never proved her capabilities and now, proved her dogmatic belief in her destiny to rule over the party.
So, in this context came the newest of the new party in Indian politics.

The Aam Aadmi party (AAP), came with the slogan of common man and under Mr.Arvind Kejriwal a party that raised great hopes for a new type of politics, it promised an alternative politics. In its second stint it won a massive victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, winning 67 MLAs out of 70!

This simply stumped Mr.Modi and his newly strident march towards what seemed to be an unstoppable race towards a near monopoly over power in the country. To put it bluntly, there were widespread apprehensions that Mr.Modi might even emerge as a dictator to pose a threat to the Indian democracy.

Now, Mr.Kejriwal, within among after he took over as Chief Minister finds himself in the midst of a crisis within his own fledgling party. AAP is a new party and its members, leaders are all young and educated and highly idealistic.
What gave the AAP its new glow is the idealism of its youthful leaders.

Then, why such a sudden split?

In the latest crisis, on just the other day, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) with just 21 persons met on the outskirts of Delhi and sought to diffuse the internal party crisis.

The reason for the crisis is that two of the founding members of the party, namely Mr.Prashant Bhusan, the prominent Lawyer-turned activist, he is a tireless fighter for Public Causes and also the son of the veteran lawyer father, Shanti Bhushan who is also a founding member of the Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption movement, he donated a whopping Rs.one crore as donation and the others like the South (Bangalore-based) Captain Gopinath and also others, mostly ladies, Shazia Illmi and Anjali Damania from Nagpur, one or two other prominent women leaders from Mumbai and even from Delhi have disassociated with Mr.Kejriwal within this short period of time.

Now, the PAC met on Wednesday (4, March, 2015) and deliberated the crisis.
The new PAC sought to diffuse the crisis by asking, after a five and half hour of debate, both Mr.Bhushan and Yogendra Yana, an academic turned politician, who also contested the Lok Sabha election and lost. Both are intellectually competent and a shade above the rest of the crowd around Kejriwal.

The two refused to resign on their own and called for a vote. According to reports, the actual numbers who were present were just 19, Mr.Kejriwal who was in Delhi and yet absented himself and also sent in his letter of resignation as a national convenor of the party. In the actual voting, it was just 11 who voted against the duo, the 8 voted for the two.

And considering the party is new and its remembers are young, it is natural to ask why a good number of 8 voted against Mr.Kejriwal’s wish to see himself supreme?
Unfortunately for the Indian media and commentators, they all seem to be steeped in the Indian mindset.

All the TV channels and newspapers reported as if it was a defeat for the two founding members of the AAP and it was victory for Kejriwal for absolute power! It was neither.

It is here we like to add some clarifications.
First, the AAP party has not had any clearly spelt out ideology or any basic framework of a political alternative to the existing parties.
AAP made certain promises like clean politics. It grew out of the India against Corruption movement of Anna Hazare. Mr.Kejriwal of course brought Anna to national capital and in a sense to national attention in a prominent way. At that point of time, it was Lokpal that was the only agenda. Political ambition was absent. Then suddenly Kejriwal developed his own ideas and started a political party to act upon his ideals and vision.
It was left to many in the party to articulate the ideals of the party.
Clean politics again. Fighting corruption, transparency in running the party, transparency in election funding, delivery of public services by promising reduction in tariff for water and electricity, regularisation of unauthorised colonies etc.
Now, the two leaders. Mr.Bhusan and Yadav had, it seems, raised some questions like one-man centric power wielding by Mr.Kejriwal. Admiral (retd.) Ramadass is the internal Lokpal for the AAP. He himself raised the issue of one-man one post issues.
So, there is no discussion on this issue at the PAC meeting. Also, Mr.Bhusan raised the receiving by the party of four cheques from anonymous donors for Rs.2 crore in total. Nor the issue of transparency and even an indication of willingness on the part of Kejriwal to consult and exchange views among the top, senior, founding members were seen all these days when they were in power.
It is this aspect that seems troubling at the inner circles of the party.

Kejriwal’s track record

Mr.Kejriwal seems to have a track record for doing things in a highly arbitrary manner. He cultivates and ditches people, it seems. He has a long story to tell!
The very many young women who were drawn by his idealism are now left in the dark. We don’t see any representation of women either in the party or in the government. This, in our view, is a serious lacuna.

Also, there is no room for articulation of an over-arching ideology or vision.
It is all now back to power and perks, it seems. It was often left to Yadav to paint a big picture for the party. Now, he is dsidelined.What is Mr.Yadav’s grouse?
What is Mr.Bhushan’s grivance? No way to know.

To report in the press as if the duo were expelled. A success for Kejriwal?
Mr.Kejriwal ousted his opponents as if both Mr.Modi ousted Mr.Sanjay Joshi in the BJP or Sonia Gandhi ousted all opposition to Mr.Rahul Gandhi.
This type of media reports lowers the image of the AAP.
It is time someone from within the AAP to hasten to correct this image distortion.

Surely, the AAP can’t behave like the Congress or the BJP.
Hero-worship, sycophancy is the last thing people like to see associated with the AAP. One last word. Ideological issues or personal ego clashes?

In our considered opinion, it is the lack of a deeply-felt ideology that is absent in the AAP. First, Mr.Kejriwal himself, on the ideological front, in our view, is an unknown quantity, if we can say so. When Anna Hazare started the India against Corruption movement, the first big donor, it was said at that time, was a known Hindutva bigsot. Right or wrong? The RSS was behind it. Right or wrong?

When Kejriwal organised the Ramlila Maida fast of Anna, there were personalities linked to RSS, Ramdev and others. Right or wrong?

Now, in a hurry to capture power, the AAP promised all things to all men, including those within the party. Kejriwal practised populism with a vengeance, right?

History, at least from Hitler onwards, shows any extreme populism, any promise of paradise, carries with it many dangers; fascism is not the least dangerous.
Is Mr.Kejriwal a leftist or an ultra-left, as his admirers criticise his estranged colleague or colleagues.

Or, what is Kejriwal’s ideology? What are his political and economic crore beliefs? What vision has he, if at all for India? For this generation of youngmen and women who gathered around him?

It is only fair if we ask him to spell our his vision in brief. His attitude towards BJP, Congress, the two major national parties?

His commitment to democracy, economic ideology, secularism? In this terrorism-stricken world, surely for a country of India’s dimensions, its religious and social polarisations, what is Kejriwals’s attitude towards communal polarisation as a political and electoral strategy.

Finally, one lingering question: is he really  driven by any vision at all? Or, is it simply a personal ambition or ego play?

Politics everywhere is  vitiated by personal ambitions or  power-addiction or authoritarianist tendencies. Why, even ,simple small-minded petty egos. We see these things before our very own eyes, nearer  at home!

Surely, the time has to come to ask such rather inconvenient questions. If not we, we are sure, such questions would be asked by his own estranged rivals for sure! Very soon!

Once in power, it is natural, human only to expect they, the winners are rewarded suitably. This, may be, Mr.Kejriwal failed to do. May be he feels he is supreme. This is simply wrong and he is mistaken, if he thinks so.

As it is said by the AAP insiders, the intellectual strength of the AAP is now weakened by the ouster of the two highly competent leaders. This is also the sure way for a faster downfall. Every politician in India seems to fall for this trap.
The current dynastic political culture that is gripping the players, from Sonia Gandhi to others like the DMK,SJP,SAD to Paswan to others had given the mindset of a feudal lineage in modern  democratic politics.

The BJP may not have  a dynastic disease today. But it has the danger of authoritarian power growing. The other parties, big and small, small like the AAP or the older and regional ones like the DMK are caught by the various other diseases like inflated egos or sheer cynical dynastic narrow-mindedness. The Congress is the biggest threat to the evolution of genuine democratic norms in the Indian polity.

We have to learn to practise democratic political culture. This calls for articulation of an ideology and vision. And more than anything else, a certain personality, certain humility and truthfulness in our dealings. These are of course very rare traits indeed. And also you need a certain personal charisma and self-dignity. A belief in yourself!

To consult and reach consensus calls for men and women of great sagacity. There is a dearth of this  rare leadership in the Indian political scenario. A cause for deeper worry.