Millennium Post

AAP and electoral lollipops

In run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, political parties have started offering sops, announcing new populist schemes and deviating from their hard policies. Also, the ruling parties are forcing the concerned  governments’ to announce sops which had been denied earlier stating reasons like scarcity of funds and propriety.  Such timely concessions, announcements and favours to the targeted families, communities and the so called poor are being termed as electoral lollipops. It has become a common trend and no political party, including the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is an exception to this.

AAP, who gained considerable respect in society, is seen as a progressive and forward looking political outfit. Moreover the party leaders have been emulating the Gandhian style in their protests.  The leaders learnt the alphabets of Gandhian principles while sitting with a well-known crusader against corruption, Anna Hazare.

It was not at all expected from a party like AAP to openly support the old kangaroo court, Khap.  This unorganised and so called institution comprising of a few rude and fanatic elders still continues to be relevant in villages.

The party convener Arvind Kejriwal and another eminent leader Yogender Yadav stated that there is no need of banning Khaps or other self appointed male village councils known for their Tughlaqi Farman, misogynistic attitude and other unethical directions. Both the leaders hail from the state of Haryana. The leaders might have been inspired by Haryana CM, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a known sympathiser of the Khap. The Khap panchayats have been issuing diktats against inter-caste marriages, encouraged by Mahatma Gandhi in the past. The party might be expecting a good electoral gain this year by doing this. The present stand of the party on Khap may attract a large number of villagers in the National Capital Region and nearby states of UP and Haryana but it is not going to cut much ice at the national level.

After an unexpected success in Delhi, the party has been trying to emerge as the third largest party in the Lok Sabha. Hence it is contemplating on fielding around 350 candidates across the country.
It’s also worth analysing that what made the party support the Khap panchayats considering its history of controversial, unjustified and talibani pronounced judgements.

It is being debated in the political circles whether the support to Khap came with an aim to overcome the waning popularity of the party in Delhi and other parts subsequent upon the controversial dharna by the chief minister, unusual behaviour of the two ministers of Kejriwal cabinet and a number of unfulfilled promises.

The support to the Khap by the AAP is contrary to the stand of the party on women safety and its deep concern for them. It would also malign the announcement of setting up a women safety command by the AAP government in Delhi. The AAP government has set the ball rolling in this direction as it has been acting fast during the first month of its existence and is keen to disseminate a clear message of its seriousness in taking new initiatives. The party has also been taking all its actions, as a calculated plan, to improve its credibility. The party, while supporting the so called institution of Kagaroo court, has forgotten the diktats including ban on mobile phones by women, beheading people in the matter of honour killing, dress code, gang rape of the girl for having relations with a male member of an outcaste family, hefty fine on the family on disobeying an order of the village court etc. In the light of all this, it is going to be difficult to justify its support to Khap by the party.

The villagers in the country side have not been able to muster courage to come forward and oppose the diktats of the Khap panchayats.

Even the most sophisticated and educated persons putting up in villages find themselves to be held up in the 17th or 18th century and are forced to render respect to the irrelevant, unjustified and arbitrary orders of the Khap. It has also been observed that the deterrent value of the Khap and its judgements are more than the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and legally established courts.

By supporting the Khap, the AAP is directly or indirectly taking society back to ages. In other words, the party is creating obstacles in the development of the scientific and rational temperaments of people.  Is there any worth in supporting the age old institution of Khap comprising of a class of people fully unaware of the principles of natural justice and jurisprudence?

The author is a communication consultant
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