Millennium Post

AAP and its new left affinity

The success of this newly formed amorphous political organisation which does not have even district level organised structure has surprised and shocked the political commentators who dismissed this organisation as a spoiler in Delhi state politics till the election results were out. While the Congress thought that ascendency of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would benefit the party due to split in division of anti-incumbency votes, the BJP remained complacent of the fact that the anti-Congress wave will certainly add to its electoral fortunes as a natural corollary. Both these parties proved wrong. While it stopped the BJP’s victory to power it has decimated the Congress the most. The party has been reduced to single digit and the chief minister herself who symbolised the party face in the state lost the election by a massive margin. How could it be possible? Why could it be possible? Why the voters refused to vote for the BJP to power?

The answer lies in fact that BJP could not generate sufficient trust in people that it is really concerned and cares about the common people. The culture of elitism, disconnect from the people, lack of sagacity which earlier happened to be its USP and untainted politics, promotion of money culture and poor level of motivation among the cadres finally  proved it dearly.

Narendra Modi infused the blood and provided cushion for the party but internal bickering did not go well with the electorates which accepted the allegations that BJP was all for grabbing power and less about the common man. And here was the Aam Aadmi which assured them that they would be different. AAP proved to be the better political communicator. It has changed the electoral discourse and it deserves all credit for this.

But having said so what disturbs the right thinking people that the movement has slipped into the hands of those who have been champions of stateless anarchy in guise of grassroots democracy. The mass movements in India have always proliferated with the support of the socialists and the right wing organisations. In 60s, Deendayal Upadhyay and Ram Manohar Lohia started this with the anti-Congress, and the right wing organisations turned out to be the main beneficiary because they captured the leadership role in many of the states. Similarly, J P movement could not have turned out to be a mass movement without the support of the RSS and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

These organisations made it impossible for others to sneak into the movement. It is worth to recall that during J P movement in Sitamarhi in Bihar a violent conflict erupted between the rightwing and leftwing organisations resulting into loss of lives. Even in Patna University which became the Centre of J P movement in Bihar there was violent fights between the two groups. The same can be said about the V P Singh government. Rightwing organisations played catalyst and key role in arousing
anti-establishment climate in the country for the general good.

But this time the left wing organisations were vigilant enough. They took the support of the RSS and its volunteers in the beginning but navigated the movement in such a way that they left little space for the rightists. While the BJP, RSS and VHP volunteers aggressively participated in the demonstrations organised by Ramdev and Anna, a section of the team members of Anna under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan never liked the entry of right wing organisations. The anti-graft movement was actually initiated by Baba Ramdev. Anna joined later on but given the allergy of the national media in Delhi towards the rightwing forces the Anna movement was given wider and positive publicity. As Anna and Ramdev had liking for the BJP and they both had appreciation for Narendra Modi as a leader the left faction of the Anna movement led by socialists and pro-naxals like Prashant Bhushan first separated Anna from Baba Ramdev and then subsequently navigated the movement from the control of Anna itself. True to Gandhian ideals Anna argued for arousing social and political consciousness of the nation and opposed the road to power for change in power structure and just system. Kejriwal and his socialist cohorts found an appropriate time to tap people’s anger against the Congress in Delhi. Team Prashant Bhushan did not allow the BJP leaders like Uma Bharati to use the forum in name of keeping the movement away from political parties. The cultural and students wing of the left organisations grabbed the political space.

Most of the leaders of the political affairs committee and the national executive of AAP have either socialist’s background or have extreme to moderate left leanings. The leadership of the Aam Aadmi knew that allegations of being close to the left would derail their movement as urban India dislikes the left, they cleverly have preempted this by putting this question on their website and with the answer that they are ‘problem and solution based parties’ and that they are not governed and motivated by any political ideology. But those who know Prashant Bhushan and Kamal Mitra Chenoy know it well that they are the ones who have been supportive of secessionists in J&K and  Naxals all over country. Their stand on Batla House encounter is known to all in which their stand was the same as that of the Islamic outfits.

With the success in Delhi this team of left intelligentsia supported by the left activists wish to replicate the phenomenon at the national level. They intend to stop the ascendency of BJP and its prime ministerial candidate and they would concentrate on the central and northern India, particularly the urban constituencies. It needs to be noted that they have initiated the Jhadu Yatra not from congress ruled states like Maharashtra and Andhra but from Gujarat. Secondly, as one commentator has noted, after coming into power, Kejariwal has dropped the slogan like Vande Mataram. It is learnt that the Muslim clergies had the objection to this slogan to which Kejriwal and his left associates have acceded to. The failure of the BJP was that it focused on the Congress but did not highlight the communal and separatist ideology of the AAP.  Left being completely decimated from the political space of Bengal and Kerala is delighted to see the development. Being pushed to margin in the national politics they see a ray of hope in Aam Aadmi Party, though they are skeptical as well because they see their own party also being in danger of losing the hardcore cadres.

The newspapers and news channels which have now lost the hope of revival of the Congress have started now propping up the slogans of Aam Aadmi Party. The brand of journalists who are fond of condemning Modi have already started seeing in Kejriwal the potential to challenge the rising wave of Modi. Though this has been the party of their quick conclusions after every such elections in which a non-BJP and non-Congress political leader has come out victorious. Journalists and intellectuals on channels were abuzz with such conclusions after all even after victory of Mayavati, Mulayam and Nitish in their legislative assembly elections. Few years back they predicted the same about Mayavati,  Mamata and Nitish. The success of the BJP will lie in how and to what extent it exposes the left-Congress nexus with the AAP. No wonder we find them all together to form government after the election in name of secularism. This is how the comrades have behaved in the past for their political survival.

The author is associate professor of political science at Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi
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