Millennium Post

The idea of AAP has gone global

If the discussions that marked Davos’ World Economic Forum talks are anything to go by, the idea virus that is Aam Aadmi Party has already spread beyond the confines of the national territory. In fact, that most of the talking points comprised AAP’s relentless rise and stunning electoral debut, taking the Capital by storm by carrying on with their agitprop tactics of spectacular politics, holding dharnas in the heart of Delhi and forcefully making seemingly unbelievable demands – is indication enough that the concept of a democratic, popular uprising, led by a handful of political novices and radical activists, has cut much ice in the international community, becoming the echo of the people’s voice. The 44th annual WEF, otherwise a celebration of wealth and avarice and an assortment of corporate executives, major investors, government leaders, central bankers and celebrities flocking to the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos, however, found itself being dominated by the civilian wrenching of political grammar in New Delhi and beyond, which evidently has caught the imagination of not merely those here in India, but has in fact managed to shake up the world’s superrich. The fact that the financial capital circuit and economic policy makers and watchers worldwide have been compelled to give the phenomenon of AAP a chunk of their time and energy, forced to engage with its categorical stance on FDI in retail (a defiant no), as well as provoked to laud it as an unprecedented development or dismiss it as a popular fad, is reason enough to believe that the world has sat up and taken notice of the potential impact of Arvind Kejriwal-led ‘anarchopacifist’ brand of politics on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the long-term performance of, and investor confidence in, the Indian economy.

While corporate conservatives saw, expectedly enough, the AAP factor as an economic dampener, progressive economists and commentators welcomed the development, sighting hope in a more equitable growth share and improved living standards for the country’s teeming poor. Moreover, the culture of accountability, efficiency and transparency that AAP is batting for, at least on paper, is one to unleash the wheels of greater change, with extensive effects on parallel and lateral planes, thereby leveling out the playing field for many more. Given that AAP has managed to emerge as an alternative to both UPA’s model of big government and BJP’s panacea of minimum government, it is bound live past the shenanigans of its bumbling ministers, and is likely to pose a serious challenge to the Narendra Modi-led BJP pitch for an India Shining reloaded of sort. AAP gives the ordinary voter the chance and the platform to metamorphose into a political player by his/her own right and that is a tremendous force to reckon with. Citizens are likely to reject the benefactor model of the intrinsically feudal Congress for the more embedded model of civic participation espoused by AAP, evidently modeled on larger global movement of popular uprisings, say in the Middle East, Turkey, or even a Brazil. This is also infinitely more preferable for the teeming multitude to the distant, technocratic cult of a Narendra Modi, whose fearful efficiency might have had blood in its hands. The sense of empowerment is AAP’s gift to the people and the bedrock of its increasingly bigger demands of its rightful share in the one-sided growth and development story of India.
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