Sunday, October 28, 2012

Indian Politics needs disruptive influence of Kejriwal


Though, I am not 100% convinced with Mr Kejriwal’s political outfit, however, what I am convinced is that Indian politics surely needs his ways of disruptive politics. He and his coterie have in them to move the Indian political scene up-side down. His idea of bringing out the corruption in Indian politics to the common people is right. He has been right in unmasking the collusive politics and undermining the politico-business nexus. The intent is clearly right.

However, what I strongly believe is wrong with his brand of politics is the ways of doing what he intends to do. I believe, upfront, he is going wrong in leaving his exposes mid way. He exposed the corrupt practices of some politicians and then left them for others to take care. Look at what happened to Mr Vadra and DLF expose – nothing has come out so far and Haryana Government has given him a clean chit. Mr Kejriwal himself accepted yesterday that Mr Vadra will come clean in the Rajasthan Government reports too. I am sure the similar fates are expected for Mr Gadkari and our new External Affairs Minister (Mr Khurshid).

This precisely is the problem. If he intends to expose the corrupt politicians and the corrupt links between the political and business class, then he has to come up with the ways of taking them to a logical conclusion. He needs to make sure that all of his and his party’s efforts are not wasted. If he leaves others (media, opposition parties, etc) to complete the job, then he is fairly wrong here. If you start something, I believe, you need to finish it. He has to remember, Public memory is very short and more so in case of we Indians. This could easily be forgotten.

He at times seems to get caught in his own web of rhetoric. If he has to earn credibility, he needs to take the right steps and that too in right measure. Calling Delhi Chief Minister Ms Dikshit names will not surely take him far. This can prove to be counter-productive. He has to understand that Ms Dikshit has earned her credibility over the years with some good work for the city. If he is pitied against her, the work has to be done slowly and surely.

He can’t get too optimistic with Indian Politics, rather he has to be cautiously optimistic. Indian collusive politics can kill him and his party very easily. The system, for all its flaws, has a strong capability to fight back and discredit anyone. No Magasaysay Award can win back Mr Kejriwal any of his long and hard earned credibility, once he loses it.

India today is a tripartite society – The Haves and The Have-Nots & in between them a raging middle class. The problem right now for IAC and Mr Kejriwal is that all his current support lies within this middle class, which is supporting him in big numbers for now, and on the internet, social media and the likes. It is this middle class, which is also least bothered to vote and will eventually generate less seats for his party. [Even I am to be blamed for this. Being out of India for long, even I haven’t voted and God knows if I will be able to vote in 2014.] The Haves also don’t bother themselves much with Mr Kejriwal and his brand of politics. All the more, because he might expose some of their political connections too and hamper their Net-worth. The poor have-nots are something that Mr Kejriwal has to target. Even though, it will be a difficult task, as he will have to visit places, which normally no one visits. To generate enough credibility amongst these people, he will have to make sure the existing political pressures on them are lifted properly. This is where the political money game is also played luxuriously during the elections. Mr Kejriwal and his team will have to figure out this puzzle too.

Mr Kejriwal has to remain in the game for long and always think of the bigger picture and the longer game. He will have to take small baby steps to create an impact. India is a young country full of impatience. Even though, he has to take some definitive steps, each at a time, he has to understand that the results are needed. He also has to understand that Indian people accept that there is corruption in the country and in Indian politics. Hence, the focus should be how to address that rather than just exposing that.

He has to define a process where this can be addressed. Is Jan Lokpal the only possible way to address this? If yes, then, define the process of getting this done. Similarly, he will have to define how he will bring about the complete autonomy of Public Institutions like CVC, CBI, EC and bring them out of the clutches of corrupt Indian polity. This is something he has talked about for some time now. The time is ripe to lay down the specifics.

As a politician, Mr Kejriwal, needs to articulate his course and vision clearly. They have to announce decisive steps on things that matter the most – economic reforms, counter-terrorism, foreign policy, defence, energy, and many more. He and his team need to think through properly and come out with action plan. This is the best time, there is a momentum in their favour, and however, they need to act fast and incisively, else, this could easily be a chance gone than a chance grabbed.

Good Luck!!
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