Random thoughts on 16th Lok Sabha Elections
By 10 am on 16th May 2014, the whole country was almost shaken by the trend of results. Not only that all the exit polls were proving correct, the results were even going beyond what was predicted. Chankya exit poll result was widely considered of the mark, but that was proving to be nearest the mark. Narender Modi had swept the polls beyond any doubt and Congress, left, JD-U etc. had been swept away in the wind. Except that Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab proved to stop the Modi wind, all other places just went Modi way. Yes Jaya in Tamilnadu, Naveen in Odisa and Mamta in Bengal saved their fortresses, but in Bengal, Communists got swept away and BJP got 17%+ votes, shaking everyone. How and why it happened?
Congress party had unexpectedly won 2009 elections without support from left parties, rather left had lost much ground to Mamta and Congress in West Bengal. Between 2009 and 2014 Congress pursued neo liberal policies with much more vigour than during 2004-09. Social welfare measures like MANREGA and RTI etc. had been brought during earlier 2004-09 phase. In 2009-14 phase Congress did not take any social welfare measures, nor passed Women’s reservation or Lokpal acts like popular measures. Worse still, Congress and allies ministers indulged in unabashed corruption, scandals were the news all through. Anna Hazare started movement against it in 2011, which went through many phases. Arvind Kejriwal was his chief lieutenant, but the movement got on its board all sorts of forces-BJP minded people were there in large numbers-V K Singh, Kiran Bedi, Ramdev etc. were all trying to pull different strings. December 2012 Delhi rape case issue exploded into mass movement led by leftist forces, but resulted in strengthening rightist forces. The stringent laws, shrill cries for fansi do fansi do…Kill kill became the order of the day, despite left forces principally being against capital punishment. Arvind Kejriwal had group of young people with him, which created mass appeal among youth but different from BJP. Old socialists, leftist groups joined Kejriwal platform, which got a political shape in the form of Aam Aadmi Party. Things were fast moving and Delhi assembly elections held in charged atmosphere and AAP sprang big political surprise by reaching almost half way mark in assembly. Arvind Kejriwal inflicted crushing defeat on Shiela Dikshit, the most popular Congress face in Delhi for last 15 years. AAP upset BJP apple cart too, who were just ready to hold the reins of Delhi. Congress played smart games by offering support AAP, who were also got into bind. In an abusive political atmosphere, AAP formed government with Congress support. On one side they were dependent on Congress for survival, on the other they were attacking Congress govt.’s misdeeds aggressively. Result was not unexpected. Govt. did not complete even 50 days in office, neither AAP wanted to get more time. General elections were announced for whole of the country and AAP jumped into the fray in big way. Though AAP was strong in Delhi, somewhat in Haryana, yet its Punjab unit brought more pleasant surprise for it.
When Manmohan Singh Govt. sent an ordinance to protect convicted MP’s to President for promulgation, Rahul Gandhi in impromptu press conference spoke in tearing away the ordinance, insulting Prime Minister in public in September end, just seven months before general elections.. Though ordinance was controversial and deserved to be withdrawn, but Rahul Gandhi’s immature or churlish conduct made the weakened Congress even paralyzed. So with onslaught from BJP media blitzkrieg and AAP’s rise in Delhi made Congress more vulnerable. And the way corporate world pumped money in these elections that was unheard before. Narender Modi ran his campaign aggressively in very professional manner and a big social media team was working for him. Congress was almost in stupor condition and only resistance to BJP blitzkrieg was coming from AAP, who put up candidates in 434 constituencies, more than BJP, but less than Congress party. Regional satraps were strong in case of Tamilnadu, Seemandhra, Telengana, Odisa and Bengal, but swept away in UP and Bihar, proving BJP strategy to succeed. The whole north and western region was BJPied in big way, even when the ruling parties were different there. UP, Bihar and Maharashtra with more than 150 seats betrayed their regional players and went away with Modi phenomenon. AAP by spreading itself too widely lost the chance to work in similar constituencies. Mamta in West Bengal reduced left to just two seats from almost 30+ at one time. Only Punjab proved to be an exception in this overwhelmingly BJPied scenario. Aam Aadmi Party which could have performed well at least in Delhi and Haryana got to zero, yet in Punjab, they proved their mettle. Here the anti incumbency was at two levels. People were against Congress party, but they were against Moditva forces, particularly Akali party because of their high handed behaviour against peasants, workers and other working classes. The drug menace spread by Drug mafia made Punjab common people angrier with Akalis, than corruption menace. People believed that Drug mafia was patronised from Akali party bosses themselves. Incidents of crimes like abducting young girls and forcibly marrying to some Akali goon also angered people to no small extent. Earlier Congress party also had indulged in such crimes. So AAP proved to be an attractive alternative here, which turned into their unexpected electoral success. Aam Aadmi Party put up candidates for almost all seats in Punjab, but was successful in four constituencies. It was close to victory in two other constituencies as well. Akali-BJP (NDA) combine could secure respectable victory only in case of Vinod Khanna and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, whose lead crossed one lakh votes in Gurdaspur and Khadoor Sahib. From Congress side only Amrinder Singh could have lead of one lakh votes against Arun Jaitley of BJP. In other ten seats-AAP scored highest lead of 2 lakh plus votes in Sangrur constituency from where Bhagwant Mann won against veteran Akali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, relegating Congress MP Vijay Inder Singla to third position. Prof. Sadhu Singh of AAP again scored an impressive victory with second highest margin of one lakh and seven two thousand plus votes against Akali candidate Paramjit Kaur Gulshan. Akali Dal’s victory in Bathinda constituency of now minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter in law of the chief minister is not only shallow by just 19 thousand votes, but this victory has a shadow of muscle and money used in abundance. Highest no. of complaints of buying of votes have come from Bathinda constituency and many polling and presiding officers have in private confirmed so. In many villages, voters did not come to vote till late in evening and they came only after they were able to secure big price of their votes from ruling party candidate’s agents around. Had the elections been free and fair from money and state power/muscle power use, nephew of Chief Minister Manpreet Singh Badal would have comfortably won. Manpreet Badal made a political miscalculation also in choosing Congress party support and not acceding to his own Punjab People’s Party (PPP) request to go with Aam Aadmi Party, which could have got him tremendous goodwill and support and neutralized the money/muscle power impact of Akalis. The victory margin of Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali), Vijay Sampla (BJP-the lowest margin of 13 thousand) was almost on losing side. So was Ravneet Bittu(Congress)’s victory margin from Ludhiana against H S Phoolka of AAP, of just 19 thousand plus. Only AAP candidate with less victory margin was of Dr. Dharamveer Gandhi from Patiala, who defeated Parneet kaur-three time MP and two time minister by 20 thousand plus votes. But Dr. Gandhi’s victory was historic in the sense that he won from a seat, considered fully safe for Patiala royal family as was Bathinda seat considered safe for neo royal family of Badals.
In these elections NDA as a whole touched 334 seat mark and BJP alone got full majority by securing 282 seats alone, ten seats more than simple majority. Earlier it was in 1977, when Janta Party secured 345 seats with its allies, 298 alone with 43+% vote share and with 51% total vote share, first time in electoral history of India that some party crossed the benchmark of 50% vote share. But in 2014, though NDA score is 334 seats, vote share is just 31% or so. In 1977 elections Janta Party was formed with merging of many parties-Indian Lok Dal, Bhartiya Jansangh, Swantantra Party, many factions of Socialist Party, breakaway faction of Congress party led by Jagjivan Ram. 2014 election results are someway culmination of process started from 1977 Janta Party experiment. Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishan Advani were made ministers with plum portfolios in that year. All other merged parties were put off by Vajpayee-Advani RSS connections and they were forced to quit the government or leave RSS. They chose RSS and today RSS achieved its mission of achieving power in India through Narender Modi ace. Parties which were part of Janta Party kept on splitting and some parties became state level parties like Biju Janta Dal in Odisa or RJD in Bihar, Janta Dal (U) in Bihar, Janta Dal (Secular) in Karnatka etc. Since all Janta Dal kept on splitting again and again, RSS kept on keeping its house in order and achieved big success in 1998-99, by forming Bhartiya Janta Party from erstwhile Jansangh and getting allies like Shiv Sena, closest to RSS Hindutva agenda, but some secular state formations also like Telugu Desam, Akali Dal, DMK or AIDMK etc. While in 1999 elections BJP needed hundred more MP’s from other parties to form Government, in 2014, they on their own scored absolute majority and don’t need other parties support. Yet due to diversity of the country and their seats limited to North and Western/Central regions of the country with few no. of seats/influence in South, East and North East, they need to keep allies with them, even if they don’t need them for numbers.
2014 election results have brought into centre focus many burning issues. The issue of scoring vote share and scoring seats. Parties like BSP with 4% vote share drew blank, where as AIDMK with 3.3% share got 37 seats or Mamta in Bengal got 34 seats with 3.8% vote share. In many countries, including Nepal nearby, there is a system of proportionate representation in parliament on the basis of vote share, which perhaps is more democratic in nature. Another frightening aspect of these elections is culmination of money and muscle power pumped by corporate houses in the elections. Gone are the days of early sixties, when candidates will move on cycles, walk through to home after home, hold meetings in Mohallas, villages, towns with meager resources and try to instill some kind of consciousness among voters. It was a kind of creating political awareness among electorates and they chose candidates with some conviction. There were no waves in elections prior to 1977 elections, not even when Indira Gandhi won handsomely in 1971 with the slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’! 1977 elections can be said which created a wave among electorates, that too a silent wave. Nobody imagined such humiliating defeat for Indira Gandhi and her party, but that was a real protest wave among Indian people, who suffered at the hands of state oppressive machinery and more so Sanjay Gandhi’s fascist methods, which have somewhat now acquired by his son with BJP tag, a rightful place for the legacy! Janta Party started a process, which gone through many phases of non Congress rule at different times, but 2014 has proved the culmination of that process. Janta Party was combination of different contradictory political forces brought under one umbrella by Jai Prakash Narayan, due to compulsions of the time. But this umbrella created a respectable space for Jansangh/RSS, who had strong organisational network throughout the country, but little acceptability among liberal minded Indians. By joining Janta Party and serving in the Morarji Desai Government on powerful positions, RSS laid down ground for long term goals of one day reaching the thrown of India. With Janta Party getting into splitting mode, Jansangh party of RSS took the shape of Bhartiya Janta Party in 1980 and won only two seats in 1984 elections but scored nearly 8% of the votes. RSS and Sangh Parivar of Bajrang Dal, Vishav Hindu Parishad like organisations started polarizing Indian society on the base of Hindutva plank. In 1992 Lal Krishan Advani took Rath Yatra throughout the country for polarising society to build Ram Temple at the place where Babri Masjid stood since 1528. And Sangh Parivar succeeded in destroying Babri Masjid, with complicity of Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao. That laid the foundation stone of 2014 BJP success. Congress party had abandoned Nehruvian secular model during Indira Gandhi period itself. Daughter of an agnostic scholar Nehru, Indira Gandhi started appeasing religious bosses of all religions, but more of Hindu religion. Rajiv Gandhi went a step further and not only opened the gates of so called Ram Lalla, but appeased Muslim fundamentalists as well in Shah Bano case, after his massive victory in 1984, thus completely destroyed Nehru vision of India. Sanjay Gandhi had shown his teeth during 1975-77 emergency periods, when criminality was made respectable inside Congress party courtesy Sanjay Gandhi, the early face of fascism in India. Rajiv Gandhi did not encourage such elements but neither he could get rid of such elements in the party. Congress party’s such misdeeds were helping RSS and Sangh Parivar to expand its hold over society.
Post 1990 or even after Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980, neo-liberalism has entered Indian socio-economic conditions of India, with 1991 Narsimha Rao government with Manmohanomics in centre focus it grew tremendously. Manmohan Singh’s academic and personal gentle status made its growth much deadlier. All post 1991 regimes, some of which had support of progressive left forces as well, have been serving the cause of spread of neo liberal economic policies with occasionally offering some social welfare steps like MNREGA scheme. Since 1984 massive Congress win, no party ruled India with absolute majority in Parliament till recent 2014 elections. Congress was still lucky to rule most of the period in these three decades, leaving just about one decade to opposition to rule under different heads. By 1996 BJP grew stronger and in 1998 it was able to come to power through-13 days, 13 months and 13 years formula, the last one failed to materialize, though it was sure of scoring majority under ‘India Shining’ campaign in 2004. 2004-2014 period under Congress party, crony capitalism combined with feudalism developed in its worst form and BJP and Congress were now partners in its development, despite being political rivals. The so called Gujarat model is nothing but the worst of crony corporate exploitation of working class and peasantry with sops to middle classes. In fact the phenomenon of corruption is by product of Corporate Crony capitalism, it is cut to middle classes offered by this corporate world. It hardly matters whether Congress party found itself at receiving end for this in 2014, in some other year BJP can face the same music in much worse form, as their allies in Punjab- Akalis face now.
It is estimated that 2014 elections may have been fought with 30 thousand crore rupees spent by major parties, most by BJP and Congress party. Some report says that BJP alone spent ten thousand crore dollars! It is estimated that BJP may have spent one thousand crore rupees on media itself and Congress may have spent half of this amount. Much more money has been spent in purchase of votes, which never get focused in media, as they have already received their cut. At least one hundred out of 543 seats won by all parties could have been won sheer with the money power of vote purchase, by any party, not just one, but the larger share by ruling parties. It is being said that for first time, elections in India have been fought on US style, where in last Presidential elections Obama and his opponent spent billions of rupees on electioneering. When so much money is pumped in elections and so effectively, where is the chance for parties like those of the left orientation, who can neither afford to spend so much money, nor can they reconcile with this style of elections sans all political awareness among electorate.
These elections have brought to the fore the Marxist understanding of the bourgeoisie elections. No illusion of democratic process can hide the real content of such bought up elections. So what is the way? Does the boycott of bourgeoisie election system help? It could help if people’s consciousness has risen to that level, when they can see through the reality, that situation has not yet risen up. Does the armed struggle led by Maoists help? It could, if they had expanded their base to the extent that they can assert hegemonic position in political balance of forces, also if they had established moral authority by their ideal social conduct, which could have impressed even their enemies. That situation also does not exist. Then what to do? Sit back and watch the macabre drama of Corporate-feudal oppressive exploitation of natural resources and of Indian working classes! Or find ways of resistance! Perhaps one way of resistance lies in fighting the battle on their terms too-that is demanding reforms in electoral system and fighting with their tools to reach people for resistance. Emphasis on building and nurturing strong mass organisations of different type or working people is a must, long neglected by left political forces. These mass organisations should be the core of democratic movements in reality, to influence decisions in Parliamentary system. These should function like ‘Occupy Movements’ throughout the world! The rotten election system or Parliamentary system could also be used to highlight its chinks and emphasis upon its reforms in its own terminology of democracy. One can demand proportionate representation of political parties/forces in Parliament on the basis of vote percentage and not by one vote one pass system. Secondly one could demand public funding of the election process and the complete ban on private electioneering. The whole election process may be conducted by election commission itself at official level. Public political meetings may be organised by inviting all candidates together to face the electorate to address and face questions. Complete ban on money spending by candidates is desirable to give a fair play and level playing ground to all candidates. A person with zero income has as much right to present him or herself for elections as a billionaire has. Both must be given the level playing ground to reach people and people should judge from their ideas, which can represent them best!
In a multi-cultural, multi religious, multi lingual and multi ethnic society like India, the exploitation of people’s emotions on the name of religion needs to be strictly prohibited. 2014 elections are the worst elections in India, in which the worst kind of propaganda and most indecent language has been used by candidates/parties. If this trend continues, the situation could turn explosive and there could be mass killings of people as was in Delhi or Gujarat in 1984 and 2002. It seems that Congress party cannot rise to the occasion for demanding these reforms, as it is the beneficiary and agent of bringing things to this pass. BJP will never want it, as it is through this game of religious polarization that it has reached at Delhi’s thrown. Rather it will fiercely resist any such reform demand. It is only socialist/communist/Dalits/Adivasi sections of society, who can demand such reforms and also a party like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who can try for leading such reform movements. Aam Admi Party is also combination of different conflicting forces as Janta Party was, but the difference is that AAP has more of liberal/progressive/socialist elements in it and lesser no. of RSS/Congress style people. If it takes lead in some direction the internal balance of forces will take shape and the excess baggage will be shed in due course and then perhaps it can acquire political space vacated by Congress, but it must not become another Congress. It should try to acquire the best from all political movements of the past and present, but must not become combination of conflicting ideologies. AAP can revive the broad socialist and scientific perspective of Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Subhas Bose, Lohia and Nehru and also appropriate progressive anti communal tradition of Gandhi and Jai Prakash Narain, but if it cannot even resurrect atheist assertion of Ambedkar, Nehru, Lohia and Bhagat Singh and fall in trap of religious forces to show off at temples, Gurdwaras and mosques, then I am doubtful of it performing any effective meaningful role of change in Indian society. Religious fundamentalists of all religions have crushed Indian society with their violent methods and any progressive political force must shed public appeasement of religion and religious forces. They can take few more years to take deep roots, but those roots will be stronger than roots taken with help of hypocritical appeasement of religious forces. Secular parties should learn from the appeasement of all religious groups by Congress and its outcome in BJP getting more and more strengthened, throwing Congress away. Even today at least Communist groups and BSP like parties don’t indulge in public display of going to temples, Gurdwaras etc. Why Arvind Kejriwal is doing so? If he comes to Punjab, why does not he goes to Bhagat Singh memorial to pay homage and begin his tour than starting from bowing to religious places? If he goes to Bengal, rather than visiting Kali Mandir, he should visit Subhas or Master Surya Sen memorial for paying homage. The golden rule of separating religion and politics must be the core principle of secular party like AAP. During 1998-2004 NDA rule, lot many Central and state Governments guest houses and offices have been filled with statues of Hindu deities. The Hindu religious practice of Bhoomi Pujan on the occasion of laying foundation stone for some building or ‘Saraswati Vandna’ and lighting of lamps on seminars even in left front rules states has already spoiled atmosphere. Consequently, now in Aligarh Muslim University or Jamia Milia Islamia or BHU Varanasi or Punjabi University Patiala and all Sanskrit institutions start seminars with different religious invocations, which does not leave good impression in international seminars with foreign delegates present.
Another issue is of archaic colonial laws still on statue book. When Arvind Kejriwal resisted offering personal undertaking or bond for release in defamation case or the way RSS supporter Dina Nath Batra is terrorizing even the international publishers like Penguins, Orient Blackswam, Oxford University Press etc. to bend and crawl before him to save their skin and money due to presence of Section 295A on law books, which is as draconian as is blasphemy law in Pakistan with same no., which can even hang a person! In all the noises of independence and ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speeches at midnight 15th August 1947, no body, neither the Constituent assembly bothered to look at 1861 Indian Penal Code(IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code(CRPC), which contains notorious Section 377 to harass sexually differently oriented people. Now when matters reach even Supreme Court, no political party or judges feel ashamed that the whole judicial system, which is so torturous and killing machine for poor people, is in fact legacy of colonial Raj, which none of the political parties attacked all these years, not even Communist/left parties, ruling for more than three decades in some states. Parties like Aam Aadmi Party can forcefully focus upon the chinks in Indian independence of 1947, given with legs of new nations tied to colonial laws, made to suppress freedom struggle! Incidentally Pakistan and Bangladesh continue with same laws that is the essential unity in pre 1947 land of undivided India! When Jai Prakash Narayan called his movement as second freedom struggle and now AAP says third or second freedom struggle again, unless they underline the continuation of colonial legacy in the form of colonial era laws kept in statue books without change or with much worse amendments to these! It simply proves Bhagat Singh’s observations to be correct that ‘it does not matter whether Lord Reading/Lord Irwin rules or Purushtom Das Thakkar/Tej Bahadur Sapru rules, if exploitative system is not smashed, there is no freedom for the common people-Aam Aadmi of the country’!
Actually the struggle for freedom continues from pre 1947 times to this day and all the phases and movements in post 1947 period also, in a way are continuation of trends emerging during pre-1947 freedom struggle. Indian National Congress started as platform to mediate between Indian people’s aspirations and British colonial masters until Lokmanya Tilak like leaders turned into a radical platform for freedom from British colonialism. Mahatma Gandhi on his return from South Africa took its leadership, but he got feudal landlords/Indian capitalists to poor peasants and workers on this platform, whose interests could not be reconciled with each other. Mahatma Gandhi tried to make it a multi religious platform as well and lot many Muslim leaders like Badshah Khan, Abul Kalam Azad and more remained part of it. But largely Muslims and Sikhs formed their own organisations and treated Congress party as Hindu party. Congress also became platform for many ideologies as well. From Feudalism to socialism-all trends were part of it. Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose represented socialist trend, whereas Purushotam Das Thakkar etc were representatives of Capitalist thought and system. Communists also joined Congress Socialist Party, even Bhagat Singh and Master Surya Sen like revolutionaries had some interactive links with Congress party, particularly with its left wing. This common but contradictory platform continued even during and after 1947. The liking of BJP for Patel is not out of place, Patel did represent the trend within Congress party, what BJP is openly representing now. Congress party may try to appropriate and defend Patel legacy for itself, but BJP certainly had more closeness to Patel ideologically. The kind of interests Rajendera Prasad and Patel represented in Congress and Nehru’s reluctance to take them head on, made Ambedkar so frustrated that he had to pull out of the Nehru Government.
Communists came out of Congress Socialist Party and worked in their own organisations, but Socialists came out only after 1947 and remained divided in many groups-Praja Socialist Party (PSP), Socialist Party, Sanyukat Socialist Party (SSP) etc., later they remained divided in various Janta Dal factions like JD (U), JD(S), Samta Party, RJD etc. Dr. Ambedkar formed Republican Party, which was also doomed to be divided in many factions. Kashi Ram and Mayavati succeeded in creating and keeping united under Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Comrades of Bhagat Singh and Master Suurya Sen and also Ghadar party activists joined largely in Communist movement and continued their struggles for people’s real freedom from exploitation and oppression.
Due to power sharing in Parliamentary system, many groups/parties and individuals of libertarian ideologies got corrupted with the crumbs of system, like Lalu, Mulayam Yadavs or Mayavati etc. Even Communists could not continue with their ideals that gave rise to frustration among youth and other people. This frustration took shape of rightist movements like Khalistan movement, Islamic Jehadis or Hindu terrorist movements on one side, Naxalite or various People progressive movements like Narmada Bachao Andolan etc. on other side. Aam Aadmi Party is also product of this churning process of political/social movements and it has become platform for honest idealist movements and individuals with different ideologies, but broadly progressive. Most of the young followers of AAP are ardent admirers of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary ideas. The kick-start to the party in Delhi elections made it jump from its feet and lose touch with reality, which was set right during 16th Lok Sabha election results, which gave them mixed signals. On one side AAP got swept off everywhere, but on another Punjab gave its boost, even Delhi kept its hope alive, though no seat came from there. Lot many political blunders were committed by AAP leadership in impulsiveness and a to some extent arrogance of ‘Touch me not’ attitude. Still the rise of BJP as majority party and strengthening of Communal fascist tendencies in society, Congress party getting swept over, in fact AAP’s broom has hit Congress party hardest and indirectly helped BJP to gain tremendously, ironically AAP was the strongest critic of BJP. Congress party was hardest hit because AAP targeted it as a patron ruling party of corruption and other ills and by defeating it in Delhi, gave impetus to people elsewhere to treat it same way. But the essential difference was that in Delhi AAP could reap the benefits, elsewhere it was BJP, who reaped the crop of the ground prepared by AAP. Has AAP phenomenon not occurred, Congress would not have reached this pitiable condition, it could have got reduced to 150 or around, but not in such condition? People were already telling even in Delhi, that they may vote for AAP in Delhi, but they will vote for Modi at national level. I wonder how Yogender Yadav like expert psephologist could not read people’s mind accurately. While AAP by putting candidates in maximum seats in country wished to show the people that it is the option to Congress and BJP, but in their hurriedness to reach this goal, they committed many blunders. Throwing away Delhi Government in a childish manner could not project them as ‘saints’, who don’t run after power, rather their opponents were able to project them as ‘escapists and anarchists’ in people’s minds. By not concentrating on Delhi primarily and Punjab, Haryana secondly, they lost not only in whole of India except Punjab, but lost even crucial 4-5 seats in Delhi-Haryana. At least few of their stalwarts could have reached Lok Sabha by proper electoral strategy like Arvind Kejriwal himself from Delhi, Rajmohan Gandhi, Anand Kumar from Delhi, Yogender Yadav also could have won from Haryana, had AAP not fanged all over India, but remained rooted in Delhi-Haryana-Punjab. Outside this region selective candidates should have been put up, like Medha Patkar in Maharashtra, Soni Sori in Chhatisgarh and so on so forth. They could have put up at least one eminent personality in each state of India, to give AAP an image of genuine third force in the country, apart from BJP and Congress, which during elections media did project it, despite AAP’s love-hate relations with media. By putting up selective candidates, AAP certainly could have come up with 15-20 seats in Lok Sabha and not just four in Punjab only. One lesson AAP should learn from this electoral shock is that without proper organisational structure, no political party can have a long political life, already its NGO background had made its left critics make fun of it. Still the damage is not unrecoverable. Since Indian society and people do need a political force like AAP, it can still recover the lost ground, but for it will have to come out of smugness and arrogance of ‘Touch me not’ and ‘I am the only correct’ approach of various Naxal groups in the country. India is such a vast country that no single political group or party can think of steering it through, there have to be combination of multi-layer political groupings of likeminded and common goal oriented forces. To that extent AAP can still be a viable political platform with multiple but like minded political ideologies, broadly of Socialists and Communists with Liberals. The common goal could be anti neo liberal and pro working people socio-economic-political agenda through democratic means. To achieve this goal, they need to learn from South American experiments like that of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil etc, who broke away neo colonial neo liberal chains of USA and came out with alternative system through democratic electoral process. These nations were partly successful due to being smaller countries, but still their experiences in achieving certain pro people transformation is system can be studied and tried to be repeated with linking it with local conditions. Here AAP leader Dr. Dharamveer’s underlining of Hugo Chavez during his election campaign can become a model for other AAP leaders as well.
The success of South American radical leaders like Chavez is also linked to their appropriation of their national legacy of earlier revolutionaries like Bolivar in Venezuela or Jose Marti in Cuba by Castro earlier. Also their interaction with world’s leading radical scholars and intellectuals like Istvan Meszaros to Noam Chomsky. This needs to be paid attention by AAP leadership as well, who themselves have rich intellectual leadership itself like Yogender Yadav, Anand Kumar, they had the earlier support of radical economists like Prof. Amit Bhaduri, which they lost like their other blunders. They again have to get that kind of support back. AAP leadership should focus on appropriation of historic tradition of liberation of Indian people. They have to appropriate the tradition from 1757 onwards-from Plassey war defeat of Indian people led by Nawab Siraj-Ud-daulah, at the hands of British colonial rulers, with all the tribal struggles of Tilka Majhi, Sidho-Kanu, Birsa Munda and then 1857 onwards-Bahadurshah Zafar-Tatya Tope-Lakshmi Bai-Nana Phadnawis-Azizmudin-Jhalkari Bai to hundreds of struggles ignored in the history due to so called ‘mainstream struggle for freedom led by Congress’! Struggles from 1907 peasant struggle led by Ajit Singh in Punjab, martyrdom of Madan Lal Dhingra in 1909, Ghadar party movement of 1913-15 and martyrdom of Kartar Singh Sarabha-Pingley, Bengal partition and after revolutionaries like Khudi Ram Bose, HRA struggle and Ram Prasad Bismil-Ashfaqullah like martyrs and later Bhagat Singh-Chandershekhar Azad tradition, Master Surya Sen and Chittagong struggle, Udham Singh or Mohd Singh Azad struggle, Praja Mandal struggle and Sewa Singh Thikriwala martyrdom, 1942 Quit India movement, INA struggle led by Netaji Subhas Bose and Navy revolt of 1946, Tebhaga and Telangana peasant struggles of same period. These and many more people’s struggles, like that of Narmada Bachao Andolan of post 1947 period are all grand legacy of AAP. If AAP is able to touch people’s hearts and minds through emotional chords of these martyrs and movements, it can surely achieve what Chavez achieved in Venezuela. Political movements and social transformations are long drawn processes, they are not like one Naxalite leader prediction that ‘There would be revolution in India by 1970’s’! But long drawn movements with clear political perspective do achieve the tasks, if their cadres remain committed and idealism of martyred patriots keep on inspiring them and keep their life style close to the life of Aam Aadmi-Common People, who are hardworking workers, peasants and other kind of non-parasitical people.
Aam Aadmi Party has both options-to give a spark and get lost in wilderness or rather than small type sparks of Delhi Govt. style, work for liberation of long exploited honest Indian people, suppressed not only due to corruption, which is symptom of rather bigger disease of Corporate-Feudal loot of India and its resources and labour of Indian people. It will require lot of patience, hard work, many times frustrations, occasional falls like 2014 16th Lok Sabha election results, yet objectively there is need of such movements and if led by visionary leadership, it can lead to success despite attacks by Corporate and Feudal forces, represented by parties like BJP and Congress. AAP also has to shed its inhibition or arrogance of not entering into political dialogues or some common arrangements, like with left or socialist oriented parties in electoral arena or governmental arena. It has to learn to respect that earlier too, Chief Ministers like EMS Namboodripad and Achhuta Menon, (Kerala) Nripen Chakrabrati, Dasrath Deb and presently Manik Sarkar (Tripura) have set the standards of simple life style and honest governments. Even the left front government in West Bengal in its earlier phase lived up to standards of simplicity and honesty and pro people policies. Individuals like Satya Pal Dang of CPI as minister in Punjab or Inderjit Gupta as home minister of India have also lived up to standards of honesty and simplicity. Even Socialist government in Kerala and some other places like Karpoori Thakur in Bihar, have also lived up to AAP ideals in the past.
Results of 16th Lok Sabha, though have been shocking for leftists like us initially, as we were keeping our eyes shut and living and creating some illusions as in Varanasi battle, yet now the results are being internalized and being analysed dispassionately. The results have leftists and liberals shaken and woken up and the new government may not touch them for some more time, yet their freedom of thought with enjoyment of state provided privileges as available during Congress and non BJP regimes are not going to be there, nor the respect of dissidence is going to be allowed, so honest and committed intelligentsia also has now to face the issue directly-“On whose side you are partner?”