Above are some of candidates whom I wish that they should win and reach Lok Sabha. Profiles of some are given below-In order of pasting candidates are-1.Atul Anjan-CPI2. Amarnath Yadav-CPIML3. Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi4. Dr. Daljit Singh5. Soni Sori6.Rajmoohan Gandhi7Prof. Anand Kumar8Medha Patkar9Arvind Kejriwal10Yogender Yadav11.Balli Singh Cheema(All Aam Aadmi Party(AAP), 12.SR Darapuri13.Mohd. Salim14. Subhashini Ali(Both CPM)15. Rajinder Singh(CPI)16. Manpreet Badal(PPP)
Profiles of Lok Sabha candidates
- Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi—The earliest memory of Dharamvir seems to be, visiting him ,when he was a MBBS student in Amritsar Medical college. Probably I stayed with him a night in hostel. I may have gone for some Gursharn Singh event in Gandhi grounds, the whole night discussion on cultural issues. In one such all night meeting, perhaps Bhagwan Josh had come, Amarjit Chandan was there too. This was between 1972-75. On one of these visits, probably Dharamvir took me to introduce Dr. Daljit Singh, who was still working with Govt. Medical college. As Dr. Gandhi told me that when he spent about six months in prison during emergency, it was only Dr. Daljit Singh, who will visit them in jail. After completing MBBS and remaining Punjab Students Union (PSU) activist, which was led by Pirthipal Singh Randhawa, Dr. Gandhi joined govt. Service as medical officer at PHC Bilaspur, Bhindrawale’s wife’s village. I had joined JNU,but used to visit Punjab a lot and visited Bilaspur many times. Used to stay with Dharamvir in his official residence on hospital campus. Dharamvir got married in these days with Padma, it was perhaps arranged marriage, but Padma got absorved in Comradely life of Dharmavir quite soon. She was working with Food Corporation of India(FCI), where she was not burdened with much work and she could spare time. They had two children-one son and a daughter. I had seen children in their early age, but not since many years. Dr. Gandhi told that daughter is doctor in USA and son is with him in his clinic, he has also done medical degree. Padma has retired from FCI, before that Dr. Gandhi had taken voluntary retirement in order to open his own clinic.
In 1978 Dharamvir went to Bilaspur, Health centre, where he continued with breaks till 1988, almost a decade. He was popular in the whole area, in surrounding villages.In Govt. Hospitals, generally free medicines were not supplied to patients. Dharamvir saw to it that patients get medicines from dispensary. Though his consultation hours were limited in morning and evening, he was available to patients all times, as he was staying in flat on campus. Even during late night or odd hours, any family had any problems, they could come and call Dr. Gandhi and he was readily available. This made him so popular, that when he was transferred due to his anti-Govt. Campaigns in the area, people from 2-3 villages went to Chandigarh Punjab secretariat and returned only after getting his transfer cancelled. In 1979, he was elected founder General Secretary of Association for Democratic Rights(AFDR), the position he held for many years and brought AFDR to all India map. This mass organisation for civil rights was inspired by Nagi Reddy group of Communist movement and after the group split, Dr. Gandhi left the organisation and became active in other democratic movements. In fact Nagi Reddy group has decided that Pirthipal Singh Randhawa, a very popular student leader and general secretary of PSU to organise AFDR, but he was murdered brutally by Akali patronised goons in July 1979. Randhawa was considered a good organiser, so the mattle fell on Dr. Gandhi, whose organisational skills were equally good. Dr. Gandhi joined Rajindra Medical College Patiala for his post graduate studies and later became Asstt. Professor in Cardiology deptt. where he spent another decade, attending patients in large numbers. In year 2001, he set up his own Dr. Gandhi Heart clinic, on the pattern of his teacher Dr. Daljit Singh’s Eye centre in Amritsar, where nominal fees was charged from poor patients. Dr. Gandhi kept differential fee/expense structure for patients and offering free service to very poor patients and clinic became as popular in Patiala and its surrounding rural areas, as he was popular in Bilaspur area, where even Bhindrawale’s in laws family held him in high esteem. This continued till 2011-12, when he again jumped into mass movement with Anna-Kejriwal mass movement. And he became a Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Patiala constituency with a bang. I was not bit sure about whether he would be able to organise big campaign against a formidable candidate-Central minister Parneet Kaur, whose social reputation is much better than her husband Amrinder Singh, who is foul mouthed and arrogant in his feudal background style. It was easy to defeat him, if he was a candidate in Patiala. Dr. Balbir Singh, a common friend and incharge of Dr. Gandhi’s campaign invited me for discussion, in which Dr. Gandhi also joined for some time. We revived our past warmth and I expressed my solidarity and offered some suggestions. Dr. Gandhi’s presence made the Congress and Akalis unnerved and Akalis made a cowardly physical attack on him on Election Day, injuring him seriously, the writing of wall was too difficult for them to bear. Dr. Gandhi fought back and forced Akali supporter SSP and administration to arrest the culprit. I have been critical of AAP on many issues and continue to, but presence of Dr. Gandhi, Medha Patkar, Dr. Daljit Singh and Soni Sori like candidates, put me in dilemma. Also the growing danger of Moditva fascist trend, weakness and discredited character of so called middle parties like JD(U), Samajvadi Party, BSP; marginalisation of left parties, made me realise that perhaps it is only AAP, which has caught people’s attention and despite its inherent contradictions, I should support its creditable candidates and Dr. Gandhi was the first one with whom I expressed my solidarity openly and clearly.
- Dr. Daljit Singh-Teacher of Dr. Gandhi, Dr. Daljit Singh is known in leftist circles since early sixties, when he was Doctor in eye deptt. at Rajendera Medical college Patiala during 1967-72. Dr. Pyare Mohan, Surjit Lee etc. were in touch with him in early phase of Naxalite movement in Punjab, but Dr. Daljit Singh had relations with earlier Communist movement as well, with Satya Pal Dang etc. He used to help and support young student rebels of Punjab Students Union and their mentors like Surjit Lee and exchanged literature. From the very beginning of his medical career, he had the idealist streak in him, possibly got in from his respected Sikh scholar father Bhai Sahib Singh. He served Medical College till 1976 or at Amritsar, before establishing his own Dr. Daljit Singh Eye Hospital. I was probably introduced to him either by Surjit Lee or Dr. Gandhi in 1972-75 period, but later when I had to undergo cataract surgery in 1990 or so, Poonam Preetlari accompanied us to Dr. Daljit Singh. We stayed at Poonam house in Amritsar then. Dr. Daljit Singh has a practice of charging not only no fees, no expense from Punjabi writers. So from Gurdial Singh down to lesser known writers availed his generosity. Dr. Daljit Singh himself has a flair for writing, not only on his professional subject-eye care’, that too in Punjabi language, but in other fields of writing as well. He writes prose on American oppression of the world and with documents showed that how 9/11 was USA’s own planned act to push the world into a fire of hatred and violence. He is a poet and had two collections of poetry to his credit in Punjabi. My way of paying to his generosity was to translate his poetry in Hindi, which I did with pleasure, which was published by Kulwant Singh Suri, son of eminent Punjabi writer Nanak Singh. A release function on the book was also organised in Amritsar. When in 2002, I had another retinal detachment, after losing much vision in first detachment in 1992 end in Delhi, at the recommendation of Dr. Balbir Singh, an eye surgeon friend at Patiala, we rushed to Amritsar. This time Dr. Daljit Singh personally took care of the surgery done by his daughter in law Dr. Indu Singh, retinal expert in his eye hospital. This time we were hosted in his new hospital cum patient accommodation rooms, again charging no expense, despite my request that my University would reimburse me. And when in 2004 or so, my daughter had serious eye problem, Dr. Balbir again sent us to Amritsar and this time too Dr. Indu Singh not only treated her, she gave her so much affection as well. I have been sending my books on Bhagat Singh to Dr. Daljit Singh, who is also his fan and wrote even a poem on him. And when his candidature was declared from AAP, I expressed my solidarity with pleasure. Dr. Daljit Singh enjoy so much respect in Amritsar that he went even to Congress and BJP rallies and distribute AAP caps and people accepted. Despite being personal doctor of Presidnet of India a t one time and receiving Padam Shri honours in 1987, he never referred these things in his campaign as candidate.He was the only candidate to visit slum areas of the city and also poor Dalit areas in rural side, where no Congress/BJP candidate went. In light mood, when I phoned him to express my solidarity, he said half jokingly ‘we may even win!’ In two bullish candidates fighting a dirty campaign, Dr. Daljit Singh’s campaign was cleanest to the core and my strongest wish is his victory! He is nearly eighty years now and had been working since more than five decades with such discipline-getting up at 3 am, reaching operation theatre by 4 am, performing surgery till 7 am, then with little break, reaching OPD and attending to patients till almost 2 to 3 pm before lunch break. After an hour or more, again going to ward to look after morning operated patients. Sitting on computer from early nineties, when few people had such excess and competence.
- Medha Patkar- My interaction with Medha Patkar began in year 2006, after I joined JNU faculty in 2005. I was Vice President of JNU Teachers Association during 2006 period, when she had big agitation in Delhi at Jantar Mantar in which JNU Students Union; many faculty members participated, apart from many other sections of society in Delhi. Even actor Amir Khan came and sat on dharna for some time. She observed 21 days hunger strike and was very week, when I will hold her hand and listen to her soft voice in extreme weakness. In her team, there is a gentle Punjabi young man Simpreet, to whom she will call as ‘our chhota Bhagat Singh’-our little Bhagat Singh. I had gifted my book on Bhagat Singh to her and she had been an ardent admirer of the martyr. I was not totally attached to her long drawn Narmada movement, but always admired her simplicity and dedication. So when she also decided to contest on AAP ticket, I happily extended my solidarity to her.
- Soni Sori- I have never met Soni Sori, but have been reading a lot and supporting her through her sufferings at the hands of Chhatisgarh police. I refused to attend a literary meet patronised by then Chhatisgarh DGP Vishvranjan Singh, whose hospitality was accepted by many known Hindi writers. He was the main culprit of torturing Maoist sympathisers in state, which included simple adivasi school teacher Soni Sori and her nephew. The way so called President medal winner SP Aggarwal has caused inserting stones in her vagina had been the vilest act. She was given relief by Supreme court very late and that too reluctantly. AAP activist advocate Prashant Bhushan has been fighting her case in courts and probably he got AAP ticket for her to contest elections. I respect Prashant Bhushan for his radical stand on many issues like on Kashmir and has been critical of AAP for keeping away from him, when he faced attacks from BJP, even physically attacked. It was but natural I would have supported Soni Sori.
- Balli Singh Cheema-a poet and cultural activist from Nainital area is personally known to me since 1994-5, when I had gone to Nainital for Punjab Languages Deptt. function. Balli Singh was known through his poems and Gursharn Singh team has popularised his song-Le Mashale Chal pade hain log mere gaon ke/ab andhera chir denge log mere gaon ke’(People of my village have come out with fire lights/tjey will now tear up the darkness). I met him and Zahoor Baksh, another poet from Nainital and spent some time together. On my return talked about his personality to Sarabjit Dhaliwal-Tribune reporter in Patiala then and now senior journalist in Tribune office in Chandigarh. His profile was published in Saturday or Sunday magazine of Tribune then, but probably he himself has forgot it, as I did not see any of his reference or write up on Balli Singh Chema during the election campaigh. He was arrested by Nainital police to dampen his soirit on a trumped up charge.He could have come out on bail, he refused and fought back from inside jail. Probably he may make as the people’s spontaneous response to AAP has exploded at many places.
- Prof. Sadhu Singh- He is contesting from Faridkot constituency after retiring from Govt. College Faridkot as lecturer in English some year back. I don’t remember meeting him, but I may have met him, as I had many friends there in seventies-Prem Pali, T R Vinod, Gurdial Singh, Gurmit Singh. After young girl Shruti abduction case, Akalis need to be taught a lesson here and Prof. Sadhu Singh may be able to achieve that.
- Bhagwant Mann- I may have met Bhagwant Mann, known as comedian in plays and films, but cannot claim any close encounter, still I think he is better candidate to enter Lok Sabha than others in contest.
- Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi- I have not met him, but his recent book on Punjab-From Aurangzeb to Mountbatten-has been appreciated a lot. His earlier writings also I have been reading occasionally. He never used his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi’s name for his campaign and he has been losing earlier. Given his gentle and liberal personality, I think he deserves to win from Delhi!
- Prof. Anand Kumar-We are known to each other perhaps since 1977, the year I joined JNU as student and where Anand Kumar, Samajvadi Yuvjan Sabha activist was known as giant killer, as he had defeated Prakash Karat in JNU student union elections, who had also defeated him once. He had been BHU student union President earlier. He went to USA on fellowship, leaving his President ship in between, that was a bit of reflection on him. Later he joined faculty of BHU and later in JNU, few years before I joined. In JNU faculty, he remained JNU Teachers Association(JNUTA) President for one term and when I was also elected as JNUTA President for 2006-7 term, looking at my hyper activity, used to joke that ‘perhaps I want to be known as best JNUTA President’! We remained in constant touch on many academic and social issues and supported JNU students struggles together many times. He remained committed to his Lohiate socialist ideas, occasionally appreciating my writings on Bhagat Singh. During first elections to JNU Executive council, he supported CPI candidate Kamal Mitra Chenoy against me, but telling frankly that he is supporting him, as were Prabhat and Utsa Patnaik, telling me clearly about their support to Chenoy. I never felt bad about it and when Anand Kumar was put up as AAP candidate in Delhi, I extended my greetings and solidarity. Incidentally Chenoy left his four decade old membership of CPI to join AAP, he was their Central Committee member.
- Arvind Kejriwal-I have just one meeting with Kejriwal. When I was President to JNUTA in year 2007, I was invited by my friends-Prof. Amit Bhaduri and his Diplamat writer wife Madhu Bhaduri to join a protest against Information Commission at JNU old campus, which was its headquarters then. When I joined them, then I saw Arvind Kejriwal, who in a way was leading the delegation. I think RTI activist Shekhar Singh was also there, who later became one of the commissioners. That particular day Chief Information Commissioner, perhaps Wajahat Habibulah was not present in office, so the delegation including me and Bhaduris met one of the commissioners, who to my impression was playing smart. Kejriwal was very tough with him and somewhat aggressive too and that man was put on defensive. Since Bhaduris and other civil activists were supporting Kejriwal and one can now observe that Kejriwal did show spark in his personality in earlier days of his RTI activism that his present chrisma can be understood. But Kejriwal is not radical like Prashant Bhushan or Medha Patkar or D. Gandhi. He is ‘practical’, as he himself defined himself, ‘neither right nor left’! This is dangerous proposition; he could turn into rabid rightist also in future, as his resort to religious symbolism indicates! Yet in present political scenario, I support him from Varanasi constituency to defeat Narender Modi. Even if Modi is defeated by Kejriwal, the strength of BJP is not going to be affected and Modi may still become Prime Minister. But this symbolic fight is crucial for the future of the country. Modi’s defeat will be the defeat of fascist design of Modi. His victory from Gujarat is almost certain, but his defeat in Varanasi shall convey a strong message to BJP and Modi both that Moditva kind of fascism will not be tolerated by Indian society and if he still tries to push that agenda, the people will fight resolutely, that is the meaning of Kejriwal victory and Modi defeat from Benaras. I wish that CPM, SP and BSP could also understand this and withdraw their candidates and extend support ot Kejriwal, despite their reservations and political rivalry, as has been done by JD(U).
- Yogender Yadav-We know since our JNU student days in 1980’s later Yadav was teaching in Panjab University Chandigarh for 6-7 years, when I also joined Punjabi University Patiala. We met occasionally and had common friends like Jasvir, but we were never close. Under present circumstances Yogender Yadav’s victory is important, as he and AAP can emerge as viable alternative to Congress, LOk Dal, BJP and HJP etc. all discredited.
12-14-Some other AAP candidates like Dayamani Birla, Alok Aggarwal and SP Udai Kumar, I don’t personally know, but have been reading about them and their participation is people’s interests struggles like Udai Kumar’s struggle against nuclear plant in Tamilnadu, Alok Aggarwals’s Narmada struggle and Dyamani Birla’s struggle for tribal rights in Jharkhand. They have been imprisoned as well. If they win, that will be good for people’s mass struggles all over the country.
15. Mohd Salim-CPM-We became friends in 2007, when he as MP came to release of my book on Bhagat Singh by publication division. Since then we have been interacting on email, meeting occasionally. On my last visit to Kolkata for a seminar on Ghadar party centenary, Mohd Salim to came to visit me with his two sons-named Titu and Mir-both freedom fighters- at Kolkata University campus near National library. I gifted his sons copy of my latest book-Understanding Bhagat Singh and also Ghadar party hero Sarabha. On that day there was CPM election rally also. Mohd. Salim is ardent fan of Bhagat Singh, Ashok Singh is our common friend. Recently he was targeted by West Bengal CM Mamta Bannerjee, when his doctor wife having govt. House was asked to vacate govt. Accommodation in rough manner, with the excuse that ‘your husband(Mohd Salim) lives in govt. House with you”, so vacate! I wish him victory in elections, which he lost in 2009.
16. Subhashini Ali-daughter of legendary Laxmi Sehgal and Premnath Sehgal of INA, comrades of Netaji Subhas Bose, she is contesting from West Bengal this time on CPM ticket. She had once won from Kanpur, where Dr. Laxmi Sehgal lived. We shared dias, when I was invited to deliver lecture on Bhagat Singh during his birth cenetary in year 2007 and Subhashini came with her mother, who presided over the function.Both of them spoke also. She was in Rajya Sabha also. She delivered annual lecture in Ghadar party centenary year at Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall Jalandhar on 1st November 2013. I wish her success in these elections.
- From Siwan constituency in Bihar I wish that CPI ML candidate Amarnath Yadav tto inflict crushing defeat on JNUSU Popular two times AISA President Chandershekhar’s murder accused Shahabudin’s wife and other candidates. And to pay tributes to martyr Chandershekhar in this victory.
17-19-PK Biju from Kerala, Amra Ram from Sikar in Rajsthan and Jagat Ram from Shimla are few other strong candidates. I don’t know them personally. PK Biju, SFI leader once has been email communicator. Amra Ram is veteran respected MLA. Shimla mayor ship was won by CPM for first time, so Jagat Ram can give good fight. Wish all these candidates victory.
20. Atul Anjan-know him since years, but no closeness. Ghosi once has been communist stronghold, now ground lost. Still wish him victory. I wish him to inflict crushing defeat to Mafia don Mukhtar Ansari.
21. Rajender Prasad Singh-CPI candidate from Begusarai has remained MLA for long and has been active, met him on my last visit to Begusarai to deliver lecture on Bhagat Singh, was invited by Shatrughan Prasad Singh, ex MP of CPI.
22. Com Prakash Reddy-CPI candidate from Mumbai is face book friend, don’t know much, still as face book friend wish him well
23. S R Darapuri-Lok rajneeti- He is retired IPS officer, active on social media on Dalit issues, enlightened tries to combine Marxism and Ambedkarism. Contesting from Robertganj against big parties, I shall be too happy if he could put to mat them! Darapuri comes from Punjab, but got UP cadre and settled in UP. I met him Benaras Hindu University seminar on Guru Ravidas in February 2013 and formed good impression about him.
24. Manpreet Badal-Punjab People’s Party, contested on Congress symbol with support from CPI as well. His victory will symbolise the defeat of not just Harsimrat, present MP and wife of Sukhbir Badal, sister of Bikramjit Majithia, it shall be the biggest slap at Sukhbir and Bikram highhandedness. AAP candidate is not strong enough to defeat Harsimrat. Manpreet’s real maternal uncle Harpal is Marxist Leninist and editor of Lalkar from London. Manpreet is admirer of Bhagat Singh, drives his own car, does not carry corruption blot. Manpreet’s party’s mny people like Bhagwant Mann, Abhai Sandhu, nephew of Bhagat Singh were in favour of Manpreet contesting from AAP, but Manpreet miscalculated about Congress strength, had he known earlier that AAP will get such spontaneous support of common people in Punjab, he would have opted for AAP platform, which would made him win the seat surely and made him more relevant in Punjab politics, now he is risky situation. Though he made wrong statement on Bhagat Singh once, which I rebutted in The Tribune, yet his victory symbolises the defeat of oppression let lose by Badals/Majithias!
25. Lastly I do wish the victory of only Congress candidate Mani Shankar Aiyer, despite insult heaped by him on me. I have heard and met him casualy in functions and gifted him copy of Understanding Bhagat Singh, which he sold to Kabadi in garbage. He never replied to my mail in this regard. The book was purchased by eminent Urdu writer Balraj Komal. I wish him to be in Lok Sabha, despite this incident, because he is the only Congress man, who takes on the bull by its thorns-meaning attacks BJP most strongly and can take upon Modi too!So I wish his victory.
As I have earlier mentioned that I do wish victory of all those left and liberal candidates, who are strong in their constituencies-from CPI-ML, SUCI, Forward Bloc, RSP etc.
Under present circumstances defeat of Modi and Moditva should be the prime task of all leftists and liberals, one could tolerate ‘corrupt’ for a while, but one must not tolerate ‘Communal fascism’ even for a minute, as it can repeat such tragedies, as had happened earlier in Germany by Hitler, Italy by Mussolini, Indonesia by Suharto, Chile by Pinchot. Modi can take India to that detestable list and he must not be given any chance for that. Only 16th May will tell what turn India will take-towards Barbarism of Moditva or somewhat space for liberal/left parties! Socialism is far away, India needs time for liberalism to organise struggles for socialism!
In Punjab and at some other places, polling for electing 16th Lok Sabha was held on 30th April. In March or April beginning, it was clear that D. Dharamvir Gandhi is going to be Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Patiala seat. I have been keeping an attitude of critical sympathy for AAP. What they did in Delhi that invited mixed emotions. Some of their activities were appreciable, but some actions, particularly of people like Somnath Bharti was quite obnoxious. Many of my friends had become part of AAP in beginning, but later felt disillusioned like Madhu Bhaduri. But looking at the rise of Narender Modi, openly fascist looking Prime Ministerial candidate, and the miserable condition of Congress party, plus pitiable condition of so called third front parties and left front, made me think seriously. In non-parliamentary arena, the questionable conduct of Maoist parties was also not reassuring as alternative form of resistance to fascist threat looming large over the country. In this situation, despite many opportunist activities by AAP leader like resorting to religious symbolism by Arvind Kejriwal, despite being remained atheist some time, sidelining Prashant Bhushan like radicals and promoting Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti like questionable persons, I felt that political space being vacated by left and democratic movement is either going to be appropriated by BJP like fascist party or may be by eclectic Aam Aadmi Party, which became an open platform for all streams of political thought, as at one time during freedom struggle, Congress party was. Thus not only extreme leftists joined the platform, extreme rightists too found a place in this platform. Of course the biggest chunk came form centrists like-Lohiates of Yogender Yadav, Anand Kumar variety, Gandhians like Rajmohan Gandhi and few more, social activists like Medha Patkar, Balli Singh Cheema. Many from established Communist parties activists like Kamal Mitra Chenoy from JNU also joined. Its policies also did not reflect any radical shift like that of Chavez in Venezuela, which I wished to happen. Arvind Kejriwal has strong nerve and confidence to face the established ruling cliques and his agitation with Anna Hazare gave him empty political space to occupy and in hurried manner he declared formation of AAP and within few months, he created history by capturing Delhi state in his very first public test. His 49 days experiment as Chief Minister also helped him, though his impulsive resignation damaged AAP also, which gave it jolt in 10th April polls, when AAP probably suffered losses in Delhi and Haryana, where it was hoping to gain most. But AAP’s aim was clear and well thought out. Its intellectual leadership of Yogender Yadav-Prashant Bhushan etc. could foresee the downfall of Congress party and incompatibility of left and so called third front parties, all getting discredited in last two decades. It foresaw for itself the space being vacated by Congress party and prepare for long term politics. It was not aiming many seats in 2014 elections; it wished to spread all over India and it put up candidates in 437 seats, second only to Congress party, who put up 457 candidates or so. BJP may have put up 400+- candidates. It was a calculated risk. While in 50 seats or so, it could get many socially known candidates like-Medha Patkar, Dayamani Birla, Anand Kumar, artists like Bhagwant Mann, Balli Singh Cheema etc. in other areas, it picked up local known and respected candidates like Dr. Daljit Singh, Dr. Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi etc. AAP’s organisational structure is yet to be properly established, but spontaneous response of the newly emerged large sized middle class was such that at various places, the elementary structure got set up by enthusiastic supporters. 49 days Delhi government experiment gave it further boost, despite negative publicity after hasty resignation of Arvind Kejriwal.
Why AAP got such big response? The reason is simple, in last two decades in neo-liberal economic policies, the political class became not only too corrupt, it became very arrogant as well. Singur movement and Mamta Bannerjee’s meteoric rise discredited left’s public image of simplicity and people friendly conduct. AAP made appeal to that injured mind of common people, which expected from political class to be at least courteous and respectful to it, as the political class was till Indira Gandhi’s emergency. MLA’s and MP’s could be seen travelling on buses, trains, mixing with people, ministers could be seen walking on Shimla Mall like places. All this changed in post 1977 situation, even Janta party government could not win over people’s trust, so India Gandhi was back with a bang in 1980 and with the advent of neo-liberal regime, the overall conduct of our Parliamentarians became power and money hungry and it distanced itself from people. It was only left parties, which could sustain pro-people image during 1977-2007 period, but with CPM led left front government in West Bengal going for neo-liberal policies, acquiring forcibly lands from poor peasants for super rich corporate made them also culprit in the eyes of people and they were thrown out from power by Mamta Bannerjee’s demagogic whirlwind. Maoists also jumped on her bandwagon, only to regret later with brutal killing of Kishan ji like its prominent leaders, who gave open call to support Mamta.
In post 2012 conditions a political cauldron started boiling, in which lot many actors jumped-Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Agnivesh and many more. Congress was being cornered from all sides; BJP was playing smart games, putting its cadres in Anna like movements, where leftist youths were also there. Here Arvind Kejriwal made the smart move of forming a political party, almost unexpectedly and nobody was prepared to accept its possible outcome, taking and deriding it as NGO party, not emerging out of grounded political struggles. AAP proved political pundits wrong by attracting largest number of youths to its fold and it fastly turned out to be an alternative political platform-a centrist political platform. On the other hand BJP was spreading its fangs by bringing Narender Modi to centre focus, finding its time to capture power. Narender Modi’s past conduct in 2002 Gujarat communal violence against Muslims and his aggressive posturing made all the leftists and some democratic minded individuals to come out of its slumber and the social media-like twitter and face book became super active to counter this trend. On ground level, not finding an credible left platform, even CPI-ML could not become an alternative left platform, the left intelligentsia and middle class youth, minorities and other oppressed sections turned to Aam Aadmi Party and that was my dilemma too.
At one time, I was also feeling to contest on AAP ticket, if it has offered or invited me to contest from Bathinda, my home district in Punjab, against Punjab CM’s daughter in law; where in seventies, I had worked in my youth as left trade union and cultural activist, but at the same time, was feeling that my temperament is not fit for it. Neither AAP tried to tag me nor I took any initiative to join their bandwagon, though kept on greeting and sending good wishes to my acquaintances like Medha Patkar, Anand Kumar, Dharamvir Gandhi etc. But when Dr. Gandhi declared his candidature and our common friend Dr. Balbir Singh invited me for expressing solidarity with him, I could not become too stiff like our traditional party cadres and joined and expressed my solidarity with Dr. Gandhi, making my humble contribution with gifting some of books on revolutionaries and a token fund and offering views on certain organisation issues of campaign. Of course voted for Dr. Gandhi on 30th April at Patiala, though it was just third time or so in life that I have voted! First time I voted in 1967 elections for Master Babu Singh of CPI for Punjab Assembly.
Later when Dr. Daljit Singh, a renowned eye surgeon and Dr. Gandhi’s teacher in Medical College Amritsar, from where he did his MBBS in seventies and with whom I had very long association and to whom I call ‘custodian of my eyes’, as he has been taking care of these since 1990 or so, I could not remain silent spectator and did express my solidarity with Dr. Daljit Singh, though neither I could go to Amritsar, nor contribute to his campaign in any manner. Medha Patkar was already announced a candidate earlier, with whom I took part in some Delhi agitations, stood by her in her 21 days fast at Delhi during 2006-7, felt always regard for her. Soni Sori, I did not know personally, but she suffered immensely at the hands of police, so my solidarity was with her without question.
On the other hand from traditional left parties, Mohd. Salim CPM MP in 2004-09, had developed good rapport with me during 2007 release of my book on Bhagat Singh, during Bhagat Singh centenary and we remained in constant touch occasionally, with Ashok Singh, a lecturer in Hindi at Kolkata college and dedicated CPM worker being a common friend, met during a seminar in Kolkata in February 2014 and his being a candidate in these elections, made me express my solidarity with him as well. Same way Subhashini Ali, daughter of legendary INA heroine, is also contesting from West Bengal, for whom I have all regard
Looking at the socio-political-economic conditions, which otherwise indicate towards the futility of Parliamentary drama of elections, completely controlled by corporate world, corrupted and made more oppressive than even British times, why 2014 elections became important? Firstly rise of BJP as potential fascist party, looking at economic conditions, Congress was already sold out, the decline of the left movement and limitation of Maoist alternative, all made me think that perhaps to stop the “Rath of Fascism” was an urgent task and to work for creating such balance of political forces, in which fascist tendencies get weakened and some space sustains for the continuation and growth of democratic movements in general, so that working class and peasantry is not out rightly crushed. In that situation AAP seems to be providing that trend, by strengthening which, the balance of forces, may go against fascist BJP and its opportunist allies and thus fast growth of fascism could be somewhat stunted. It cannot be thoroughly defeated in these elections, but it can be checked to some extent. So despite all the reservations for AAP’s questionable personalities and opportunist conduct, I thought of supporting some of its candidates, also some other candidates, whose credentials are above board.
Even if some of them are elected, I don’t expect much from them, but for the revival of tradition of pre-1970 parliamentarians like-A K Gopalan, Jyotrimoy Basu, Bhupesh Gupt, Inderjit Gupt, AK Roy (Radical) Madhu Dandvate, Madhu Limaye, Pramila Dandvate and many more, who could live a simple life and raise people’s issues in Parliament with much force.
Here is my wish list-I wish these candidates to win and reach Lok Sabha: though in many cases, it is going to be just wishful thinking, yet in some cases it may prove true.I must add here that this list contains my personal association or some information about them from close sources/media etc., but I wish as many candidates of CPI-ML, SUCI, Forward Bloc, RSP, CPI/CPM or any other left orientation candidates to win, wherever they are strong enough!
- Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi-AAP-Patiala(Punjab)
- Dr. Daljit Singh AAP-Amritsar
- Prof. Sadhu Singh AAP-Faridkaot
- Bhagwant Mann AAP-Sangrur
- Soni Sori AAP-Bastar
- Rajmohan Gandhi AAP-North Delhi
- Prof. Anand Kumar(JNU) AAP-North East Delhi
- Medha Patkar AAP-Mumbai North East
- Alok Aggarwal AAP-Khandwa
- Dayamani Birla AAP-Khunti
- Yognder Yadav AAP-Gurgaon
- Balli Singh Cheema AAP-Nainital
- S P Udai Kumar AAP-Kanyakumari
- Arvind Kejriwal AAP-Varanasi
- S R Drapuri Lok Rajniti(Lucknow)
- Mohd Salim CPM-Raigunj
- Subhashini Ali CPM-Barackpur
18. P K Biju CPM-Kerala
19. Amra Ram CPM-Sikar
20. Jagat Ram CPM-Shimla
21. Com Rajender Prasad Singh CPI-Begusarai
22. Atul Anjan CPI-Ghosi
23. Com Prakash Reddy CPI-Mumbai South
24. Manpreet Badal PPP/Congress-Bathinda
25. Mani Shankar Aiyar Congress-Tamilnadu
Profiles jotted down in the beginning of the post.