Mr Arvind Kejriwal (AK), the new CM of Delhi, do you have the time to read an open letter?
You took Delhi by storm. You presented to the people a facade of direct participation and named your party as “Aam Aadmi Party” (ordinary people party). It was a party formed by people who had no specific attributes nor background. The ordinary person was defined as an individual with the honest and non-criminal record, regardless of how much wealth he might have held. You Sir, cleverly used the props like bringing in a welfare state, eradicating the VIP culture in the country, supplying free water, reducing the cost of electricity, enacting anti-corruption bill, improving education (500 schools in the city), increasing medical care (500 hospitals), subsidizing the farmers and the like. These were precisely the attractions that communist leaders had been giving to the citizens. Sadly, though, this form of politics has failed to survive in spite of its noble intentions. Stalin, went ahead to even demolish people in order to create a new humanity. If at all, the welfare paradigm has survived only in capitalistic countries like Canada or Australia etc. People there seem to be happy and prosperous. It obviously means a country cannot hold itself without the backing of the capitalists. Almost naturally, and by compulsion, India chose the paradigm of crony capitalism. So far, it is working, though with jolts and hiccups.
You Sir, cleverly used the props like bringing in a welfare state, eradicating the VIP culture in the country, supplying free water, reducing the cost of electricity, enacting anti-corruption bill, improving education (500 schools in the city), increasing medical care (500 hospitals), subsidizing the farmers and the like. These were precisely the attractions that communist leaders had been giving to the citizens. Sadly, though, this form of politics has failed to survive in spite of its noble intentions. Stalin, went ahead to even demolish people in order to create a new humanity. If at all, the welfare paradigm has survived only in capitalistic countries like Canada or Australia etc. People there seem to be happy and prosperous. It obviously means a country cannot hold itself without the backing of the capitalists. Almost naturally, and by compulsion, India chose the paradigm of crony capitalism. So far, it is working, though with jolts and hiccups.
- You differed from the textbook communists, and we accepted this approach.
- You flashed a dream of a semi-welfare state
- You didn’t oppose the capitalists except for those who acquired richness by illegal means
- You promised to eradicate the menace of corruption that troubled a common man in daily life
- You didn’t propose formation of a vanguard party to take care of the labor, Instead, you broke the impregnable wall that separates the rulers from the ruled
You caught the fancy of the people, particularly those who were concerned about the social and political situation in the country. Amazingly, the youth noticed your crusade and you succeeded to become an unprecedented Indian Chief Minister who refused to be anyone other than an ordinary man. You refused security, dispensed with the vanity lights on the car, the traditionally assigned large bungalow, and other perks. You will be remembered in history as an icon of a perfect leader.
Isn’t it amazing that this had to happen in the capital city of India, which is presently the hub of activities for the general elections in May-2014? It made waves in the minds of people but created turmoil in the political think tanks of the other parties They are all pondering over what paradigm they must adopt to appease the people who have experienced the good side of politics.
Mr. Chief Minister, governance is not a bed of roses; this is well known, but the fear is that you may turn it into a crown of thorns. By the way, why are the traditional communist factions not supporting you? Are they jealous, fearful of their own standing or they are unconvinced about your approach? Do they sense failure?
Even if we grant you the miraculous win that you administered, here are some blunders that you need to mend:
- Never commit numbers when the control is not within you. There was no need to commit to numbers like 700 liters of free water, or dates that within 15 days the anti-corruption “Lokpal” bill for the Delhi state would be enacted. Much would have accrued to your credit when people would sense your initiatives and grant you at least 65 days; they accommodated the previous governments for 65 years.
- The removal of vanity lights or flags is a decent step but you should have highlighted that this is being done to ease the city traffic woes, to provide relief to the general public, and to reduce government expenditure on mobile security.
- There is no logic in refusing the security of the Z-class for yourself, which all other VIPs, including some corporate magnates, enjoy. You or your colleagues’ lives are no longer personal. They are owned by the citizens now, and you have no right to betray them falling prey to a crafted accident or a terror attack. Remember you must survive since you have a mission to complete.
- The residential accommodation is a Pandora box of conflicts. The opposition will twist and turn your statements in the direction that suits them. No one on earth expects the Chief Minister, to live in a two or 3-room apartment when he is expected to conduct public meetings at home. They have to hold protocol governed functions and events in their offices or even homes. Please do not take it as VIP culture; it is mandatory to hold these meetings.
- The free flowing statements and commitments that come from the CM or the ministers are no doubt reassuring but too many of them and too frequently, are counterproductive. They raise a suspicion that the whole act is a drama, enacted to foster public support for the national election, which is a much bigger volume and effort.
- Support from the other parties – whether you take or not, is your prerogative. There was no need to tell the voters. And while at it, you should have used the word “other”, without naming a party. Aren’t we all accustomed to coalition, alliance and the changing fidelity? Moreover, when others ridicule you on the alliance that you entered into, probably necessitated by the needs of the others, the simple answer is, “the time is here for coalition government”. This is what all the others say.
These are petty and mundane issues unworthy of your personal attention, except that your generals must be cautioned for not repeating these mistakes for the future elections.
An articulate spokesperson or two must be appointed to stop the buck. They should be drenched in your core policies so that they neither falter nor contradict while making statements or answering media questions. They would be the protecting wall between your ministers who are still in the learning process, and the seasoned opposition who is well versed in playing the blame game. They should be exposed to the media only progressively, only as they gain confidence.
We all know the deficit of professionals in your core team, particularly for the larger perspective of the national politics and elections. You certainly have a few but you need at least 30 or 40 party positions more. Their tasks: people are required for selecting the candidates, managing the project management office, preparing manifestos, managing the databases of people, establishing systems and procedures that are efficient and error-proof, etc. In addition, seasoned mentors are required for training the new entrants on the party policies. Messers Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh will have to think. Sir, you need both thinkers and executors.
AAP can certainly bid for the Lok Sabha
Should AAP go in with full throttle for the national elections or not, is a question for another discussion, but certainly, AAP should obtain dominance in a few states. Should Arvind Kejriwal pit himself directly against Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi, is probably a premature debate. The main worry is of being complacent that Delhi results would be repeated in other states. However, the golden rule here is, to show your work in Delhi, before the month of May-2014 by prioritizing the activities that will show an impact on the daily life of the citizens of Delhi. Then, there will be a chance.
Here is a suggestion about how the execution of tasks must be conducted and what political paradigm goes with it. In my second book, “A wonderful world – Dreams, and Reality (2014-325 pages),” the concept of remodeled socialism has been defined and elaborated. This is a prudent concept that lies somewhere between socialism and crony capitalism.
Remodeled socialism is a proposal that allows the present day crony-capitalism to co-exist officially with democracy. It is a clever technique of preventing crony capitalism to flourish into comprehensive capitalism or letting it consume democracy. It acknowledges the fact that no form of governance can be sustained without the active and willing participation of the capitalists.
Remodeled Socialism entails reorientation of power circles of cronies, i.e. the nexus between politicians and capitalists, by incorporating a third collaborator, the citizens in that framework. At different levels of decision-making and work execution, capable and transparent citizens join in as partners, facilitators, and counselors but not as spies, auditors or whistleblowers. The golden rule that we lay down here is that no violence should take place.
Remodeled Socialism is a revamped version of socialism, which is devoid of the ills that plagued socialism in the past. It is a mechanism, which restores the eroded communication between the people and their leaders. And it provides additional people resources for governance. But its implementation is not as easy as can be written in words. In the ideal format, an aura should be created so that the appointed executives and enshrined leaders are motivated to call in the citizen expertise and experience for the government establishments, rather than the public making this demand through demonstrations, agitations or hostile representations.
It is no wonder that, bewitched by the Arvind Kejriwal success, other parties have started bringing down the impregnable wall between themselves and the people; a wall that they painstakingly raised over the years. But there is a difference between what is done from the heart like the AAP, and what is motivated by fabricated flaunting as is done by the others.
For example, the Citizen Durbars (gatherings) started by the others are dominated by one-way speeches, instead of the free-flowing dialogue. It appears that the comparatively smaller audience is carefully picked to ensure that awkward questions are not asked; only planted questions are allowed, and the justification for the scanty attendances is security. The Z-category security ensures the leader doesn’t come in contact with the people, which is its original purpose. When the leaders visit the poor at night, the camera is not on the people but on the leader. AK’s words amply explain this difference. “Hamari Niyat Theek hai, ” our intentions are noble and theirs are not. Undoubtedly, AK is on a mission, ‘catch me if you can’.
We have to wait and watch how AK converts his present strategy of leftist participatory democracy, towards remodeled socialism. Will the capitalists of the country or the world, permit him the realization of this dream? AK will be well advised to shift the gears from direct participation of Aam Aadmi to formalized participation of honest and diligent experts in governance. The middle class of the urban areas will follow you if you demonstrate quality governance. The rural areas will flock behind you if show allegiance to their cause as an Aam Aadmi.