Arvind Kejriwal is a new star in Indian politics.
Kejriwal floated his Aam Admi Party (i.e., the ordinary peoples’ party) one year ago — primarily to expose and fight back against the historic corruption of India’s ruling Congress administration and its elite Gandhi Dynasty. Earlier this month, the people of Delhi voted AAP in for a second-place finish, right next to the powerful BJP, a Hindu-dominated right-wing, national organization with grassroots network across the country. Out of the 70 Delhi assembly seats that went to polls, BJP got 32, AAP 28, and Congress only 8. It was a state-level election.
After nearly a month of speculation, behind-the-door meetings and street rallies, when BJP refused to form a government because they did not get an outright majority, AAP decided to form its minority government with support from the eight assembly members from Congress. Now that they are comrades, AAP is probably not going to bring their promised investigation against Congress corruption.
Thus, Indian politics took another bizarre turn: Congress Party that AAP fought against so hard on corruption and failed functioning especially around protection of women is suddenly AAP’s bedfellow.
There is every reason to believe that AAP’s new-found love for Congress is cooked up in those closed-door meetings, at the behest of financial giants, big corporations and international powers that do not want a regime change in the upcoming national elections in India.
They do not want a change because the status quo keeps perpetuating their neoliberal, IMF-dictated economic plundering of India and its over one billion people, under the guise of development and prosperity. I’ve written about this socioeconomic situation in India. You can click on this link and look it up.
Upon this backdrop, today on Christmas Day, I wrote this article. I challenge especially AAP leadership and its soon-to-be chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal to respond to my message below, and answer my simple questions.
I hope as readers of my blog, you get to hear their responses too.
By the way, I am not a support of BJP and its Hindu-supremacist doctrines. I wrote a book about BJP and its grassroots, mentor network RSS. I was with them for twenty years of my life, and then came out, purely for ideological disillusionment. I do NOT support their bigotry, hate and feudalism.
Christmas Message to Kejriwal
I want to congratulate Arvind Kejriwal on his stunning success in the just-out elections. It is perhaps the most dramatic moment of 2013 even in the drama-riddled land of Indian politics. Only Sachin Tendulkar’s Bharat Ratna would closely match with Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party’s meteoric super-stardom.
But I find it absolutely incredible that AAP, a party that won the elections solely on charges of Congress corruption (using the broom as its election symbol — as if to cleanse Indian streets from its filth and dirt) now forms a government with support from Congress. This is definitely not politics of morality, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this would be the model for AAP and Congress in the national elections coming up. Definitely, this alliance of quick convenience is to stop BJP from coming back to power.
(And guess what, I repeat, I am not a BJP supporter!)
Congress’ deeply entrenched inefficiency, generations of false promises, and world’s best corruption made Indians angry. And countrywide street violence on women, capped by the Nirbhaya rape and murder last December, have made the young generation of Delhi finally turned off about Congress and its new-look projections in Rahul Gandhi. Indians — old and young, poor and middle class — have shunned Gandhi Dynasty and its perpetual non-deliverance.
For a number of years, Indian voters have been looking for an alternative away both from elitist-iron-walled Congress and feudal-communal BJP. In a scattered way, they looked to Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Mayawati and Mulayam-Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, Navin Patnaik in Orissa, and so on. Before, a third front put forward by the left under Jyoti Basu, and another third front put forward by factions of the ex-Janata Party have been tried too. But they all failed, mainly because they were never able to prove to the Indian electorate that they had a believable moral face. People wanted an alternative just because they did not want to vote for Congress or BJP anymore. But they could not completely trust these shaky, so-called third force.
But Arvind Kejriwal and AAP provided precisely that believable, moral face. Thanks to him, and thanks to Anna Hazare. But now, when the dust settled down, AAP is proving to be a back door for Congress to keep in power.
That’s truly bizarre, even for India’s bizarre politicking.I wouldn’t be surprised if AAP supports Rahul Gandhi for prime minister. Wait and watch! The support doesn’t have to be explicit.
Their unprecedented success, however confined to Delhi for the moment, is a strong testimony of people power. It is truly an aam aadmi moment — people’s moment. It only reminds me 1975 and Jay Prakash Narayan’s Nav Nirman Movement, a movement I was personally involved with — in solidarity with anti-Emergency, anti-censorship resistance workers nationwide.
Jay Prakash Narayan, who brought the mighty, dictatorial Indira Gandhi down. Then he was allegedly poisoned in jail. It was 1975-77, my intense political years in India: for change.
But now that Mr. Kejriwal has come to the pivotal point where he can either be the king or kingmaker in the coming parliament elections, I have some questions for him. I hope he takes the time to answer them. I would of course ask the same questions to Narendra Modi, a likely candidate to be the next prime minister, and also Rahul Gandhi who never showed any desire to understand the gravity of peoples’ disenchantment.
Question 1. — How do you plan to de-contaminate India’s political system of the cancer-like virus of corruption and black money? Is Lokpal (the national ombudsman to monitor corruption) a cure-all for such deep, deep mess? Wasn’t it you that said “Lokpal is Joke-pal?”
Question 2. — How do you plan to build a strong economy that is not so overly dependent on foreign capital?
Question 3. — Do you understand how horrendous India’s income inequality is? What policy change do you propose to bring down the historic rich-poor gap?
Question 4. — IMF and World Bank have imposed their Structural Adjustment Program where Indian economy has become hostage to their Shylock loans. Do you know what some of the SAP conditions are, and do you think Indian people also have a right to know how terrible and anti-people these conditions are?
Question 5. — Do you have any programs that turn back the clock on the rampant privatization and de-regulation of the economy? Or, do you believe in more of it?
Question 6. — Indian currency has lost its value on the global market; in just ten years, the rupee has crashed. What proposal do you have to lift the rupee out of its historic low, before it becomes an international trash?
Question 7. — Do you plan to further cut subsidies on essential commodities, or do you plan to bring them back to pre-Manmohan-Chidambaram days, where the poor people and families could take advantage of them?
Question 8. — How do you control the sky-high prices of food, health care and education, without counterproductive dictates from IMF and multinational corporations?
Question 9. — Environmental pollution is one of India’s worst nightmares now; in holy places such as Varanasi and Haridwar, Ganga is filthy and banyan trees hide under a thick cloud of dust. Do you have any plans to control or eradicate it?
Question 10. — What administrative measure do you suggest to stem the massive street violence on Indian women? Do you want to propose a new, educational curriculum on gender equality?
Mr. Kejriwal, I have more questions for you (such as how to stop terrorism), but for now, I would be delighted if you took time to answer these few. I hope you understand I’m asking them on behalf of one billion-plus Indian people. We have put our faith in you.
You have shown us some serious dreams. Now it’s your turn to translate those dreams into action.
In a democratic, honest and transparent way. Not by going to bed with Congress.
Not with Congress that Indian people rejected big time, not just in Delhi, but in all the state elections.
Humbly, with Merry Christmas Wishes,
Brooklyn, New York