Mr Arvind Kejriwal, the new CM of Delhi, Do you have the time for an open letter?
You took Delhi by storm. You presented to the people an image of a party that was named AAP (ordinary people party). It was a party with no specific nor special people You Sir, cleverly used the props of a welfare state, namely eradication of the VIP culture in the country, supply of free water, reduced cost of electricity, enactment of anti corruption bill, improvement in education (500 schools), increase in medical care (500 hospitals), subsidies to the farmers and the like. These were precisely the attractions that communist leaders have been giving historically to the citizens. Sadly, though, this form of politics has failed to survive in spite of the welfare state that it promised to build. Stalin, went ahead to even demolish people in order to create a new humanity. If at all, the welfare paradigm survived only in capitalistic countries like Canada or Australia etc. People there are happy and prosperous. It obviously means a country cannot govern itself without the backing of the capitalists. Almost naturally, India chose the paradigm of crony capitalism. So far, it is working, though with jolts and hiccups.
Arvind Kejriwal differed from the textbook communists, and this is why he recorded initial success.
- He flashed a dream of a semi-welfare state
- He did not oppose the capitalists except for those who became rich by illegal means
- He highlighted the menace of corruption that was troubling a common man in daily life
- He did not specify formation of a vanguard party to take care of the labour
- He broke the impregnable wall that separates the rulers from the ruled
He appealed to the people, particularly the diligent ones, and to the imposing vote bank of the poor. He succeeded and became an unprecedented Indian Chief Minister who refused to be anyone other than an ordinary man. He refused security, vanity lights on the car, traditionally large bungalow and other perks. Isn’t it amazing that this had to happen in the capital city of India that is the centre of actions in the run up to the general elections in May-2014. It created turmoil in the minds of those who were planning the manifestos.
Mr Chief Minister, things will not be a bed of roses; this is well known, but the fear is that you may turn it into a fireplace. By the way, why are the traditional communist factions of the country 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 the blunders that you made:
- There was absolutely no need to commit on numbers like 700 litres of free water, or dates that within 15 days the anti-corruption Lokpal bill for the Delhi state would be enacted. People would have sensed your initiatives and granted you at least 65 days, they accommodated the previous governments for 65 years. They suffered but they did not question them at all. So why would they have questioned you?
- 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, and to reduce government expenditure on mobile security
- There is no logic in refusing the security of the z-class, 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 by falling prey to a crafted accident or a terror attack. In addition, you have a mission to complete.
- By delving into un-necessary detail about the residential accommodation, you have opened 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 ministers and the Chief Minister, to live in a two or 3-room apartment when they are expected to conduct a number of public meetings at home. They have to hold protocol oriented 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 at too short frequencies are counterproductive. They raise suspicion that the whole act is a drama, being enacted to foster public support for the national election, which is of a much bigger volume and effort.
- There was no need to tell the voters that you will not take support from the others. You should have used the word other, without naming a party. Is the country not accustomed to coalition, alliance and changing fidelities? 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. For the future elections, we have to be cautioned not to repeat these mistakes.
An articulate spokesperson or two, must be appointed to stop the buck. They should be drenched in your core policies so that they do not falter or contradict, while speaking. They would be the protective wall between your ministers who are still in the learning process, and the seasoned politicians of the opposition who are well versed in the playing of the blame game. They should be exposed to the media only progressively, as they gain confidence.
We all sense the deficit of professionals in your core team, particularly for the larger perspective of the national politics and elections. You have a few but you need at least 30 or 40 party positions more. People are required for selecting the candidates, for 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. Mr Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Kumar Vishwash, and Sanjay Singh will have to think. Sir, you need both thinkers, and executers.
We can certainly bid for the Lok Sabha
Should AAP go in full throttle for the national elections or not, is a question for another discussion, but certainly, it should obtain dominance in a few states. Should Arvind Kejriwal pit himself directly against Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi, is probably a pre-mature debate. The main worry is about the complacence and expectation 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 prioritising 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 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 remodelled socialism has been defined and elaborated. This is a prudent concept that lies somewhere between socialism and crony-capitalism.
Remodelled 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.
Remodelled 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 counsellors but not as spies, auditors or whistle blowers. The golden rule that we lay down here is that no violence should take place.
Remodelled 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.
In the words of Arvind Kejriwal,” Hamari Niyat Theek hai”. This important slogan makes the desired impact. Even if we dilute the concept of Aam Admi and demonstrate quality governance, the middle class will be with you in the urban areas. Keep the slogan Aam Aadmi for the rural areas. We know that you have a great following in the rural areas.