No matter how enthusiastically the media depicts it, AAP’s rise in Indian politics is not a new phenomena. However, protests translating to massive civil movements, in turn giving birth to newer parties, which then make way to the parliament in almost no time; is a clear indicator of the robustness of the Indian democracy. Even the ‘boastful’ US democracy is yet to witness something similar. Their civil movements, although transformed into political parties like the Tea Party or the Green Party – are yet to make significant electoral presence.
While Congress is inflicted with lack of leadership and massive corruption scams, BJP’s current structure is fascist and dictatorial in nature. No wonder media and some ‘intellectuals’ tend to think of AAP as a natural alternative. While in the long term, with the correct decisions, this can not completely be denied; AAP winning anything more than a few urban seats in the forthcoming General Elections is wishful thinking. When AAP contested in the Delhi assembly elections, 47% of their candidates were crorepatis. While this was less compared to Congress’ 87% and BJP’s 85% candidates respectively, AAP has proven to be nothing more than an Urban movement and a media phenomenon at the moment. The party clearly lacks an ideology, and protest alone does not fill that void.
Some AAP leaders, especially Kejriwal perfectly fit into Albert Camus’ definition of a rebel. In his famous book ‘The Rebel’, Camus goes on to describe how revolutions lead to re-establishment of the existing order, only with changed faces. The rebel, on the other hand is radically different and intrinsically denies power, even at times, unknowingly. This rebellion is the product of a basic contradiction between the human mind’s unceasing quest for clarification and the apparently meaningless nature of the world, described by Camus as ‘absurd’. These people tend to believe in nothing but their rebellion alone. Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ and Jayaprakash Narayan also fit into this definition.
There is very little doubt that Kejriwal is a man of good intentions. His lack of direction and haste is worrisome. However, if AAP has a future, it lies within the Indian compass of politics. What must ideally happen next, is the left front openly extending its support to AAP. There are three major reasons for this to happen. Firstly, although ‘left’ covers a broad spectrum of views, AAP’s economic policies in the Indian context are textbook leftist. Subsidies in the power sector, free water, greater focus on public health and education, opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail, to name a few.
Secondly, AAP has succeed in mass involvement of the urban youth more than any other party in the recent times. Survival and growth of left in any country is dependent on the involvement of youth in addressing issues of the masses, curbing corruption being one of the many in India. Lack of leadership and intellectual dissonance have been the problems Indian left has suffered from. AAP’s protest movements also successfully fit into the left’s idea of mass mobilization. Thirdly, such an alliance will turn out to be mutually beneficial for both the left and AAP. AAP will find an ideology to subscribe to and leftist ideology will gain more believers. Indian left is non-corrupt and AAP, despite its ideological neutrality, will find natural allies in them.
In the long term, if a third front must emerge in the Indian politics, it better comprise of AAP and the left. Everything else will either be too corrupt, or too insignificant. The formation of this alliance, of-course, must be slow, steady and happen naturally; unlike the other publicity stunts AAP has been pulling off lately. If the show must go on, it better make a difference.