Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why I am not enamored of AAP

Aam Aaadmi Party (AAP) has surprised many people by its showing in the Delhi elections, yours truly is one of them. But, some of us have become enamored of the party, and I am not one of them.
Indeed, AAP’s success has made me fearful of our future. Rest assured I am not a votary of the corrupt parties that were in the fray. My fear has everything to do with how the voting public was swayed to vote for AAP. To the extent I followed the election process, I did not see any stand the AAP had taken on a number of substantive issues. Admittedly this is a local election and matters that come to the fore at the level of the Central Government do not resonate here. Yet, I also did not hear any assertion that AAP will stay attached only to local government(s) and governance!
There was not a whole lot on transport, solid waste disposal, wastewater treatment, addressing poverty, slums, and a host of other issues for which the legislators are responsible. It was as if when corruption is taken care of all the other matters will resolve themselves. This is where a statement by a distinguished, responsible, socially conscientious engineer that I read recently came to my mind.
‘There are no easy answers to complicated problems; at best there can be the most suitable compromise’ – Jorg Schlaich
Here, governing Delhi is a complicated problem, if ever one can be identified. It is a local government, yet it is not. AAP is focused on what it thinks is the source of the problem – corruption. It is entitled to its opinion. Yet, it cannot stop with that if it has any aspirations for governance through transparency. Transparency is more than a slogan, is an instrument of governance, an integral one.
AAP should have laid out a road map of how that transparency will translate itself into solutions to the problems, and, it did not. True, it said it will achieve this, provide that and so on. But it did not lay out a doable scheme, or even claim it has one. Did AAP mention anything at all about being open to ideas from elsewhere? On compromise? Mentioning the ends and not discussing the means is not an example of transparency. That is, its election campaign paid only lip service to transparency.
That justifies why I am not enamored of AAP. And, I am afraid for our future because the electorate thinks what AAP is and implies it can do is the real thing.

Raghuram Ekambaram

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