From the Viewsroom

AAP has lost its moral edge

A Srinivas | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on January 09, 2018

More cynicism than idealism in its choice of RS candidates

By picking three banal candidates to represent it in the Rajya Sabha, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has, in effect, accepted that it is no longer keen about an alternative way of doing politics — one based on a Gandhian philosophy of freedom from money power, an accent on decentralised governance, and finally a discourse grounded in socio-economic realities.

Considering the goodwill and support it enjoyed of grassroots activists and intellectuals in its initial days, it could have done better than choose Sushil Gupta, a former Congress social worker who runs a bevy of educational institutions; ND Gupta, a chartered accountant and ‘economist’; and Sanjay Singh, an AAP founder member, Arvind Kejriwal apparatchik and grassroots mobiliser. The Upper House is meant to be a forum where a party nominates people of ideas. If AAP’s choice is acutely disappointing, protests within the party, led by the sulking ‘poet’ with overweening ambition Kumar Vishwas, are sadly farcical. It is, of course, true that AAP reached out to Raghuram Rajan, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, who refused.

But the fact is that AAP has dumped many of its resourceful ellow travellers in the period 2011-15. Its deliberate effort to distance itself from political workers with a Gandhian-socialist image suggests two things: first, that the boss, Kejriwal, cannot handle persons of stature and experience ; and second, like the BJP, AAP is overly suspicious of ‘intellectuals’. This is not merely about Yogendra Yadav or Prashant Bhushan, who could have been accommodated in the party. It had as its State-level campaigners public interest lawyers, social scientists, bankers, and articulate students. Are they still with them? It is also remarkable that AAP lacks women in its leadership, and has kept out many articulate women who were part of its campaign in 2014-15. Is it still different from the rest?

Senior Deputy Editor

Published on January 09, 2018
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