Lately, some friends have been suggesting that I join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) while others want to know whether they should do so themselves. A few others think I am close to AAP and want me to recommend their names as candidates from their respective constituencies for the next general election, as experts from different fields are offering their services for the benefit of schemes for the poor to be implemented by AAP in Delhi. One policewoman called me to beseech that Arvind Kejriwal should accept security as she thought that politicians cannot be trusted, having had the experience of watching them from close quarters.
Firstly, I’d like to state that when Justice Rajinder Sachar revived the Socialist Party in 2011, he asked me to join them. This is the party of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Jaiprakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev, Achyut Patwardhan and others that had merged with the Janata Party in 1977. I am also part of the People’s Political Front (PPF) which was formed by Kuldeep Nayar before the previous general elections. I have been devoting my energy to build both the Socialist Party as well as the PPF, which brings together about a dozen small parties. We have to remember that the political culture that we wish to cleanse includes the tendency to defect from one party to another when one sees greener pastures. That is why a law against defection had to be enacted. Of course, the option of an alliance when there is agreement in ideology and working style is open.
But the main reason why I am not a part of AAP is because their focus is on corruption, whereas I think that the central issue for our society as well as globally, is inequality. So long as we are not able to build a society where every human being respects another human being to the same extent that he/she expects from others, we will not have a humane society. This will not be achieved by merely getting rid of corruption or establishing swarajya.
Let us assume that in Arvind Kejriwal’s rule, corruption is totally banished. There is not a single paisa of bribe given or taken. Let us also assume that people directly participate in every decision made, through gram sabhas or mohalla sabhas, i.e. swarajya is established. Will we then be satisfied?
What about caste based discrimination? Will the rich be willing to sit beside the poor? Will every woman feel safe and will it mean the end of patriarchy? Will there be an end to violence? Will half the children, who are victims of malnutrition and therefore school dropouts, start receiving full nutritious meals as well as be able to attend schools of the quality that children of the rich go to? Will the poor be able to receive treatment of the same quality that the rich can afford in private hospitals?
AAP has promised to halve the electricity bill, but what about those who are yet to be connected to the grid and will probably never get connected? We simply don’t produce enough electricity in this country for everybody because we don’t have enough resources. The rich and those who service them will have access to it, not everyone. If we don’t find a cleaner alternative to thermal power soon, the situation of paucity is not going to change in the near future.
Water is a natural resource and meant to fulfill the basic needs of all human beings. The government or any private company doesn’t have any right to sell it. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that that all human beings get as much water as they need for drinking, irrigation, bathing etc. But water should not be wasted in swimming pools, water parks or golf fields. In fact, there should be a ban on the private installation of water pumps, except for the purpose of irrigation. If this follows through, there will be no need to place a limit on water usage. When farmers adopt organic farming, the need for water for irrigation will also reduce.
Since we want to build a humane society which will not have any place for violence, we dream of creating a weapons-free world, at the level of individuals as well as nations. Hence, the Socialist Party has decided that its members should not discriminate among human beings, be against all forms of corruption but also believe in the concept of security without weapons. Brave people like Arvind Kejriwal don’t feel the need for weapons for their security.
Also, AAP’s foundation is based on the concept of nationalism. We believe that the concept of nationhood is as divisive as that of caste and religion. The security of nations is ensured by their relations with neighbours based on trust and not by nuclear weapons.
It is because of the above mentioned differences in some basic ideologies and also because of the corporate style functioning of the party, where people are being associated with not on the basis of human relationships but because of their utility value, that a person like me doesn’t feel comfortable being a part of AAP. However, since the party is out to change the decadent political culture in this country, it has our full support and we hope it will rid the politics of this country of corruption and criminalisation.