Thursday, May 9, 2013

Whose votes will AAP cut?

People are wondering that when AAP stands for elections, whose votes will it cut?

Elections are won by buying of votes more than ever before. This trend of purchasing votes is increasing, election by election, by all parties. By 2019 elections, vote buying as well as religious and caste voting will be at an unprecedented high. May be, because of the Anna movement and heightened awakening in the populace, there is a window of opportunity in the next 2014 elections for ethical politics. Missing this opportunity will be terrible for India.

BJP calls AAP a B-team of Congress, while Congressis call AAP as B-team of BJP. We must be doing something right to be accused by both :). When Indira Gandhi was asked whether we leaned towards USA or Russia, she said "neither, we stand firm". That is my answer to these accusations. We believe that Congress in its 60 years of rule has completely messed up the nation. While, there has been growth, the performance has been much less than the potential of India. India has grown not because of the government, but, in spite of it. We do not think that BJP is an alternative or solution to Congress.

Status Quo can not be acceptable. The poor, dispossessed, unequal and discriminated are facing the brunt of miseries that can be set right by good governance. Changing players is not the solution; we need to change the rules of the game. The present system does not have the ability to make India a humane, caring and developed nation.

I call the Indian democracy model Monarcracy - winning elections with democratic means, but once they get elected, they become Kings and Queens. BJP is as corrupt as the Congress. When Gadkari said that "We do their 4 works and they do our 4 works", it became obvious that BJP, Cong and other parties are bhai-bhais. While, the naive citizen may think that there is a ruling party and separate opposition parties, we know now with experience, that all politicians work together in business. They get elected probably as different parties, but once elected, they work together for making money.  The adage is true "The closest friend of a politician is from the opposing party, while his worst enemy is from his own party". I know of a major MLA candidate of BJP who does compromise with the Congress MP of the area. He does not canvass against the MP in his Vidhan Sabha area, and the MP ensures that a weak opponent is pitted in the Vidhan Sabha election against the BJP candidate. That is the kind of tie-ups that are prevalent between parties.

Congress revealed that it had collected around Rs 2000 crores as official money for which they do not know the source. These were cash received from people, which was less than Rs 20000 each for which name, address and PAN is unavailable. This essentially means that cash or unaccounted money was shown in this manner. BJP revealed around Rs 950 crores in the same manner. That is the difference between the two. Congress has had more opportunity, which is why they have a bigger amount.

There will be a good away swing of votes from BJP towards AAP.

Generally, it is believed that the urban, middle-class, educated people who have generally been voting for BJP might shift to a more sensible and non-corrupt AAP. These voters have been the main constituent of the anti-corruption movement and it is believed that they would form the core of the voters of AAP. While it is true that these people who are sick and tired of the present parties will vote for AAP, it is not all.
There are millions of voters who do not have allegiance towards BJP because of its hard religious Hindutva agenda or its agenda of Ram Mandir, Article 370 etc. These voters do not like that agenda but still vote for it because it is less corrupt, with less nepotism, is more development oriented and do not appreciate the appeasement policy of the Congress. I used to be one of those voters.

These voters will now have an option for voting for AAP. So, it would essentially vote for a clean party with an excellent leader like Arvind Kejriwal, a party dedicated to fight against corruption, transparency, accountability, participation, decentralization and integrity. It can be rid of parties that are corrupt nor criminal.

But, the bigger swing is going to be from the Congress.

A very large part of the Congress voters are OBC, SC, ST, Dalits, Muslims, Christians (around 72%). For decades, they have been frightened by Congress leaders. These leaders say that in BJP rule there will be riots and it will be difficult for these communities to live. In 2009, just few days before the Maharashtra assembly elections, Congress leaders reached the madrasas, mosques and churches and told the priests that they it was correct that congress was corrupt and that their Congress candidate was bad. But.....the community had to choose between a bad, corrupt Congress where at least they could live in peace or a communal party, where their life would be in danger. Thus, out of lack of choice they vote for the Congress. Congress gets votes because of TINA factor. TINA means "There is no alternative".

Once, AAP comes in the fray, this 72% voters who do not like BJP, will have a much better choice.
Besides this, there is a large voter base (in some areas more than 40% voters) that do not vote because none of the candidates excite them. A lack of good choice makes for low turnout. AAP can give a good alternative and we believe that a large number of new voters or voters who do not generally come out to vote, will. In a normal election, AAP does not have much hope of winning. But, if there is a wind or wave of patriotism close to the election, then voters will come out in large numbers with India's flags and shouting "Bharat Mata ki Jai", apprehending the vote buyers and propelling voters towards a new India. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Internal Lokpal - the truth

I joined India against corruption, a movement to fight against corruption and quit my well paying job for the same on 12th August 2011. If I was corrupt, would I be stupid enough to do that?

In March 2012, there was an article in Mumbai alleging that I had used my NGO to benefit a construction company. It disturbed me, because there was no merit in it. Other newspapers and TV channels tried to go deep into it, but could not find much merit in it, though some media did pick up and wrote some things about it. I have led a life of great personal integrity, even going to extreme actions where honesty is concerned. So, the clouds of allegations against me was disturbing.

In August, when Anjali exposed the irrigation scandal, like me, newspaper articles surfaced against her, again full of lies. She was equally disturbed and we had a talk with Arvind that these are just scandalous articles and if no one complains, then we will be living a life with allegations against us. Luckily, Arvind decided to form an internal lokpal against us and we welcomed it. I was specially delighted because the complaint against me had gone cold and if there was no lokpal, I would have to live with that allegations without any chance to disprove it.

The Lokpal was made up of Justice AP Shah, Justice (Retd)BH Marlapalli and Justice (Retd) Jaspal Singh and Arvind announced that in 3 months time, the findings will be published. Unfortunately, due to the tremendous media attention or paucity of time, the 3 judges recused themselves. It took AAP another many months to create a new Lokpal consisting of Justice Bhagwati Sharma, Admiral Ramdas and Ileana Sen.

The Lokpal was presented the complaints against us in terms of newspaper articles. They refused to consider that as proper complaints, arguing (justifiably) that there are thousands of articles and if they take cognisance of each article, they will never end. They insisted that a formal complaint with affidavit be made for them to process. They also mandated that they will only take complaints against National Executive members.

Fortunately, someone complained against me on 25.01.2013 and point of allegations against me on 28th Feb 2013. I was asked to explain my stand by 11th March 2013 which I did on 10th March 2013. My answer was sent to the complainant for his rebuttal. I am now awaiting the judgement by the honorable Lokpal.
I have the highest respect for the Lokpal, as they have an unsullied reputation of having served the nation and I will respect the judgement. I have taken a stand that if the hon'ble Lokpal finds any fault of mine, even moral or technical, i will leave the national executive, AAP and public life. No excuse, no questioning. I have submitted myself completely to the honesty and eminence of the excellent Lokpal that the party has selected.

As far as Anjali Damania is concerned, she too is paying the price for fighting for the nation against the corrupt. There has been no complaint against her. I beseech all readers to kindly make a proper complaint against her so that it can be taken up. She has not been a part of the National Executive and therefore her case cannot be taken up the Lokpal.

On 9th March, Kejriwal in a TV show said that Anjali Damania is not the executive member of the party. Parallely, unknown to him, we had a 4 day Maharashtra Session in Mumbai where people from all 35 districts came. We elected Anjali Damania as the Convenor of Maharashtra. We informed the decision to the National Executive on the 12th. All documents / emails can be shown on the dates. So, neither did Arvind lie nor me.

I am personally uncomfortable with the delay in the Lokpal issue and hope that it will get resolved. I cannot intervene nor ask. I can only wait. Once I sent my reply, I felt that the results will come out soon and hence hoped that in 15 days' time, it would come out. I am sure there is a good reason for the delay and our report would come out soon.

This is the truth as I know. Some of my friends will attack even this, but it is their way of functioning and I respect that.

By the way, anyone can please file complain against me in the police, CID, CBI or whichever forum they have confidence in. We are thorns in the side of the Maharashtra Govt and specially Ministers like Ajit Pawar, Chaggan Bhujbal and Sunil Tatkare. If we had any weaknesses or corruption cases, do you think they would have let us go?