There has recently been both great interest in as well as criticism of the way the Aam Aadmi Party works, and what it stands for.
Looking at the 49 days that it was in power in Delhi, it ended up doing a lot. It managed to stop corruption in daily life for the common man and get an audit of power distribution accounts by the CAG. We also wanted to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill, but it didn’t happen. For a 49-day government, it was a successful one.
Yet, as a party we are evolving. Our policies and position on a vast number of subjects is still being formulated. In creation of our manifesto, we have involved a group of subject matter experts.
The biggest difference between the AAP’s style of functioning and that of the others is this: we say, do frame your policies honestly. Other parties may have policies drafted by more experienced politicians. But we ask, what is the point of that experience when they don’t eventually pursue that policy on honest considerations? Let’s assume that they understand the implications of the biggest policies better than we do. But when they don’t implement policies in public interest, and instead do it on dishonest considerations, what use are they? It’s so much better to have a party that may not understand the policies completely yet, but at least tries to work on them honestly.
Yet, it is not that AAP doesn’t understand the biggest issues of the day. We have help coming from a lot of well-regarded experts, often the best in the country. Given my experience of dealing with public interest issues in the courts, Arvind Kejriwal’s experience in social work and Yogendra Yadav’s experience in both academics and social work, I can say that between the three of us we understand more issues better than any three given people in any other political party.
AAP today is a very diverse party. We do have lots of educated people but also many who are not. Many people performing major roles in may just be graduates. There are also many activists and volunteers who are not very educated. They may have just completed school or are from the lower-middle class. While education does improve one’s understanding of political issues, education and politics aren’t necessarily related directly.
There are people who are not very educated, and yet have a very good understanding of political and social issues. There are also people who are highly educated and yet don’t understand much. Education does help understand technical issues, but it is not absolutely essential for being an effective political activist.
As we expand rapidly, one will see a lot of wrong people trying to get into the AAP. We have to deal with that problem as well, and we indeed have been struggling with. But, we are trying to keep such people out. There are two ways we could fail. First, we don’t become viable and don’t go any further. Second, we as a party become corrupt and are don’t effectively deal with internal issues. Both are problems, and we are trying to grapple with them.
People say that our problems are too huge to bring a change, but I say that they are only difficult but not impossible to solve. People are seeing that possibility and are quite enthused by it.