The AAP disillusionment and my decision to abstain from voting

Since day one of their election campaign in the Delhi Legislative elections, the AAP seemed firm on not forming the government without an absolute majority. This made sense. The very reason of the formation of AAP was existence of political rot. How could they, then, align with the parties responsible for this rot. After the declaration of results they finally decided to avail the support of Congress MLAs. They cited respecting popular sentiments conveyed by the election results as the reason behind their decision. Their rationale made it seem fine. The AAP volunteers, most of whom had no political ambitions, empathized with the anti-corruption sentiments of the AAP. They saw in them a great hope. These volunteers worked really hard and ensured a great door-to-door campaigning and fundraising. Dropping the chance to form the government would have wasted all the efforts. So when AAP took this decision, I was still very much in their support. But then when after a mere 49 days they decided to quit, I lost all hope in them.

I have been a Delhihite for 20 of the 23 years of my life. Though in some aspects Delhi is better than most of the other places in India, there still are serious issues that Delhiites face in their daily lives. AAP had a golden chance. Instead of implementing superficially populist schemes, they could have worked to make things better. In his IAC days, Mr Kejriwal used to talk about decentralization of democracy. He used to cite examples of some European cities where allocation of resources for infrastructural development is carried out through public deliberation at locality levels. AAP could have tried to implement such novelties in Delhi and craft out a model democratic state. They could then, in the longer run, mobilize national support to stand out as a viable alternative. These people claimed to harbor no political ambitions, this could have made them immune to the troubles of coalition politics. Any withdrawal of support would only have vindicated their claim of the lack of political will in political parties of India. It was a win-win situation. I understand that the whole IAC movement was centered around the ideals of the Lokpal bill, and the Jan Lokpal bill was the fulcrum of AAP’s election manifesto. I just don’t understand the hurry that AAP seemed to be in. Through good governance they could created such an atmosphere in Delhi where any party which opposed the novel aspects of the bill would have drawn public flak. They could have waited for the change in the government at the centre to table the bill in the assembly. This could have clarified the stand of the new government on the bill. Instead they showed immature impatience and chose to dump a golden opportunity. I was heartbroken when I realized that my hopes of a government that actually wanted to serve the people were smothered.

The current election campaign has further propelled my disillusionment. It is fine that they have chosen to target the BJP PM contender but it seems that they have chosen to ignore the current incumbents. They are not clarifying their stands on the various issues of public interest. They have rather chosen to target one man. What is their opinion on poverty eradication? What about education, law and order, healthcare, rural upliftment and urban infrastructure development? Why didn’t they put these things on the centre stage of their campaign? They seem to be no different than other parties, which focus their campaign on the shortcomings of others.

Many Indians have found hope in Mr Modi. He is a charismatic man. And despite all the allegations of incompetence during the Godhra riots he seems to have emerged as the choice of the upper class Hindu demographic. He has successfully built a brand out of himself. He is seen as a one man army who would miraculously usher in an era of economic transformation. Fine, but what about the other candidates fielded by his party. 35 percent of BJP’s candidates have criminal charges against them. 17 percent have charges as serious as murder and kidnapping.

BJP and Congress are the product of that very political rot that we complain so much about. The BJP candidate seems to be banking on the Modi wave and has found it convenient to not clarify his stance on the various public issues. I acknowledge the fact BJP is the younger party and it is INC which is largely responsible for the wayward strategy India has had in all spheres post independence. This still does not absolve the BJP of their contribution in the institutional disarray caused by political apathy. When I think of BJP and INC I don’t think of two political rivals, I rather think of brothers in arms jointly fighting to rule atop the masses. This is the reason I have decided against voting for any of them.

As far as NOTA is concerned it seems to be only of statistical significance right now. Why then should I incur expenses to travel to my permanent place of residence when I can very well assume minuscule statistical significance by being a part of demographic which conveys its faithlessness in the current system by not voting? If NOTA had an actual political significance I would have surely endured all travails to impinge my opinion. As of now, I lack the necessary motivation to do so. I had big hopes in AAP. All shattered now. As of now I don’t seem to have any choice. All claims of impacting decision-making by voting once in five years seem hollow to me. I believe that I have absolutely no say in most of the processes I am impacted by. My opinions do not actually matter. Those at power expect me to continue living in the illusion of democracy. A mere ink dot on my finger isn’t what I am looking for. I have thus decided to abstain from voting in the upcoming LS elections.