BIRTH PANGS OR TERMINAL ILLNESS OR JUST GROWING PAINS
November 2012 volunteers in India Against Corruption set about forming a Party with the ostensible purpose of fulfilling the very objectives that this nascent movement had tasked itself to achieve. It attracted great interest. It appeared that the passions fired by Anna Hazare and his merry men had overwhelmed a great slice of our countrymen. All of them in India and out side saw in this decision a hope that corruption would , finally, meet its match. .Arvind Kejrival, diminutive and soft spoken, a product of Government school, middle class origins with an I I T degree and with a background of worthy achievements assumed the reins of power of the Party , still unnamed. After his I I T from Kharagpur he had joined the private sector ( TATA’s in Jamshedpur) but he soon shed the corporate opulence and joined the Income Tax Department through the UPSC and the IAS etc examinations. But not for long. Though, long enough to marry a batch mate and become an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in the Indian Revenue Service. He took study leave and never went back. He along with other spirited folks, including Aruna Roy, a former member of the Indian Administrative Service sought to bring transparency into our governance. The Right to Information Act 2005 followed by Right to Information Rules 2012 was the outcome and he was recognized as one of its architect. The Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership followed.
From 2007 to 3013 I was the Officer on Special Duty with the LI Governor Delhi. I met him in 2011 . He was working in areas of anti- corruption in Delhi Government and was highly regarded by the head of the Delhi State Anti Corruption Department, Dr N Dilip Kumar .He brought us together Incidentally, Dr N Dilip Kumar has just been named as AAP Party’s Internal Lokpal I witnessed how he set about organizing the Mohalla Sabhas in Delhi. He needed representatives of the service department to be present in these meetings of the Mohallas. The Municipal Corporation Delhi , Public Works Department Delhi, Delhi Development Authority Delhi Police were all cajoled and persuaded at his instance by me to participate in these meetings and help in resolving the petty but acrimonious issues that needle residents of small Delhi communities .He received total support in his these efforts from Delhi’s Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna. Then the momentous movement India against Corruption followed and the rest is history
The Party that he, along with many others, conceived has splintered after it received a massive mandate in the recent Delhi elections. On the face of it all it is fight on principles but let there be no doubt in any ones mind that the battle was for steering the party in a particular direction. In other words, a leadership struggle. Since it has followed Delhi election results AAP’s opponents like to describe it as fight for the spoils of victory. Be that it may Arvind Kejriwal has overwhelmed his opponents and he is the numero uno in the Party today. It is not unknown to history that leaders of a common movement go different ways after initially coming together to constitute a movement. In India it happened to Hume’s Congress Party over and over again. A S Dange the founder of the Indian Communist Party was in the Congress. As was Jinnah, before he joined the Indian Muslim League, Jai Prakash Narayan founder of the Indian Socialist Party and Subhas Bose of the Indian Forward Bloc. They are from the era before Independence . After Independence the numbers have gone on to multiply. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Acharaya Kripalini, Sharad Pawar and Mamta Bannerjee, to name only a few, are all former Congress members and each one of them has founded a / State Party. Congress Party had continued to bloom for 60 years after Independence despite repeatedly splintering. These are all growing pains and AAP, under Arvind Kejriwal, has now to set its house in order. As Ajaz Ashraf in the Hindustan Times said “ AAP will be judged on the governance it provides not for defining the limits beyond which dissent turns into some thing sinister regardless of the importance of this exercise.”