AAP’s Rajya Sabha choices prove it’s no different from other political parties
AAP has failed to mark its presence in any state other than Delhi – although not for want of trying. It has consistently maintained that it is different from and in fact superior to all other political parties because it is democratic in the way it functions, not corrupt, and not swayed by things such as money and influence.editorials Updated: Jan 05, 2018 20:09 IST
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
That’s the last line of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, an allegory about the Russian revolution, and, in a country where comprehension problems are often the fount of controversy, it may be pertinent to point out that the pigs were supposed to be the good guys in Orwell’s book.
Orwell’s immortal lines are relevant yet again, as they have often been over the past so many years, because of recent happenings in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
This is a party that was supposed to be different, and which was born out of the anti-corruption struggle launched by Gandhian Anna Hazare and a few others.
AAP has failed to mark its presence in any state other than Delhi – although not for want of trying. It has consistently maintained that it is different from and in fact superior to all other political parties because it is democratic in the way it functions, not corrupt, and not swayed by things such as money and influence.
Over time, several of those claims have become questionable. Two of the party’s co-founders have distanced themselves from the party (the progenitor in some ways, Hazare, himself was never associated with it because he thought forming a party out of an anti-corruption movement wasn’t the right way to do things). There has been some criticism of the almost autocratic way in which the party functions, although some of this has come from disgruntled members and former members.
This week, the party surprised everyone with its choice of candidates for the Rajya Sabha. Given its dominance in the Delhi assembly, AAP can have three members elected to the powerful Upper House of Parliament. The party, in keeping with its perception of being different, did discuss some interesting names. Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan’s was one. Former Chief Justice of India TS Thakur’s was another. The party also considered Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, both former ministers in the first National Democratic Alliance government, who have been extremely critical of the current NDA government. All declined.
And so, the party went ahead and picked a chartered accountant as one of its three candidates, and a person who runs a group of educational institutions as its second. The motives for doing so aren’t clear, and AAP hasn’t explained itself adequately. Neither of the two is an obvious pick. And neither of the two is a different pick the way a Rajan or a Thakur would have been. Not surprisingly, the choice has made some in the party unhappy and attracted criticism for being motivated by the wrong reasons.
Maybe it’s time for AAP to stop touting its difference.