'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Citizens Appeal to Aam Aadmi Party Leadership
Citizens Appeal to Aam Aadmi Party Leadership
We, concerned citizens
and voters of the Aam Aadmi Party have anxiously observed the developments of
the past few days in the higher echelons of the party. These developments were
triggered by a letter of Admiral Ramdas – the independent ombudsman or internal
Lokpal of the party. The letter addressed to the National Executive and
Political Advisory Committee, which is now in the public domain, has flagged
the breakdown of internal communication within the top leadership of the party
and also spoken of two camps within the top leadership with divergent views on
The concern of Admiral
Ramdas was supplemented by other communications among party leaders, raising
issues of transparency in decision-making processes. We accept that a
resolution of these issues is an internal matter of the party. We hope it will
overcome this challenge collectively and live up to the expectations and
goodwill that society has bestowed upon it.
We consider the Aam
Aadmi Party to be no ordinary phenomenon. It was a product of the nation-wide
social churning that began with the India Against Corruption movement led by
Anna Hazare. The inherent spirit of that agitation was not just to fight
corruption but also an invocation of the ideal of ‘swaraj’ – that implied transparent
and participatory governance with collective decision making.
Soon after its
formation the party caught the public imagination with its resolve to practice
a different kind of politics and its commitment to abjure the unethical means
that have become part and parcel of so-called mainstream political parties.
Your vision statement announced your commitment to cleaning the system from
The recent massive
support for the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi election expresses the social
aspiration for an alternative space in our political system. The established
‘high-command culture’ of the so-called mainstream is intolerant of divergent
views and internal democracy. Please remember that the people of India have
extended faith in you despite a vicious campaign against you by political
parties and by a corporate-controlled media. It is clear that with this massive
support, ordinary citizens want this unique experiment of alternative politics
and participatory democracy to succeed, not to collapse in a matter of weeks.
Needless to say India’s
economically and socially marginalized sections, such as casual labourers,
oppressed castes, tribals, women and religious minorities look to you with the
hope that the AAP will begin the long march towards the true and full
realisation of the ideals and promises lodged in the Indian Constitution. Some
of your leaders are fond of saying that the AAP has no ideology. That may be
debated, but surely it is possible to declare your adherence to the statutes,
norms and values of the Constitution? These include complete equality before
the law, the abolition of gender and caste discrimination and equal protection
of the freedoms of combination, of faith, speech and expression.
Let us remind you that in the mid 1980’s similar
euphoria accompanied the surprise victory of the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam
where an erstwhile students’ union formed a government under the leadership of
Prafulla Kumar Mohanta. However, the experiment of students’ participation in
mainstream politics faded with the AGP adopting the prevalent political
culture. Similarly, the political alternative which emerged with the JP
movement in the mid 70’s also failed to resist the magnetic (and fatal)
attraction of ‘pragmatic politics’.
the facts and concerns we have outlined above, we appeal to the leadership of
the Aam Aadmi Party to resolve their issues amicably, on the basis of dialogue
and conciliation. This is essential if the AAP is to emerge as a viable
alternative to a political system which has been perverted by the lack of
diversity, participation and transparency. You must manage differences of
personality and opinion amongst yourselves with greater maturity that you have
shown. Such differences are to be expected in any political movement and
inevitable in Indian society with its serious social divisions and conflicts of
interest. The challenge is to negotiate these conflicting interests with less,
rather than more friction; and this can only be done if diverse viewpoints are
given space and freedom of expression. Democracy is not merely a slogan. It is
also a wise method of political work. If you cannot handle such problems in
keeping with your promise, your supporters will soon conclude that your
politics is thoughtless and your capacities over-rated.
realize that there are many faceless and selfless citizens who have worked for
your electoral victory and that your political conduct and success is not a
private matter for your top leaders. Nor are they entitled to make frivolous and
sweeping statements and allegations in the social media as if they had just won
a students’ union election. We are concerned that the failure of the AAP
experiment (not only in governance, but also in the promise of a new political
style), will have grievous long-term ramifications for Indian politics. It will
have an adverse impact on the morale of the citizens who voted for you and who
believed that you were committed achieve the constitutional goals of democracy,
equity and justice.
statement is constructive and drafted by your well-wishers. We wish for nothing
more or less than that you succeed in your stated objectives. Please conduct
yourselves with maturity and get to work. There is no time to be lost.
Ovais Sultan Khan
P K Choudhary
Deepak Choudhary Suman Keshari Primila Lewis Nirmalangshu Mukherji Kamal Joshi Ananya Vajpeyi