We had watched this in movies like Yuva. A bunch of college kids decide to contest for an election. Work dedicatedly, in a team, fight all odds including assassination attempts and emerge victorious in elections. Like all superhero movies, we shunned it off as a story with no real life implication. "It only happens in movies", we said to ourselves,"we have seen Amitabh beating up 25 goondas single handedly, right?"
8-Dec-2013 proved us all wrong. Aam Adami Party emerged as second largest party in Delhi state elections. Mr. Kejariwal emerged as whale hunter, defeating the chief minister seeking fourth term. Many of his indiscreet colleagues defeated stalwarts. Not even a week ago, Sheila Dixit asked the reporters in an irritated tone, "Is that even a party? Can a man just walk in from Ghaziabad and change everything in the state capital?" Well he tried and fell tantalizingly short of the majority. All of us including Sheila Dixit were wrong. Reality indeed can be as strange as fiction.
Why the victory of these 27 political novices so important? Does it really have any significance? Or is it just another emerging regional party that is up there to fragment the votes? Just another cog in the wheel, which can do nothing to the direction of the wheel?
Only time can tell but AAP's debut is noteworthy. It can't be brushed under the carpet. There is something different, refreshing and out of the box about this phenomenon.
Firstly, this is the first time a political party has come into existence which has neither family, not money nor caste to back it up. Interestingly, these three pillars of Indian politics were outlined by Mr. Rahul Gandhi, on one of the rare occasions when his speech made sense. Parties like SP, BSP target population from lower caste, DMK, AIADMK, TDP target regional population, BJP champions cause of Hinduism and Congress and its off shoots like NCP are single mindedly focused on getting back to the power. AAP is the first party which has made a mark with issues that cut across religions, classes, castes, genders and all other axes that keep Indians a divided lot.
The victory is significant not just in India but across the world because for the first time cost break-up of how the campaign money was spent is available on the website. Even the concept of sharing such details is new to democracy. AAP had budgeted how much money was required to fight the election and they stopped accepting donations when that amount was collected. It may sound fool hardy but thats what they did successfully.
The victory speech by Mr. Kejariwal was simple, straight from the heart. One could make out he had not rehearsed it. There no punchlines, no dramatic pauses, no orgasmic slogans. He referred to what has happened, gave away the credit to all those who worked and voted for them. He casually mentioned that they did not have a single paid volunteer nor did they spent any money to buy any vote. They have also taken a stand that they will not form coalition with any other party and would prefer to sit in the opposition. He rounded off his speech by saying ,"if we have caused any trouble or inconvenience to anyone, I apologize for that". This appeared truly honest and humble. Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachhan, Lata Mangeshkar have exemplified that humility goes a long way in public life in India.
Every year thousands reach the Everest base camp very few reach the summit. Reaching base camp is the first step in the right direction to reach the summit. Whether they scale the summit or not, only time can tell. But now every Indian who pines for good governance, who hates bribes, who is troubled by bureaucracy should stand up applaud AAP for what they have done. Their victory matters to all Indians.