Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cynicism and Hope

The failure of the Aam Aadmi Party lies in its failure to balance cynicism and hope.
Corruption among other misdeeds of the state had frustrated me, and the Aam Aadmi Party turned it into cynicism through protests and movements where every other political leader and party was portrayed to be corrupt.

But through this lens of utter pessimism and anger for the political establishment, I could see a ray of hope. A hope for reasonably fair politics and government. That hope was not unreal as the fasts on Ramleela ground were not unreal. Cynicism favored the downfall of Congress government in Delhi, hope desired the government of the common man - more accessible, more transparent and more accountable. Aam Aadmi party formed the government. Cynicism took a backseat as hope roared; I readily overlooked its association with the Congress party.

And then came the Lok Sabha elections. Cynicism was up the barometer again. However, I recognized some difference in my perspective towards this cynicism. I had thought it to be genuine during the protests and Delhi election, but it appeared to me as an election strategy this time. I could see the party abdicating its duties as the elected government as a strategy to win votes in the ensuing elections. And there it was. Hope had vanished.

Every meeting and campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party during the Lok Sabha election increasingly relied on using cynicism as a strategy. It failed to recognize the power of hope, a tsunami, that the BJP cultivated throughout its long and massive campaign centered around the Gujarat model. Kejriwal became the icon of cynicism and Modi that of hope. And as it happens, hope comes out victorious again. BJP formed the government with massive majority while AAP faded away.

During the whole process, I had one revelation - Politics is about pessimism but it is more about hope; it is about opposition, but it is more about governance. The Aam Aadmi Party mastered the art of opposition, brutal and lacking grace, but it refused to learn the art of governance. Governance is not a matter of 49 days. Neither is politics a matter of 1 year. Graduation in both takes years.

Aam Aadmi Party must balance the two to remain relevant. It must grasp the age old wisdom - "Beyond cynicism lies hope".

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