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An Appeal: Don't Vote for the Aam Aadmi Party

I'm perfectly SERIOUS. This is NOT SATIRE. Do not, if you love this country, vote for the Aam Aadmi Party in the upcoming general elections.

I did not support the AAP throughout its campaign. My reasons were simple. The AAP was and still is a party of agitators and idealists, filled with people who raved and ranted about how rotten the system was, yet decided to fearlessly enter the same arena with a promise to clean up; yet with absolutely no history of governance, and no experience running an office.

To some extent, the AAP reminded me of the Indian National Congress, which agitated to give India independence, only to hand over power to Mountbatten immediately afterwards, because they found themselves woefully ill-equipped to govern a country, and the crises that followed independence.

Now, given that the AAP has tasted power for around a month, I'm convinced more than ever that the AAP does not deserve another win. In fact, I'm convinced that the AAP would be the absolute worst thing to happen to India since the earliest annexation of the land.

Let's have a look at the AAP's record since the elections. First, the AAP refused to form a coalition, with the "sab chor hai" rhetoric. Then the party took a page out of Idea TV ads (wonder if they would promote free 3G as a birth control measure?) and had an SMS poll to ask people if they should form the government. Yeah, right. We don't give a sh*t about the elections conducted by the EC, we will conduct our own polls that are inclusive, and include all the people who participate in these polls. Coincidentally, these are the same people who select "the next Indian Idol."

The people responded that they wanted a government, any government. So, the AAP decided to form a government with external support from... wait for it... the INC! The same party against whom the AAP had incessantly agitated for years. The same party the AAP said was so corrupt that they wished to expel from power. (As an aside, I am amazed at the Indian concept that the government "rules" over the people, and that they are "in power." I prefer the view that the government serves the people, though I can see how people can easily be confused into the former notion, given the absolute lack of concern for the people as shown by the present government.) So, the AAP formed a government, and Kejriwal took a leaf out of Gandhi's book, and decided to travel in a Delhi Metro to Ramleela maidan to take oath, which he did wearing a fake crown that had a fake message that he was still a common man. In this process, he strained an already strained Delhi police establishment, and cost the taxpayers an estimated INR 5,000,000 instead of the 20,000 that it would have cost if he had followed the norm. Reminded me of the statement that it cost a lot of money to keep Gandhi poor.

The next thing the AAP did was to promise free water, and announce an arbitrary audit of Delhi's power companies. In a free market economy, such government interference in the operation of private companies would be considered harmful. Not just that, but it gives all the wrong signals to any new business. Again, this reminded me of the INC during Indira Gandhi's era (the Widow, for those who get the reference). For those who don't, Indira Gandhi believed that she could remove poverty by simply bulldozing the houses of the poor. During her time, Tata ended up paying 104% tax. Yes, you read that right. 104% tax, because apparently, he was a terrible monopolist, whose crime against humanity was that the was rich, and had a big business. Those were the days that businesses had to sell assets to survive; and need I remind you that this militant socialism left us with a severe balance of payment crisis. Do we want to revisit that scenario?

For that matter, consider Jayalalitha promising free water during an election. Would the press have welcomed that move, or would it have been seen as a blatant populist policy to gather votes? Why the hypocrisy?

To continue the war on businesses, the AAP announced that it would stop FDI in retail in Delhi. Now, I don't know much about economics and policy, but I can see how this sends all the wrong signals to any business that seeks to expand to India. Do we want to send this message, "India is a banana republic, wherein policies change with a change in central, state and local governments; on the whims of politicians, for petty election victories; and that it is best to not make any major investment in the country for you may lose it"?

The next bit is Kejriwal's refusal to push for Sheila Dixit's prosecution. This is yet another series of U-turns that the AAP has taken since election. As Faking news put it: Kejriwal asks for proof, BJP sends him tapes of his own speeches.

In yet another populist move, the AAP decided to take away the Delhi police's responsibility to prosecute errant rickshaw drivers, moving that responsibility to the RTO. That's like asking your clerk to handle the Mafia's collection agent when he comes knocking at your door. What about the common man, the "aam aadmi" who is incessantly harassed by these rickshaw drivers, who overcharge, take longer routes, and flat out refuse to go to some locations? Is it just because the party received a lot of support from rickshaw drivers, not just in terms of votes, but also with aggressive campaigning by rickshaw drivers for the AAP?

The AAP, elected, is not content in its new role, and still loves to play agitator. Now, they want to protest the central government and the right to suspend cops at their whims and fancies for not acting according to the wishes of the great AAP. Combine this with a minister who loves to go on raids with the police and dole out the AAPs version of vigilante justice. As if we weren't fed-up already with the moral policing by the police and the government; the minister wants police to kick down doors without a warrant, and gets into a spat when the police comply with the law. Hey, just get rid of the judiciary, will you; all India needs is vigilantes policing the streets and beating senseless anyone who does not conform with their twisted, sadistic opprobrium.

If the AAP, with less than a month in governance, can compel me to write as long a post denouncing them, something I'm loathe to do (I don't write about politics, unless its either satire, or about general concepts, I have so far kept my blog politically neutral); then they've done something seriously wrong. Yet, the juveniles in the party do not want to learn. With one victory, they decide to contest the general elections, and ru(i)n the country. Instead of learning governance and proving their mettle by successfully running a state through three terms, the want the people to vote for them on the basis of populist policies and a broken promise to "fix" the system, not realising that they are the problem with the system.

If you are serious about the success of Indian democracy, do not vote for the Aam Aadmi Party. Voting for the AAP would reduce India to a dystopian failed state; with no justice, no freedom, and no basic rights for the people who are unfortunate enough to live within its borders.

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