The crux of the matter is Arvind Kejriwal declared AAP's support for LGBT rights in the Press Conference for the manifesto, but the manifesto itself does not contain any mention of LGBT rights. Repeated questions raised have got no clarification.
I have declared that I am not specifically supporting Aam Aadmi Party anymore - which I had promised I would till the elections are done. I figure one broken promise deserves another.
I have no doubt that Aam Aadmi Party is committed to LGBT rights. They have declared so on several occasions. They have committed to some "Womanifesto" by Indian feminists that outlines a series of actions for political parties to commit to on gender rights. They have committed to having LGBT role holders in the party on another occasion. That is not the point.
As a part of the Womanifesto they committed to including LGBT rights in their manifesto. Arvind Kejriwal endorsed LGBT rights as among the first few things in the Press Conference where he released the manifesto. So the absence of them in the manifesto is a very specifically given promise broken. That is not my issue either.
I understand that AAP is going to have to juggle several ideas to be strong enough in the Parliament to deliver on anything at all. This may mean not tweaking the noses of some of the more homophobic supporters they have (Khap Panchayats, Muslim community, average ignorant on the street, etc). I trust that the Aam Aadmi Party is not going to let the LGBT community down and can completely understand if it has to play perception games like not including LGBT rights in the manifesto just to keep various easy to outrage people calm and supporting them entering the Parliament to begin with.
I don't have to like it, but I can understand it - if that is the case, which we don't know. I am completely for using all available support and delivering people's dreams while pushing through vital reforms on the side. Direct democracy sucks like that. A mob can vote out a minority's rights, so to say. Particularly if the rights have to be recognized where they weren't. I understand that a leader with a vision will have to play with keeping everyone thrilled and happy with governance and then forcing them to accept much needed changes too, whether they like them or not - because the country belongs to all.
What I don't understand or appreciate is the completely unnecessary promises that will get broken. There was no need to commit to the Womanifesto - it wasn't a legally binding document. There was no need to declare that AAP would support LGBT rights in the Press Conference for the manifesto, if AAP wasn't supporting LGBT rights in the document released. The deliberate raising of expectations, equally deliberate breaking of them and complete lack of explanations speaks of a disregard for people.
Even a explanation that said we were not able to get all leaders to put LGBT rights in the manifesto would be adequate. Obviously AAP would lose LGBT support, but that it will lose anyway unless it gets its act together. LGBT is hardly a significant lobby. The loss can be suffered if it means the difference between AAP coming to power or not. But even doing this should have been done openly and clearly. Who knows, perhaps LGBT would still trust their intentions? Or perhaps not?
I cannot recommend a party that blatantly breaks its word as an ideal party for India. Granted, AAP is still better than BJP or Congress, but the idea that AAP is what India needs, or that AAP keeps its word to people or that AAP is transparent is shattered. It isn't merely about LGBT rights. I was hoping AAP would have a stand on homeschooling. I never asked, because I felt fairly certain it would be supportive, and it was a subject best brought up if there already was an AAP government. Now I feel rather glad not to have asked. I am still quite sure AAP would support homeschooling if it were in power, but I am no longer sure it wouldn't declare or deny support without explanation if a bigger motive appeared.
Most AAP leaders have Twitter accounts. Not one of them bothered to bring an explanation for this mysterious removal from the manifesto. Some say Dilip Pandey said that it wouldn't be added, but no one is explaining why. A promise broken doesn't even deserve an explanation? Kya izzat rakhi AAP ne AAP ke LGBT supporters ki?
Who knows who will get sidelined without explanation next?
For a party whose leader fearlessly faces questions on TV at every opportunity, why are questions of supporters going unheard? You lead. Make decisions we don't like. We will support because we believe in the vision. But at least explain what our sacrifice of an agenda we wanted being abandoned achieved for the vision?
The intention is there, but the ethics are compromising with market factors. The intention will eventually be useful for me, but can I count on it? Vaguely. Can I recommend it? Nope. Not without putting own credibility at risk. I don't do that for anyone unless I am convinced that the reason is more important than my authenticity being unchallenged.
If I supported after this, how would I be different from the average BJP supporter who must find a way to declare love no matter the humiliation?
So, a promise broken, gets my promise of support broken. It stays like that unless LGBT rights are restored to the manifesto, or an open explanation is provided and apology seeked.
This post had apparently been published on an Aam Aadmi Party page and subsequently taken down to avoid accusing media of bias without clear evidence that the advertisement brough up in the post actually influenced coverage.
A wise move, that reflects the ethics of role holders in making accusations, even if supporters get carried away.
I also think it is a wise move after the recent thinly veiled threat regarding Kejriwal's comments on jailing paid media "if AAP did not exercise caution, the NBA would be forced to reconsider the coverage of the AAP". Considering that the AAP were pretty much calling for a need to reconsider coverage and control bias at that point, it can only mean that the NBA was threatening a blackout on AAP. Blackmailing may be wrong, but all battles cannot be fought at once. [Note: This is my opinion, I have no idea how AAP received what I consider to be a veiled threat.]
NBA's blatant indication of controlling news content to "punish" went down without any objection from any authority, media personality or channel stakeholder. Infer from that what you will.
However, the deleted post, in my view does point out to quite visible discrimination in reporting, even if it does not establish the advertisement as its cause. And the advertisement did happen and the bias did happen. The only thing unproved is the cause and effect factor.
This is the original post.
Recently Aam Aadmi Party has come under a lot of fire over Arvind's criticism of certain Media houses. Today we would like to highlight a case that will shed some light as to why we criticise some media houses. Today, March 19, 2014 Mumbai edition of Times of India newspaper carried a full front page advertisement of Mr. Narendra Modi. On checking the website of Times of India we found that a full front page advertisement in Mumbai edition costs ₹ 7,464,600. Yes 74 lakhs. This figure can be verified from TOI website here.http://timesofindia.releasemyad.com/display-ad/times-of-india With such a huge amount of money coming from political parties can we expect media to report with integrity? A case study we can mention here is the recent reports by TOI on problems during Arvind's visit to Mumbai and Problems during Arun Jaitley's rally in Amritsar. Problems with our rally were described as 'Chaos' and with BJP rally as 'Minor mishap'. We condemn this biased reporting by Times of India group and believe that we all need to work towards bringing more transparency to the funding and revenue sources of Media Houses so that the rot in fourth pillar of democracy can be cleaned. Jai hind.
I think this observation holds merit. Metal detectors toppled by the crowd that were restored without damage or complaint by railways getting labeled as deliberate "rampage" and "chaos" by Aam Aadmi Party, while crackers igniting hydrogen balloons and sparks falling on leaders getting called a minor mishap certainly indicates a scale of calamity that is disproportionate. But more than that, it is also the attribution of intent. One story is reported attributing intent to act in a manner that cannot be accepted regardless of whether the action was deliberate or accidental as well as whether the people toppling the metal detector were AAP supporters or the general crowd, while the other separates political party from the mishap and actually makes it sound like a victim of random change - as though sparks around hydrogen being a bad idea is an unknown concept and the crackers and balloons just acted out of character.
It could also be a matter of diversity of style between reporters, though it is hardly the first such "coincidence".
It could be related with advertising revenue, a private treaty or something else altogether. The cause is unclear, but the inequality of "neutrality" is evident.
Whatever it is, the observation is valid, and I leave it on record here for you to find whatever meaning you wish out of it.
Unnoticed in the media hype is a long overdue and very welcome change in Indianpolitics. Powerful women entering Indianpolitics on their own steam. Women who have no hesitation standing among the men like any other candidate among equals. Women who are fighters and challengers of the status quo in real life so far entering the corridors of minimal representation of women and token power, except the powerful ladies at the top of the parties who have so far proved useless toward changing the gender bias of the masses.
During the Delhi Elections, if I had a complaint about Aam Aadmi Party, it was the lack of women candidates. AAP had just seven women candidates. In typical fashion, I made no bones about my displeasure over this, only to be assured that AAP was keenly looking to field more women candidates. Taking this with a bucket of salt, I had, at that point been irritated enough to say that perhaps feminists need to start making their own parties. That the only three women to get elected in the Delhi Assembly were from AAP was hardly a balm when the number was THREE! And I was angry there was only one in Arvind Kejriwal's cabinet.
At that time, several AAP handles had engaged with me asking for suggestions on how to get more powerful women into politics. I shared what I could. I became convinced that these people do want more women visible, even if they weren't at that time and did what I could to support that goal. When Alka Lamba shifted from Congress to Aam Aadmi Party and supporters reacted with knee jerk paranoia about her, I engaged and criticized and got them to see reason and went as far as to suggest that women in all political parties should be defecting to AAP if they really are giving them rights.
I didn't really expect much. And I lost track of that measure for a while as other things started coming up and I started supporting Aam Aadmi Party in the run up to this election as well as my ethical stand against the rampant paid media influencing of electoral results, which in my opinion is an assault on democracy by vested interests.
And I came face to face with that evaluation again today. On the surface, not much has changed. AAP does have more women candidates this time around, but they also have more candidates overall this time around. This is the freaking national event. All candidates are more. But beyond the numbers, there is something completely unprecedented in Indianpolitics. Drop by drop dripping onto a status quo, it is being eroded in ways I can only celebrate.
One by one, without much sensation, right along with other candidates, is the steady growth of powerful women rising from the masses and shouldering the responsibility of being leaders of a maverick revolution, the likes of which India hasn't seen before. I remember reading some research paper on women in politics, and a point remains in my mind about the link between corruption and disempowerment of women. I don't recall the paper, but the insight that remained in my mind was that with power largely residing in the control of men, corruption naturally becomes a playing ground for men as it thrives on "networking" - to put it mildly. Not to mention the conditioned reluctance in women to engage in questionable activities with men. And somewhere in my mind a link forms of the spontaneous emergence of women leaders in a party dedicated to fighting corruption.
Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the fact that there are a lot of women suddenly exercising their influence on the nation's future is significant in terms of women's power in India. Most of these without political families. Stepping into a profession that had come to symbolize actions that respectable people don't engage in. Certainly non-political families would not like the idea of their women becoming politicians. It would be seen as a risk that the family has no power to protect against.
Yet here we have not just women leaders emerging, but there is no women's wing. Women are leading just as same as any man. The stress on non-violence has had the unexpected side effect of turning the whole party into an area where men or women are very similar in power. Here are some of the women who have recently made news one way or the other related with the party.
Anjali Damania, state convenor of AAP's Maharashtra unit, contesting from Nagpur against Nitin Gadkari
Anjali Damania. Social activist who was independently taking on corrupt people by the time she got into Aam Aadmi Party and is now among the key leaders. Anjali played an important role in exposing the corruption in dam constructions in Maharashtra that led to 10 years with no increase in irrigation here.
Meera Sanyal, renowned banking professional, contesting from Mumbai South
Meera Sanyal, one of India's top banking professionals is contesting from Mumbai South. To paraphrase from her Wikipedia page, Meera resigned as CEO and Chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) India, to enter public life. She is also on the international Board of Right to Play, a NGO that works with over one million children in more than 20 countries and uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. In 2011, Meera was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to join the International Council on Women's Business Leadership (ICWBL) and took an active role in the Leadership sub-committee for the empowerment of women. In recognition of her initiatives on Financial Inclusion & Sustainability, she has been appointed as a member of the National Executive Council of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and chairs FICCI’s Financial Inclusion Committee. She is also a member of the National Councils for Banking & Finance, Public Policy and Women's safety of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) (CII). Does India need competence and vision like this steering its future? Hell yes.
Soni Sori, Teacher, Social activist, contesting from Bastar
Soni Sori, an adivasi teacher framed by a corrupt system and brutalized and raped in jail does not let her voice falter from calls of justice even as vested interests try to paint her as an enemy of the state. Her rapist got a bravery award. She now claims voice for herself and countless others caught between the Maoists and a ruthless and opportunist state as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate.
Medha Patkar, social activist and legendary leader of several people's movements against powerful exploiters, contesting from Mumbai North East
Medhatai was earlier planning to contest independently, and Aam Aadmi Party had declared that they would support her anyway. She has since joined the party.
Medha Patkar is a legend in her own right. The forgotten tenacious pitbull that forced the Adarsh scam to light. The fearless activist to challenge devastation of people being sugarcoated as progress. Be it the displaced villagers of the Sardar sarovar dam or the mega connected Lavasa city or slums in Mumbai being demolished without fair compensation. On the day when Indian media went into a rhapsody of outrage over Aam Aadmi Party's violence in toppling over a metal detector, which was stood back in its rightful place without damage, the purpose of media seemed to be coverage of election travel, because the rally the travel happened for was blacked out. If it weren't, people sitting tight in homes would see an electrifying Medha Patkar taking the gathering by storm with her straight talk based on years of hands on experience of fighting for the rights of the common man. You'd have seen this.
Gul Panag, actor, activist adventure junkie, contesting from Chandigarh
Gul Panag. According to her Twitter profile, Gul Panag is "actor, activist, aviator, animal lover, adrenalin junkie, adventurer, avid traveller, automobile & fitness enthusiast, biker, entrepreneur, student, writer". She also happens to be a Miss India, "Army brat" adult daughter of Lt Gen H S Panag who took on corruption in the Army before he retired. She works in many social initiatives for change and is an astonishingly diverse person.
As a model, beauty queen and actress, there is no end to fantastic photographs of her to illustrate any aspect of her life and work, so we must assume that Aaj Tak is merely sticking to standard India Today policy of showing bare female flesh where possible even if it is a candidate announcement for elections. If you have ever worn a bikini, you might as well grow a paunch and color your hair purple. Your file photo is the bikini one.
Women of India are cursed with a media and powerful people who are relentlessly SLEAZY. From publications like India Today to MLA's watching porn in Assemblys and your vegetable vendor who weighs twice your weight and sizes you with his eyes. I could have chosen to ignore this photo, but it is important, because it is not how she normally looks and someone has gone out of their way to present her in a manner not fitting for her role. Unless of course they want to show all news of Govinda with a photo of him in yellow underwear or sprawled on a cot. The good news is that Gul is a woman of strength and if her presence allows these questions to be raised, she's bringing change before the polls, as far as I am concerned.
Or perhaps it is a continuation of India Today's hatchet jobs against Aam Aadmi Party, where a candidate for election's photo is deliberately chosen to make her look frivolous and unsuitable, when there are plenty of excellent, professional and RELEVANT photos of Gul Panag in terms of her new role. Since their coverage of Rakhi Sawant joining BJP didn't include any mega cleavages (saffron sari, believe it or not), I'm also going to add this one to the log of paid media bias on the India Today account.
Shazia Ilmi, ex-media professional, contesting from Ghaziabad
Shazia Ilmi is among the oldest of Aam Aadmi Party women leaders. She got my respect when she contested in Delhi Elections breaking unsaid norms on religious politics by contesting from a "non-Muslim" constituency. She was the victim of vicious hatchet job by media where candid footage of her speaking with the reporter who was trying to get her to support illegal activities was edited to create a perception that she was interested in taking money to hold false protests. Earlier, a property dispute in her family was used to present "proofs" that not even her family thought well of her. She ended up losing by a narrow margin. This time I wish her luck.
Shazia Ilmi was among the reasons why I started this habit of special coverage to counter media bias against AAP in the run up to elections. I do not see this as contradictory to my preference to remain on "my side" as opposed to political parties. I believe "my side" is being attacked when it is fed false information that will lead to choices that would not have been made without the deception.
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, India's first woman DGP, contesting from Haridwar
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya was India's second woman IPS officer after Kiran Bedi and the first woman Director General of Police in the country in Uttarakhand. Forging new ground in a male bastion of gender prejudices, Kanchan Chaudhary's fight is the stuff of legends as she took on thugs and lawlessness without even as she asserted her place within a police force not used to seeing women as authority figures.
At the same time she proved to herself that she could do it. She could be herself and she could change the police force and the world for the better. By doing it.
Older readers may remember a television serial called Udaan that had a lot of girls wanting to be cops. Yep. This is *that* Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya.
Balwinder Kaur, agriculture activist, contesting from Kurukshetra
Balwinder Kaur, a farmer activist who mobilized women farmers to fight for their rights is AAP's candidate for the constituency currently represented by Naveen Jindal.
Many in Aam Aadmi Party were disappointed when Irom Sharmila declined to contest from an Aam Aadmi Party seat. Yet, as I write, it becomes clear that the refusal was to contest the election alone, and she walks with the party like many other inspiring women of power who have their independent identities for their struggles for what is right. This image came in just as I was about to end this post.
In my view, while the party continues to inspire and provide support to women to be powerful, it is worth bringing to power to be able to tackle far more serious crimes.
And there are more. Many more nameless ones who get attacked by insecure mobs of fanatical parties. Who get threats and die. Still others who live and work tirelessly shoulder to shoulder with the men to allow the party to sustain its rocket like growth trajectory without splintering.
And they are safe. I was amazed to see a few tweets on women's day by volunteers of AAP thanking the party for making the events so safe for them. These are practical things. They exist if you are like that. No amount of presenting can make them happen. This is also a country where an outraged Sonia promising women of her party who complained of harassment by politicians that action would be taken.... faded into oblivion. This is also a country where a woman of Sushma Swaraj's stature got overruled when it came to her objecting to allowing a person of dubious credibility to represent the party. And this is a place where a new politician like Shazia Ilmi who suffered the brunt of a major hatchet job on her credibility could still frankly refuse to contest from Rae Bareilly and prevail even when the party wished otherwise.
It is a party where objections to Alka Lamba joining did not involve her as a woman and the volunteers could be made to listen and understand a larger point and include her.
I do not doubt anymore. The lives of women will be transformed by Aam Aadmi Party coming to power.
This update by Ravinder Singh of Sabka Bharat Party explains his recent change of heart with regard to the Aam Aadmi Party. Believe it or not, this man was a staunch critic of the Aam Aadmi Party till a couple of days ago. It was a puzzling transformation, even as I published his press releases. I had been hearing criticism for over a year. In his individual name, then more recently as the convenor of "Sabka Bharat Party".
This email explains a lot. Like many Indians I am seeing these days, the tipping point is whether we support what we know has failed us over and over or risk the unknown with the potential to shape it and thrive?
Dear All Political Parties, Activists & Voters,
This message goes to all Indians who from their heart wish India to be Healthy, Wealthy, Educated, and Intellectual Property Owner by 2019.
Since time is running out and first Voting is less than 30 days so we have to take 1. ‘ISSUE BASED DECISIONS’ and 2. AGREE ON COMMON AGENDA.
Corporate owned media is Suppressing Big Revolution Gathering force gradually like Super Cyclone – it has already hit Gujarat and shall soon spread to rest of India. We should make sure it doesn’t weaken until last vote is counted.
We may add force to it through partnering and collaborating if we don’t want to join him.
We may have some Differences but in short time there shall be convergence and we can meet our desired goals and we can be partners in the revolution sharing common goals than fighting to defeat each other and in the process helping the Political Junk to return once again.
543 Constituencies, 543 Best Brains
We All Political Parties, Activists & Voters, have to support it and partner it make it a Nationwide Success. We should support best 543 Brains who believe in Just & Fair distribution of National Income & Wealth.
I was not supporting him until he Voiced The RUTHLESS Exploitation of Farmers & Poor Common Man in Gujarat and reported Gujarat government run by Ambani & Adani.
I believe he is doing the right thing by Gradually Unwinding The PEACEFUL REVOLUTION to empower people of India.
I have provided ‘Technical Inputs’ so that New Government knows the REAL Problems of Indian Economy and address them from the first day.
All we need to do is Ensure 400 Plus Seats in Lok Sabha.
Notes on Economic Potential We Have ‘India Gross Tax Rate is 63.3% of GDP - Even if India collects 50% of GDP as Taxes from 17.7%’ – India shall get $500b Additional Resources enough to build over 2,00,000 MW of Multipurpose Hydro Power Projects, With 500 BCM Water Distribution in Canals and Flood Protection from addition resources generated in first 12 months of Government at present level of GDP – otherwise we may not achieve it 50 years or even 100 years if bjp comes to power.
Please read details in Sabka Bharat Mission 2019.
Ravinder Singh, Convener, Mentor & CEO SABKA BHARAT PARTY Ph: 9650421857, 9718280435 Progressindia008@yahoo.com
It seems the election dates being declared brought it home to a lot of critics of the Aam Aadmi Party that well, it is them, or the options that have failed them over and over already.