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Yesterday, someone asked me to give three reasons to vote AAP. I understand that there is a lot of invented confusion, controversy and general mud slinging about AAP. The latest is BJP workers supporting pamphlets showing Arvind Keriwal as Osama Bin Laden, while Modi sly speeched him as AK-49. All this does sway minds. But there is plenty of verifiable information that no amount of fooling can hide. Luckily it is also the most important.

Here are five to ponder.

The birth and composition of Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party was born from popular discontent from existing politics. It aims to address the sources of frustration. It is easy to call concerns about price rise populist, but we have seen protest movements worldwide from the rise of inequality. The varied in intensity and result from the Occupy Movement to the Arab Spring, but the middle class has never risen so strongly in a long long while. The needs driving this are real. You can fool someone into thinking something. You cannot fool people into giving up comfort and contributing money and effort day after day for months on end without any guarantees on the end. There really are enough people who see the need to change the politics of India before it is too late.

And you see the difference in the composition of the party. Congress and BJP are offering you the same kind of candidates while promising better government. As Albert Einstein said...

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

What difference in corruption does BJP or Congress expect to deliver if it continues to offer a similar number of candidates accused in crimes, riots, and scams? What is the meaning of selling tickets or helicopter candidates that local teams oppose? Who will those candidates represent?

Ending corruption

This is such a cliche that I cringe to list it here, but I have to. Aam Aadmi Party in its short lived government took countless actions that removed corrupt officials from access to their established opportunities. Helplines against corruption, improvement in admission procedures, drastic reduction in bribery and more is of immediate relevance to you.

The FIR against Ambani, though it would achieve little in terms of punishing the collusion in increasing prices nationwide, served to draw attention and raise the alarm, which allowed the action of preventing the immediate price raise that would be sneaked up on the people to become public and be stopped till after the elections. Undoubtedly, it will not happen if Aam Aadmi Party comes to power, and whichever party comes to power will have the responsibility of their actions, but this successfully and I think for the first time allowed people a taste of direct democracy - of voting in their interest on issues that impact them. Do you think the price rise is appropriate or not? Vote accordingly.

There are very direct actionable things that are already hitting corruption where it hurts. So, unlike other parties, a BIG difference is that you don't have to vote for Aam Aadmi Party for it to fight in your interest. It will fight with whatever authority it has. As the government, it made officials accountable. It filed a cheating case as a way of attacking wrongs beyond its reach. Out of any authority, it approached the Election Commission to prevent a drastic price hike and at least give people the chance to fight it, instead of being "automatically" upgraded to inflation. It will fight with whatever it has in hand. It will fight as much as it can reach. It has no intention of stopping. It is YOU who has the opportunity to give them more authority and reach, if what it does is useful to you. I mean seriously, fighting inflation is not useful to who? Which other parties are even attempting to discuss such a serious issue and talking actions that will go into it instead of grand promises?

Tremendous tenacity

This is one dog that has sunk its teeth in the fleeing thief and it won't let go. They are unstoppable. I have come to believe this after fully expecting them to be defeated several times, and I have just accepted that they refuse to be blocked with the same tenacity that the political power cartels refuse to let go of exploiting the country for the profit of a few. They flow. Blocked one way, they try another.

This blog was formed to see potential for the common man with limited resources reaching beyond limits. One thing that won my respect was the Delhi Government punching way above their weight class with the FIR against Ambani. It has no authority over gas pricing. It has no control over how the country deals gas resources. So it got creative. It does have the power to act against their citizens being cheated, and the higher prices than due was cheating citizens. And they went with that, instead of moaning about what they would do if they were in power. That shook everyone and his cousin in the power cartels. The time to finesse corruption with sophisticated talk had run out abruptly.

So you have a new avalanche of the evils of AAP. Because it no longer remained about merely a Lok Sabha Election - which no one likes to lose, but isn't the end of the world, as it will happen again in five years. It was now about the death of a cash cow. It AAP was reaching beyond limits this bad as Delhi government, them coming to power would leave little left to loot by the time five years were done. Not to mention Ambani is a proud sponsor of the two parties attacking AAP as well as many of the mega TV channels. So the vitriol against AAP is not merely about the Lok Sabha Election, but about the whole business model collapsing.

Which is how you hear big questions about AAP targeting BJP instead of Congress, but when was the last time BJP threw ink on the Rahul Gandhi they hate so much?

That is the AAP effect. Much is at stake in stopping them, and they are unstoppable. And more and more people are coming to realize it.

The candidates

I am not going to feed you any statistics here. I urge you to look at the quality of candidates. How many scam accused have got tickets again? How many accused in serious criminal cases have got tickets? How come those accused in riots (that coincidentally consolidated Hindu and Dalit votes against Muslims) got tickets to contest elections? What popularity are they tapping into? How exactly are these parties offering to end corruption with the same kind of people who have allowed it to thrive year after year? How many are hand in glove with big business interests? How many have been accused of crimes against women? With the same formulas of triggering riots, hate, false slander about opponents... is this not the ugly India you were fed up of?

I am sure someone is going to bring up Somnath Bharti. I am not going to defend his actions in the drug and prostitution raid. I have criticized them on this blog. However, I am not convinced of the accusations leveled against him by Ambani's lawyer, Haresh Salve. The videos or witnesses do not speak of any public stripping of the women or being forced to pee on the street. The videos clearly show police presence. The action was still unwise, because people do not need precedents of leaders leading large mobs against women - even if the actions were not criminal, because the actions it sets a role model for cannot be predicted.

Regardless, a party that fields riot accused being all sanctimonious in this instance tells you all you need to, but I leave it to your judgment.

Somnath Bharti is not the only candidate AAP is fielding. Nor is he the only one to be accused of anything. Several candidates have been withdrawn in both the previous election and this one, when proof of illegal actions by them reached the party. Role holders in the party have been removed when it was found they sold tickets. The party is making a clear and transparent effort to offer you only the best.

Most of the AAP candidates are local to wherever they are contesting. Barring a few high profile "helicopter drops" - Arvind Kejriwal included - to challenge prominent candidates they want to defeat, all other candidates, to the best of my information are local people fighting for improvement wherever they are. You have civil rights activists, RTI activists, child rights activists business people, entrepreneurs, innovators, victims of state atrocities, journalists, and as of this morning, a Nobel Prize nominee. The mix is as diverse as the needs of the people they hope to represent.

It is up to you to decide who represents you better. All parties are offering. Take your pick.

Defeating existing power cartels

Regardless of who runs the country long term, at this point, you have most of the donations to political parties unaccountable and opaque. The donations accounted for include a large number of entities that have also profited significantly from government policies. There are politicians with businesses, business houses sponsoring candidates and parties, business houses owning stakes in channels and also channels affiliated with political parties, you have business journalists getting corporate jobs and vice versa, you have journalists entering politics and returning, and you have them mobilizing over and over to promote specific kinds of decisions. To make them in the Parliament, to opine on them in media to influence what people think is in their interest, to incentivize the whole thing well.

In a country of 1.2 billion people, media caters to the realities of 1%, influences the rest to believe that those are in their interest. People who earn well and dismiss inflation as reason for caution do not realize that as long as inflation grows faster than their salary increment, they are in reality getting poorer year by year, though fat incomes don't show weight loss that easy.

You have scams exposing these incestuous relationships over and over. You have scandals and leaks showing how law was manipulated. There is no illegality in these exploitations of the country. laws and processes are designed to give some the advantage.

You cannot break this while participating in it. This is why the existing parties may offer the moon on corruption, but they cannot end it, because you cannot pick up the stool you are standing on. You have to get off it first. What they can do is spin pretty words and tell people that it isn't such a big issue, and what they are offering is better than some dubious upstart party with god knows what ancestry. They can raise questions about evils done by its representatives to shake your faith. For example the "Somnath Bharti porn domain dealer" or "Somnath Bharti spammer" episodes. They are not true. But even if they were, how is it relevant to the country whether someone sent spam emails ten years ago? Particularly when it eclipses far more serious actions AGAINST the direct interests of the people of the country - like the reports on paid news, like the reports on Social Media to create unrest and trigger riots, like the rigging up of poll surveys to fool people into thinking some parties are more popular than they really are and some are less popular than they really are?

Do you not think with elections coming up, this is of more immediate and serious concern to a democracy? Illegal actions that may hijack people's voice expressed as votes through disinformation, danger and outright prevention?

It is time to rise, people, Aam Aadmi Party is a new party. If it goes wrong, there are enough crazies in it to rise against wrong doers within as well. They have done it before and they can do it again. There is no entrenched power here. There are no opaque funds serving undisclosed interests. What you see is what you get.

The question is, do you have the courage to take it?

Here is a map of Aam Aadmi Party candidates Nationwide. Do find the candidates in your area and support them and spread the word about them and vote for them.

[mapsmarker layer="15"]

This map is still being updated.

Contributors: @Vidyut, "Dolphin" @VishSai

3

The Jet Conundrum

Arvind Kejriwal has been widely and as things always are with him, publicly critical of Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi's so called "Jet Yatras". Its not just these two politicians but rather a whole bunch of politicians who use jets owned by business establishments for free.

The question Kejriwal raised was not of them travelling in Jets. Yes we know he has been objecting to VIP culture, which has been severely misinterpreted by some. But this issue has its place in the very roots of corruption, so lets analyse first the whole deal about "Free Jets"

Now from what my limited intelligence tells me, there can be a few reasons why an established businessman would give his jets away for use -

1) For Money- Or consideration. So is the bjp paying for all these flights through its own pockets? Which raises the question, where does it get such exorbitant amounts of money? Why is there no public record of such money? Why aren't they transparent about it? Why don't they match the very high standard set by AAP in transparency of their funding? Sure you can find a fault here or there in such a huge party, but by and large it is clean and transparent money. So why doesn't bjp make records of such money and deposits fully public? Let people know how much money Mr Modi is pumping into wooing them and creating this fictional Modi wave?

2) For Free- Allow me to give you an anecdote. I go to this neighbourhood store regularly. The owner out of sheer respect gives me great service and 5% discount. For all the respect he has for me he gives me a discount. But does he give it to me for free? No.

So the question that arises here is- Say Mr. Adani out of sheer generosity makes his plane available for Mr Modi. But why would he give it for free? What sort of payback is he expecting in return for such a favour?

Modi travel's in Adani's plane
Modi travel's in Adani's plane

Arvind Kejriwal, as he himself said, was given a free chartered flight cause India today wanted him in the conclave. It would have been a loss of face and respect for India Today if one of their main guests would have not shown up. So we know what India Today got in return. They got a politician who is on the cusp of being a revolutionary figure in Indian politics! They got a crackling session with him that added to their brand's value and that is it.

So the question I beg to ask is - What does Mr Adani gets out of financing Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi's flights? Well I for one don't know what Mr Adani gets in particular, but I do know that he didnt become one of the richest men in India by giving things away for free. *wink wink*

Perhaps its time we get out of skewered logic and actually think why things are they way they are. Its easy to malign a person, who is constantly raising red flags over governance, as someone who cribs or as BJP's very classy fans call him- 'Item Girl'. But what we fail to note is that when Mr. Narendra Modi and MR Rahul Gandhi decide to pay back Mr Adani for his "services" it wont be through their own pockets, it will be money through that belongs to the public and money that could have gone towards building India.

This is how the foundations for scams are laid, this is how honest politicians are left behind by scrupulous elements and this is coincidently also how politics became the gutter that we call it today. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. And together we scam the country of its monies.

- Mango Man.

1

Where there is bjp and violence, there must be lies and complete lack of remorse. Ever since the elections have been declared, it is as though there is a frenzy of hate.

There seems to be a sustained campaign by the bjp about its "innocence". If nothing, it is well practiced, considering how often they trot it out.

While Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party leaders called for calm, apologized and said they wanted cases against AAP workers who indulged in violence as well, the bjp appears to be busy with the usual. Claiming to be the victim, no matter what, complete lack of any awareness that it may perhaps not be an appropriate thing to beat up people with lathis.

To go by the statements of leaders alone, one would imagine that Aam Aadmi Party assaulted the bjp office and bjp defended itself. Yet the footage tells a different story. Regardless of how the fight started, there was one side armed. The question here is if it is normal practice for bjp to stock lathis in its offices? A lathi may be legal, but it is most certainly a weapon, and a weapon that bjp appears to have no hesitation using. And the question our media seems to be shying from asking is how armed workers exit an office. A lathi is most certainly not office equipment.

To me, this indicates a plan for violence, and it is scary that neither the police nor political opponents will comment on it. The violence may not have been planned for yesterday, but the preparations were there.

Not to mention that bjp has been involved in violence of different kinds over the last day.

The clashes with AAP, okay, they claim AAP started them. While bjp continues to excuse its own violence as long as there is an excuse, its workers will seek excuses to be violent. Can we take BJP's word for it?

Aam Aadmi Party workers were threatened by thugs who claimed to support Modi who took off their caps, and threatened them with harm unless they voted for Modi. This is Gurgaon. Arvind Keriwal's convoy got attacked. But this is still rotating around AAP.

Equally sad is bjp demanding action against 67 Kashmiri students for "anti-national" behavior. Their crime? A claim that they raised slogans in support of Pakistan after Pakistan defeated India in a cricket match. Not to mention that such claims by bjp affiliated organizations are always suspect, the real question is why were 67 students from Kashmir suspended? Their crime was in refusing to give the name of one person who allegedly did some damage to property. So here we have an educational institution with utter inability to distinguish between a sport and actual harm to the country.

bjp leaps into the fray demanding action against students from a place suffering decades of turmoil who traveled outside their state to educate themselves and have got their educational prospects wrecked through an over reaction to a cricket match. Of course, this patriotism was missing when Bajrang Dal hoisted Pakistan's flag to frame Muslims as anti-national. Who are we fooling here? And this is the party that wants to rule the country. A party that has absolutely no problem with astounding discrimination of suspending students from an Indian state for refusing to be informers against the few who may have done something objectionable beyond cheering a country BJP hates.

An interesting question is who is the sole Kashmiri student who did not get suspended, and why.

This is violence against student rights. In my view, far worse than injuries you recover from in a day or two. The party that never came to a clear majority in this country goes on verbal assaults on anyone it dislikes, arbitrarily defining national interest in a manner that suits a narrow minded hate agenda. And a spineless government bloated on its own privilege and with little concern for national interest allows this rampage over the rights of Indians to yell "Pakistan Zindabad" if they want. I can't imagine it is any more or less anti-national than BJP's worship of the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi or open rejection of secularism that is enshrined in our constitution.

Moving on.

Siddharth Varadarajan is a critic of Modi and wrote a book about the Gujarat riots. His wife is fighting against state brutality in Chattisgarh. Their caretaker got assaulted by thugs who left a message for him, telling him to be careful of what he said on television appearances.

But still BJP will probably find ways to "excuse" that.

So how are they planning to excuse the clashes between Modi supporters and Manohar Joshi supporters clashing in Varanasi? Is it AAP or the Naxals spreading stories, or Kashmiri kids infiltrating BJP, or what?

How gullible does the BJP think the country is? India is a diverse country with diverse views and diverse relationships with the state, including parts that want freedom and parts that have declared themselves free and countless movements against the state. ALL of them are Indians and BJP has no right to dictate to the whole country who is a legitimate Indian and label those they dislike as anti-national.

The only anti-national I see here is BJP. It has no respect for the rights of Indians over their own country. This is no different from the locality thug evicting you whether he has the right or not.

A third rate party with an over inflated sense of self importance.

5

Vinod Kumar Binny has finally had the press conference he has been threatening for a while, and the political dynamics are fascinating in Delhi, at the moment. There had been a storm on the day Arvind Kejriwal announced his cabinet and Binny was not on it. It was hastily managed with some persuasion by Dr. Kumar Viswas and others, only to emerge now.

The flurry of allegations goes back and forth, with Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal accusing him of angling for a Lok Sabha seat, while Binny alleges that it was Kejriwal who convinced him to contest to begin with and he has not demanded any seats. Regardless of the cause, it cannot be denied that Binny's two outbursts happened on the day of selection of the cabinet and last day for filing nominations for Lok Sabha elections respectively.

As the first signs of dissent storm in the Aam Aadmi Party, the party seems to be woefully unprepared as well as defaulting to behaviors they have criticized in others. Here are key allegations made by Vinod Kumar Binny against Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party.

There is a difference in what AAP says and does

I agree. Though I don't see this as a bad thing, in the kind of differences seen. The promises were made in reckless inexperience, and the government watering them down so that most of the intent gets delivered while the rashness is removed is not necessarily against the interest of people. I understand that this will get varied reactions, but I don't think any government can (or should) deliver exactly the manifesto, even if new information during implementation shows the manifesto promises are not in public interest if delivered as is. That an elected minister will choose to put his own party to the test to deliver something to the letter rather than to best potential is a bit.... not in public interest.

Whatever AAP promised is not what they are implementing

This sounds false. AAP indeed seems to be delivering at a fast clip and along lines they had indicated in the election campaign. To hold any party accountabe for a manifesto for 5 years to be delivered in a fortnight is abusrd. Unless Binny has examples where they refused to implement what they promised, or implemented the opposite, a mere delay cannot be the basis for such a conclusion.

The water and power promise of AAP has not really been fulfilled

Agreed. While there have been dramatic and very useful actions on both fronts, some of them as promised (audits, for example), on the whole, the hyperbolic promises of free water and 50% slashed prices have not been implemented in the blanket manner they were promised. I am not certain this is a bad thing.

Referendum to ask people if they feel AAP has fulfilled its promises

Of course it will happen. It is called elections. It will happen at the end of the government's term, because that is how much time AAP has to fulfill its promises. Unless Binny expects people to judge his entire fancy speech based on his first four lines?

The government is not fulfilling the promises we made to the people

This is a bit of glass full and glass empty, because the Aam Aadmi Party has certainly been moving at a rapid clip from day one, and election promises are said to be for what they will do over five years, not fifteen days. That said, Keriwal's promise of passing the Lokpal Bill in fifteen days is doomed to be broken. And I hope it remains broken instead of shoving through some token bill to "prove" honesty.

However, considering that Binny was part of making the promises, and he believes they are not being kept, and Binny seems to think that this is enough time for them to have been delivered, one has to ask Vinod Binny why he did not deliver promises he made, just like each Aam Aadmi Party leader should be asked, when they conclude their process of delivering if promises remain unfulfilled.

Women's commando force promised but not created

I am no expert on how these things happen, but considering that Delhi police is not under Delhi government control, I imagine less than a week for force to be in action is a bit unrealistic of a timeline to expect.

Kejriwal is short tempered. Doesn't like dissent

HUGE WARNING SIGN for Aam Aadmi Party. This has come up about Arvind Kejriwal over and over, right from the days of the Janlokpal Andolan. Gets angry, talks impulsively, doesn't respect dissent. With complete respect to Kejriwal, there needs to be a procedure created so that Kejriwal's disapproval does not kill dissent in party. I imagine this is what Kejriwal would wish as well, that his stressed and knee jerk reactions do not result in damage to party democracy. There has to be a procedure that treats members with equal respect and dismissals are with debate rather than insult.

There is no internal democracy in the party. We can't talk

This is a shocking and serious allegation for a party that claims to give voice to the common man. I am inclined to believe this, in spite of him booed down by AAP supporters only after his first rebellion after not getting a cabinet seat. However, there are abundant other indicators that the processes at the top of the party are as opaque as in other parties. For example the allegations of corruption in Aam Aadmi Party, Tamil Nadu have not seen any acknowledgment or action for several months, over a problem that has existed for almost a year now. Supporter's demands for Aam Aadmi Party to become RTI compliant were repeatedly ignored. The party did eventually appoint a Punlic Information Officer, but the demands themselves went into a blackhole. There was no official reply.

Personally, I can say I have raised this repeatedly, and even wrote to their official email address several times after being advised that I would get a prompt reply through that method. I did not get any reply. Not even an autoresponder saying that the email had been received.

So no idea on whether there is a problem of "We can't talk", but the problem of party simply ignoring what is inconvenient seems fairly big. Possibly bigger than in established parties where if nothing else, you can at least get social media accounts of party leaders to make a statement.

I think as the party grows, dissent will happen. The biggest lesson from this is that the party has no real method of dealing with disagreement within other than "If anyone goes against Kejriwal, they are paid agents of someone" - at least that is what it is looking like from outside. I also realize it is early for a mature process to emerge from a new party, but there are several indications of a personality cult within the supporters of Aam Aadmi Party, which should worry any party leader interested in a robust and democratic internal system.

To me it is looking like Binny should have had enough voice within the party so that he didn't need to use media to say these things. Regardless of whether his allegations prove correct or wrong after reasonable inquiry.