German sociologist Robert Michels in his book Political Parties published in 1911, expounded a fascinating concept that fits well with the politics of AAP in 2016. Michels who gave the concept of ‘iron law of oligarchy’ held that regardless of their exemplary democratic beginning, all complex organisations eventually develop into "oligarchies", which are usually detached from the masses.
AAP at its formation claimed to be antithesis of this concept. It announced the arrival of a party that was there for the people, the common man.
Eminent political scientist Neera Chandhoke in an article published in The Hindu on Friday remarked, "The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) strategies of connecting with citizens, particularly in the slums of Delhi, put into practice the wisdom of democratic theory: that the task of a party is to arouse political awareness by means other than the dishonourable politics of identity, evoke critical evaluations of power and its misuse, and enable the articulation of everyday needs and aspirations."
AAP created this hope that it would help in "articulating the needs and aspirations of common people" by projecting itself as a ‘party with a difference and it helped AAP greatly in achieving the landslide victory in Delhi assembly elections.
That the new government that people of Delhi had voted for so decisively and wholeheartedly would come to their rescue in the times of disasters and distress, was one of the hopes that Delhiites had from AAP. But today the people of Delhi who helped Arvind Kejriwal and AAP achieve their political ambitions are now grappling with a grave health hazard in the form of chikungunya and dengue. A considerate approach from the top brass of the AAP to ease the sufferings of the people is simply missing. Whatever the party or the government is doing now is largely a face saver rather than an effective management of the crisis.
Pictures of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia holidaying in Finland were shown by Times Now.
Why and how AAP, a party of common man got drifted so faraway from its people?
The transformation of AAP from "servants of masses" to "leadership class" is disappointing because of the fact that its formation belied a claim of change, of being different, of being a party with a difference. The way AAP has co-opted and adjusted with the long-settled paradigm in which political parties operate defies the very logic and circumstances of its birth.
Writing in Firstpost, eminent Indian psychoanalyst and author in the fields of cultural psychology and the psychology of religion Sudhir Kakar said, "The dilemma for the AAP is then either to temper the militancy of its idealism or to persist with its moral fervour, which can descend into a chaotic ‘permanent revolution’ with violent overtones. In both cases, some loss of support will be inevitable. To become like other parties with a moral façade which people see through but still vote for because of reasons other than idealism is not an option. Establishing a connection to one’s moral self was AAP’s psychological offering and the reason why many, especially among youth, embraced the party. Unlike supporters of other political parties, where the psychological connection to the leaders and the ideology of the party is weak and superficial, where most leaders are affectionately regarded as hypocrites, if not rogues, the connection to AAP and its leadership involved an idealisation that has roots in deeper layers of the psyche. And here lies the danger. The rage unleashed by the loss of connection to one’s own moral self and the betrayal of idealisations could decimate the party."
"These processes may be slow but they are relentless," he concluded. Rightly.
First Published On : Sep 16, 2016 22:11 IST