Roughly twelve hours before Mumbai went into polls, music composer and singer, Vishal Dadlani, sounded out the last of his many wake-up calls to the city on Twitter.
"Goons of major parties distributing cash-for-votes!! In Mumbai! Not some small back-woods town! You STILL want to vote for these people?," he asked on Twitter at around 10 pm on 23 April.
Dadlani's Twitter timeline, his followers would know, has recently been clouded more with politics than with fluff about other things. He is known to have been sharply critical about almost all the established political parties - Congress, BJP, NCP, Samajwadi Party etc.
From slamming Ajit Pawar to signing a petition to discourage the Maharashtra government from going ahead with its promised Rs 300 crore Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea, Dadlani is one of the very few Bollywood celebrities who is known to have thrown both caution and diplomacy up in the air, to make his political opinion known.
The music composer, with Arvind Kejriwal for company, had also run into the eye of a storm when he tweeted : "Stuck between a moron and a murderer....what now, India!?"
The AAP chief happened to re-tweet it, running himself into the Congress-BJP poll machinery, which lost no time to take the AAP chief apart in the media. Dadlani has had his bad days thanks to his political positioning, but he isn't ready to be get daunted yet. Because he points out, he is not a card-holding member of any party, and only supports AAP on principle.
"Let me make this clear at the very outset. I am not a member of any party. I am not a supporter of any party so to say. I just support what is right for the nation. I want a country free of corruption and communalism. I just can't support anyone who flouts the ideals of democracy for their personal agendas," he said.
Does the AAP, then, mirror the ideal political party in his imagination perfectly? Dadlani said they come somewhat close to what he has in mind.
"AAP was born out of a citizen's movement. It is still a citizen's movement, populated by people like you and me. They turned into a political outfit because the movement was challenged by the political class to bring the Janlokpal in a legal way. Hence, Kejriwal and team struck out to form a political party," he reasoned.
The party, ever since its debut, has been mired in controversies. Though that didn't impede their victory in the Delhi assembly polls, soon after they found falling from one controversy into another. From the unfortunate incident in Khirkee Extension to Prashant Bhushan's Kashmir referendum goof-up, AAP didn't seem to be able to avoid doing things that would result in them being criticised.
It reached a flashpoint when the party decided to take up cudgels against the Delhi Police and staged a dharna, with the CM in attendance, on Delhi streets. Then, in a dramatic culmination of 49 eventful days in government, Arvind Kejriwal resigned as the the chief minister, drawing stinging criticism from all quarters. Did Dadlani's faith in his chosen political alternative not waver even once then?
The composer admits, it did.
"So when this happened, I woke up and heard about it. I was like 'what the hell'? I had campaigned for this party and Delhi and what are they doing?" Dadlani remembers feeling outraged for a moment.
He then spoke to people in the AAP and realised that Kejriwal did indeed resign on principle.
So has it been easy to tell the grain from the chaff every time?
"I accept the AAP is not without flaws. These people are not seasoned politicians and lack in experience. However, the flipside of it is they are not cynical either. And when there's an FIR being filed about a candidate, immediately after he files his nomination, that too on a three-year-old case, it's not difficult to see that its motivated," he said.
When you point out that, unlike him, several AAP fans are finding it difficult to keep their faith intact in Kejriwal's party after he quit, Dadlani accepted that AAP has had problems communicating the reasons for his resignation successfully.
"They did fail to communicate the decision properly. And they might have to pay a price for it. In fact, this will be a constant battle the party has been fighting prior to the LS polls..." he said.
Though the composer's faith in AAP hasn't dwindled yet, the same in his favourite city's priorities have.
"Mumbai is one of the most apathetic cities in India. I was born here, this is my home and I love the city, but when it comes to issues like voting, you have to accept that the city is very apathetic. People don't see corruption as an evil, it acts as a facilitator for several people and organisations. It doesn't want to fight corruption with the right amount of vigour. There are such heavy lies being strewn around during the campaigns ... you just need to run an internet search to learn the truth. Still, too many people don't do that," he rued.
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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2014 16:16:25 IST