After the referendum-style decision-making and the noise over ending Delhi's VIP culture, the fiasco of the Aam Aadmi Party government's 'Janata Darbar', where lakhs turned up to air their grievances with the stampede-like situation snowballing into a law and order challenge, was bound to invite criticism that the AAP's methods are no more than gimmicks. Especially after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that there would be no more janata darbars and that people should put their grievances online, the debacle led to serious debate over AAP's methods.
Praveen Singh, a member of AAP, admited that the darbar lacked planning, but denied that it had been just a gimmick.
"I think we did go wrong in the planning. We did not estimate that so many people in Delhi have grievances. We did not expect such huge number of people," Praveen Singh said on a debate on CNN-
"Partly it could be inexperience, but the mess was also because of wrong estimation of the problem. We believe reaching out to people is important and we thought this could be one of the methods, but I accept the planning went wrong," he added.
But the niggling question remains: Is AAP all hype or is there any substance to their claims and methods?
Outlook's Vinod Mehta said that the new party was being put through too much scrutiny and they should be cut some slack:
"It was more inexperience and naivete than hypocrisy," Mehta said and added, "There has to be an orderly manner to address citizens grievances, otherwise there will be anarchy. And the idea that decision behind closed doors is wrong AAP needs to let go of. But I would cut them some slack."
Meanwhile, BJP leader Arun Jaitley, in his blog, criticised AAP's governance.
Mehta responded to this saying, "It may look like gimmickry, but I would hope that it is not. We should give them some time, if they still don't perform, then it is gimmickry."
However, journalist Tavleen Singh was very critical, stating that in a democracy there was no on-the-job training.
"Nobody has the right to get elected and then expect on-the-job training. They have to be judged just as all other elected officials are by what they do in office. They haven't understood that there is a difference between mobocracy and democracy. This is going to get much worse. If you can't govern don't stand for an election," she said on the CNN-IBN debate.
To Tavleen Singh's comment Mehta said that AAP had in no way showed that it could not govern. "The darbar process has gone wrong and they have accepted it unlike any other party. It has only been two weeks," he said.
To which Tavleen Singh said that the media had been extremely friendly to AAP, "The media has been kind to them. They did all sorts of gimmicky things and we have all called it so sweet," she said.
Meanwhile Praveen Singh defended his party and said, "It is Tavleen Singh's view. But people decide in democracy. And if all the other governments knew how to govern, they wouldn't have voted us to power."
However, like Tavleen Singh, BJP's Jay Narayan Vyas too heaped much criticism on the AAP. "I am not surprised by the gimmicks AAP is up to. They believe in mobocracy. You should not forget that they will be dictated by mobocracy. From 2003 onwards we have had a programmed called Swagat Online that addresses people's problems. There is difference between vision and television. Modi works on vision, AAP works on television," he said.
"If a pilot was not doing his job well, you bring new pilot and then the flight crashes you cannot say it is because he is new. We should not be in the illusion of the greatness of the AAP. Their donations have reduced, means their popularity is losing," Vyas argued.
AAP's Praveen Singh, however said that they had ruffled a lot of feathers, but he agreed that they need to work more on the way they govern. "We agree we need to deliver,"he said.
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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2014 08:38:07 IST