But Kejriwal’s Win Does NOT Mean a Setback for Business-Friendliness
The AAP nearly decimating the BJP and the Congress facing extinction are outcomes that bring me a sense of personal joy and jubilation, even if the Indian markets view it negatively.
The AAP and Arvind Kejriwal represent the proletariat, something that business frowns upon, while the BJP stands for nobility and the business class despite the humble “tea-seller” background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But the AAP had the intelligentsia on its side, with well-qualified people leading the campaign and doing things right without a hint of negativity, which is what the BJP latched on to led by Mr Modi and the party leader, Mr Amit Shah.
I am not even looking at how the markets are doing, that is the least of my concerns. In a country where poverty remains entrenched, it is a crime to keep the poor in the dumps.
A Product of IIT Will not be Business-Unfriendly: And let us not assume that just because the AAP has a soft spot for the common man he cannot be brushed aside as business-unfriendly. It will be naive to dismiss a product of the prestigious IIT as someone who will give business the boot.
I am confident that Mr Kejriwal and the AAP will NOT be anti-business as he has been made out to be. Free water and cheaper electricity cannot be construed as populist measures, rather they factor in social realities. Propping up businesses at the expense of the common man may not resonate well with him.
The AAP will enter the national stage by the next elections with greater clout and credibility. Nation’s interest will be uppermost, and this they demonstrated very well through their Amit-corruption drive.
Mr Kejriwal is a winner of the Magsaysay Award and had given away the money he received for charity long before he entered politics.
Genuine Secularism vs Fanaticism: The AAP also made it clear to the electorate that they are genuine secularists, unlike the Congress that was only trying to appease the minorities.
By rejecting the unsolicited support from Shahi Imam Bukhari just before the polling, the AAP displayed political honesty. Without playing the minority card they gave people the confidence that they would stand for fairness that will protect people of all faiths.
The BJP, on the other hand, is associated with majority fanaticism and did not even try to fake a secular approach by ignoring the attacks on minorities, including some churches right on Mr Modi’s backyard in Delhi.
Kiran Bedi is Full of Herself: The BJP brought in disgruntled elements from the AAP (Shazia Ilmi, for instance) and even made Mrs Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate, ignoring its own senior leaders.
But Mrs Bedi is full of herself and hardly cut for politics. She came up with one howler after another, prompting the BJP to bring on its full Central Cabinet might, including Mr Modi, to the forefront. The Bedi card just completely failed.
Then the BJP teamed up with some former AAP members to come up with wild allegations without any evidence. They even alleged that the AAP was into a hawala racket when they had no basis for that. It was just indulging in mudslinging with a short-term eye on the poll.
“Bring Priyanka Back” Campaign: The Congress has drawn a blank and are still not learning any lessons from it. Some Congressmen have already begun a campaign for replacing Mr Rahul Gandhi with Mrs Priyanka (Gandhi) Vadra. So they are still showing a disinclination to accept that dynasty politics is the bane of the Congress.
If the Congress is eliminated from the political scene in India that will be good riddance. And I hope the AAP will start using its Delhi victory to build its base across the country and emerge as a viable opposition to the BJP.
G Joslin Vethakumar