Kolkata, Jan 29 IANS) Describing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as an “exciting experiment that can go terrifyingly wrong”, historian Ramchandra Guha Wednesday hoped it will focus on governance instead of protests.
Participating in a discussion on elections in India at the Kolkata Literary Meet here, Guha and veteran journalist Mark Tully voiced concern over the controversies courted by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.
“AAP can be described as an exciting experiment that can go terrifyingly wrong. They have shaken up the established parties. While the BJP was already nervous, the Congress now is bloody nervous,” said Guha.
“AAP has got some very interesting ideas, some good advisors and some loonies… They should now get down to the business of governance rather than dharnas,” he said.
Observing that the party has the potential to grow in other parts of the country as well, the author said it should ally with citizens groups and community leaders to spread its presence beyond Delhi.
“AAP needs to be a party of long haul and should tie up with citizen groups and community leaders disenchanted with other parties and should ally with people fluent in regional languages if they want spread in other parts of the country,” said Guha.
Former BBC New Delhi chief Tully hoped that Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal would carry forward the AAP momentum.
“While the emergence of AAP is exciting, at the same time one is very worried about the way it has (functioned) since coming to power,” he said. “It will great pity if AAP falls on its face.”
“I hope Kejriwal is not an authoritarian and sincerely believes that success has not gone into his head. They got to keep doing something in Delhi, carry on the momentum, they need grow.
“Otherwise people will regard them as just a phenomenon which arrived and disappeared,” added Tully.
Both Tully and Guha hoped Kejriwal pays heed to the advices of party ideologue Yogendra Yadav.
Noted Indian novelist and poet Vikram Seth attributed the emergence of AAP to people’s hatred for the existing political parties.
“People voted for Congress not because they love it but because they hated BJP’s Hindutva brand of politics. Similarly those who voted for BJP did it because they hated the Congress’ dynasty politics.
“Amid this, the emergence AAP afforded the disenchanted voters a welcome alternative,” said Seth.
Tully said he preferred a coalition government with “sensible leaders” to rule India rather than a one-party government.