Sirf aur Sirf AAP ki Dilli :)

Wave. Tsunami. Juggernaut. These are the kind of words that political pundits and journalists have been associating with the duo of Modi and Amit Shah for the last many months. Today, with 54% vote share and 95% seats, a certain Arvind Kejriwal has put a halt to this wave, tsunami or juggernaut. As I write this piece, the analysis of this election is going on and Rajdeep Sardesai is still hellbent on proving that there is a class divide in Delhi. Rahul Kanwal will keep reminding his viewers of the ‘Dharna’ politics. Chetan Bhagat, after cheering for Modi for so many months, is now saying that this is a vote against Modi. All of this will keep going on for a few days but the fact of the matter is that 67/70 has been summed up best by Kiran Bedi – “Full Marks”.

ReturnOfMufflerMan

I started following politics around 4 years ago with the Anna movement. When the Aam Aadmi Party was officially launched on November 26, 2012, I had no doubt about where my political preference lay. But briefly in 2013, after a speech by Narendra Modi at SRCC, I was one of those who believed in “Arvind for CM, Modi for PM”, but I soon realized that beyond the brilliant speeches was the same old BJP and it would be difficult for Modi to deliver on any of his promises with the team he has. The choice was between “Congress Mukt Bharat” and “Corruption Mukt Bharat”. I preferred the latter.

It has been a long journey for all AAP supporters, donors and especially the ground volunteers. In the 2013 elections, an underestimation in the opinion polls and some fake stings stopped us from becoming the single largest party and winning Delhi. On that day there was a lot of joy and all the AAP loyalists could go and tell their friends, “Told you so.” In the 2014 elections, there was disappointment all around in the AAP camp but it gave us a second state and also consolidated our vote share in Delhi. And now 2015 goes beyond all the expectations. There is relief. There is fear. There is happiness. And then there are those tears of joy.

AKHug

Aam Aadmi Party is like a startup. Perhaps one of the most difficult startups possible as Indian politics is not an easy place to grow in. Yet this startup has completely shaken up Indian politics in the last 2 years and the only reason for this success is the AAP volunteer. They have left their jobs. They have left their dreams of IAS/IFS. They have made many sacrifices and put in hours and hours on the ground to campaign. A positive campaign backed by the Delhi Dialogues and a strong 70 point manifesto is the reason why the people of Delhi have shown this faith in us.

Now it is time to deliver. After watching a Ravish Kumar program a few days back I realized that the problems in Delhi are immense and to make Delhi the world-class city that all parties have promised, all MLAs, all MPs, the MCD, the central government and the people of Delhi will have to work together. Delivering on the promises is going to be tough but possible. And once we start delivering, Western UP, Punjab, Mumbai and other places will await us with open arms. The political revolution has reached its second stage with AAP 2.0.

Wanted to write an emotional piece on this victory but ended up just blabbering. To end this blog, I would just like to thank Arvind Kejriwal for leading us like a champion. I would like to thank Kumar Vishwas for always being by Arvind’s side and motivating us with some brilliant speeches and poems. I would like to thank Ashish Khetan, Adarsh Shastri, Meera Sanyal and their team for the work they put into Delhi Dialogues. I would like to thank Ashutosh for heading the Delhi AAP unit and doing an excellent job. I would like to thank Raghav Chadda, Atishi and all other AAP spokesperson for facing the media which has often been exceedingly critical of this new style of politics. I would like to thank Vishal Dadlani for 5 Saal Kejriwal. I would like to thank Gul Panag and Raghu Ram for standing by our cause despite the Lok Sabha results. I would like to thank Ankit Lal and the whole social media team of AAP for always being on top of the game and giving us our beloved #MufflerMan!

And most of all I would like to thank all the ground volunteers. Without you this win would not have been possible. And this image of the volunteers cleaning up after the celebrations just melts your heart away.

Cleaning after winning

And I almost forgot to thank the people of Delhi. Janta jabh deti hai, chappar phad kar deti hai ūüôā

Chalo ab 5 Saal Kejriwal! Jai Hind!

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Arvind’s Defamation Case Explanation

I was asked by a friend to explain what’s going on with this case and the protests. I have written the following as a response based on my understanding and knowledge. Would love to hear back if there¬†is anything wrong in it or any contradictory views/opinions:

1. What exactly happened inside the court is not known. Both sides have their own story as usual. So I will not comment on the exact sequence of events inside the court. 

2. AAP in 2012, right after their formation, did a press conference with evidence of Gadkari’s corruption. At that time, many media houses also came out with evidence for Gadkari’s corruption. A lot of it is now in public domain (http://aamaadmiparty.org/documents-related-to-nitin-gadkari). I am sure if you do a google search you will find even media articles writing about Gadkari’s corruption and the proofs. Ram Jethmalini (BJP politician) has also said the same –¬†http://news.oneindia.in/…/bjp-versus-bjp-ram-jethmalani…¬†…Gadkari was removed (he resigned just to make it nicer) by BJP from party president position.

3. After the above press conference, there was no defamation case launched by Gadkari.

4. In January this year, AAP came up with a list of corrupt politicians and said that these politicians need to be defeated in the upcoming LS elections. This list also included Gadkari. If you watch video of when Arvind was shouting out these names, a lot of the volunteers were actually adding names in this….it was not only corrupt…also included dynastic, communal etc. which AAP believe have to be defeated.

5. At this point Gadkari launched the defamation case. 

6. I do not know exact procedure of defamation case and whether the one accused is expected to show proof of his charges to prove himself innocent? So was AK asked yesterday to show proof of the¬†charges he made? I am not sure about that….but there is definitely enough proof out there and AAP has competent lawyers to deal with that if needed.¬†

7. Now comes the bail part. First of all this case is not over, the next hearing is on Friday. So it’s not as if AAP/Arvind is/was losing the case. It’s just that till the next hearing you have to either sign a bail bond to ensure the judge that you will be present for all the hearings. According to AAP and its lawyers, this part about signing the bail bond is not a strict law and its upto the discretion of the judge. In 4 previous cases, Arvind has been granted bail without signing this bail bond based on an oral/written undertaking that he will appear in court whenever he is called.

8. Arvind has on principle denied to file bail bonds when he is not guilty. This has been his position for many many years…even before IAC days. (http://www.dnaindia.com/…/report-rti-activist-arvind…)

9. But the judge this time (unlike the previous cases) decided that Arvind will be arrested if he declined to sign bail bond. So Arvind said he is prepared for that. (anna and arvind have done this in the past too).

10. This cannot be pre-planned or drama as others are calling it unless you imply that AAP influenced the judge and wanted Arvind to be arrested. After the arrest, senior leaders and supporters decided to show solidarity outside Tihar jail (same thing happened in 2011 when Anna was arrested…infact at a much much larger scale with 1000s taking the streets outside Tihar). They were sitting outside the jail, police imposed section 144 and then started dragging senior AAP leaders from their site of protest to other jails and detaining them. Reason for detaining? violating section 144….old way used by Delhi police to disperse any form of protests.

All this is then labelled to be political drama by the media and others. BJP just a couple of weeks ago sat on dharna in Varanasi (they could not sustain it for even 4 hours cuz their leaders like Jaitely couldn’t take the heat)….but that was not drama…that was a legitimate form of protest according to our media and Modi supporters.

Its simple….Arvind lives on certain principles and he will continue to do so. People of Delhi took the streets earlier but now they have given up because they believe it does not solve anything. AK and Anna were the ones who ignited this street fighting spirit amongst our youth, which was also used by the youth in the Delhi gang rape protests. At that time it was not drama, it was revolutionary, path-breaking…nation on streets vs corrupt Congress regime. Now its called drama? A 100 people sitting outside Tihar jail with their leader is drama? A leader staying in jail for 2 days for calling a corrupt leader corrupt is drama? While Gadkari gets elected into parliament? Congress was not only corrupt party…BJP have lots of corrupt leaders too and people like Yeddyurapa were taken back into BJP cuz they were “winnable” candidates. People have given mandate for Modi and are expecting miracles….ok…i am fine with that. But please do not forget that he has people like Amit Shah, Gadkari, Yeddyurapa and many others by his side. AK and AAP will continue labeling them as corrupt..in fact yesterday¬†#CorruptGadkari¬†was trending on Twitter. How many defamation cases will he file? I want to see if BJP can now give Gadkari a position in Modi’s cabinet?

Just one line to end it all –> a strong mandate does not mean there is no scope for opposition. Whether people now chose AAP in Delhi is up to them but I and many AAP supporters agree with this form of protest. As Arvind said when forming party – ab parliament mein bhi ladenge aur sadkon par bhi.