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Mainstream, VOL LII No 9, February 22, 2014

An Open Letter to Medha Patkar

Saturday 22 February 2014, by Bharat Dogra

Respected Medhaji,

Greetings. I’ve learnt from newspaper reports that you’re contesting the Lok Sabha election as a candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

While certainly there are some positive aspects of the AAP and I’ve myself noticed the dedication of some of its activists, at the same time there are several questionable aspects of the AAP’s quick rise to fame and success. Leaving these aside for the time being, I’d like to draw your attention only to what Shri Arvind Kejriwal said while addressing the National Council Meet of the Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi on February 17.

As reported in The Indian Express the following day, Shri Kejriwal said: “Government has no business doing business, it only has to govern. Business should all be held by the private sector.”

Am I right in interpreting this to mean very little role for the public sector, if any, and a huge room for privatisation of essential goods and services?

Also, as The Indian Express reported, “Kejriwal clarified his party is against crony capitalism, not capitalism.” Kejriwal “praised industrialists as the real engines of growth and appealed to them to become party to the revolution”.

Am I right in understanding that this vision is very different from what you’ve articulated all your life?

As someone who has played a very modest but at the same time a very consistent role in supporting (as a writer) the various movements with which you were associated, I hope that I understand correctly that you are firmly opposed to capitalism and your life is devoted to finding genuine alternatives to capitalism.

Many who believe in alternative paths of development eagerly look forward to your views on basic issues. We look forward to receiving your views about standing in the election as a candidate of a political party whose topmost leader has openly embraced capitalism.

With good wishes,

Bharat Dogra

C-27 Raksha Kunj,

Paschim Vihar,

New Delhi-110063

Tel: 25255303