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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 9, February 21, 2015

What a Victory!

Monday 23 February 2015, by Humra Quraishi

MUSINGS

The AAP is here. Wah, what a victory! What a win! What a splendid show of strength! The AAP has managed to crush the BJP and with that trampled upon the Right-wing’s politics of spreading hate, of communal divides, of killings and rioting... In fact, in these elections it was more than writ large that the BJP will be defeated as never before. Minorities were angry and all out to defeat the BJP. This anger had been building up right from the summer of 2014. A whole long list of horrifying happenings—five attacks on churches in a span of three months, Muslims threatened and hounded out from Outer Delhi areas and the rioting and killings in Trilokpuri, those from the North-East branded ‘immigrants’, obnoxiously-worded abusive comments uttered by the BJP’s top brass, forced conversions together with re-conversions, orders to produce more, upcoming statues of that murderer Nathuram Godse, the man who murdered Mahatma Gandhi, the so-called ‘clean chits’ given to the present-day political murderers!

In fact, even those from the majority community were disgusted by the ongoing atmosphere of strain and layered deceit. In fact, just yesterday the auto driver, whilst zig-zagging his vehicle through New Delhi’s traffic snarls, told me that the public is not interested whether the Prime Minister travels to this or that land or invites ‘big’ leaders from those far-flung foreign lands and hosts those ‘big’ parties, for that does not help this auto driver to survive in the mess spreading out! ‘My home conditions are worsening with the rising prices... I sweep my home floors wearing this faded, semi-torn kurta... see it’s torn from the ends, and there he’s wearing that videshi suit, flown in from Vilayat! Why should the Prime Minister of our country wear such gaudy expensive stuff when we’re roaming about in tatters... our Mahatma Gandhi wore khadi, did not indulge in these useless tamashas ... now everything is getting clear and this time these characters will get a kick from us! Don’t want to hear their lies!’

 In fact, each time I hop into an auto rickshaw—which is almost every second day—I make it a point to start talking to the driver and with that manage to more than sense what the average apolitical thinks or feels... In fact, in these recent months these drivers have spoken out, detailed their utter disillusionment with the BJP. In fact, one of them who lived in the troubled Trilokpuri area didn’t mince words: ‘Soon they’ll make us kill each other. They will say okay, you have nothing to eat, so kill each other and eat other’s flesh! Trilokpuri had never seen riots but this time they were made to happen! We were made to hate and abuse each other! Tell me how will I survive with this constant tension... never had problems with my Muslim neighbours but now too much tension because of those riots!’

The verdict is out, loud and clear—we, the masses, don’t want to be divided along caste and communal patterns. Don’t force us to hate and kill the other! We don’t want to be fooled by the politics of hate. We cannot be taken for a ride. What we want is to live in peace, we want our daily bread, we want the basics... we want a better future for our children.

In fact, there’s focus on Kejriwal’s clean image. A happily married, family man. Yes, he seems happily married, living in a semi-joint family set-up, along the traditional norms. He seems a mix of the modern and the traditional; doesn’t harp on some illusionary dreams but talks of the actual ground realities. Topping it all, he and his team booted and hooted out the politics of hate and communal divides.

 In fact, these election results should relay forewarnings to the politicians of those particular States who are contemplating taking support from the BJP for government-formation. It would prove to be a complete disaster; dragging along divisions and anarchy.

Now, Governance Should Take Off!

By this weekend the excitement should settle down and actual governance take off. I must point out that unlike the other political parties, where there’s speculation about who will get which portfolio together with the connected factors, here with the AAP coming to power, there will be a virtual halt to such speculations. Indications are such that any Minister in the AAP Cabinet will have to deliver in a specified period; otherwise he or she will be sidelined and shown the door.

Deadlines are to be met, at any cost. This brings me to write that several AAP winners have been former journalists. Well aware of the very significance of deadlines, they would have the added advantage of being aware of the ground realities... One of them is the 41-year-old Jarnail Singh—the AAP’s candidate from West Delhi. He was working with Dainik Jagran, and shot into prominence in 2009 when he’d hurled a shoe at former Union Minister P. Chidambaram. Thereafter he had written a volume—I Accuse (Penguin)—focusing on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984... I had attended that launch and had noticed that there were many of the riot-affected in that audience. What stood out was the fact that Jarnail Singh had been working tirelessly, raising his voice and fighting for justice for the victims of the 1984 riots.