Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rahul Banerjee on grassroots vs electoral politics

in his blog Anarkali. More discussion on his timeline. Excerpt:
"That is why there has been a veritable flood of people from the grassroots movements joining AAP. However, these people have not really analysed the winning methodology of AAP which involves sticking to anti-corruption and populist promises and then spending fairly large amounts of money to get the message across. After all even if you have a large number of volunteers working free you have to spend a lot of money to feed and house them and provide them with mobility and telecom connectivity apart from spending on publicity materials. The AAP was able to mobilise funds and voluntary support through an innovative campaign on the internet. It mustered Rs 20 crores which is a huge amount. However, currently the fund mobilisation is much less and stands about Rs 8 odd crores with the daily contributions having trickled down. To fight the Lok Sabha elections will require Rs 2 crores per seat if they are to be fought in the same way as the Delhi elections were fought by the AAP and therefore to fight even the announced 100 seats which have corrupt representatives the AAP will require 200 crores for a winning effort. This is something that the grassroots movement people who are migrating to AAP will have to come to terms with because the AAP does not have this kind of funds with it and so individual candidates will have to fend for themselves!!! In KMCS we discussed this thread bare and eventually came to the same conclusion as before that those who wanted to contest elections whether of Panchayats, assemblies or parliament were free to do so but would have to mobilise resources on their own and if needed they could join political parties. Many members of the KMCS are simultaneously members of the Congress, BJP or BSP. Now some like Shankar have become members of the AAP. 
So there is no confusion as there are many in the KMCS who are still not affiliated to any party and are committed to go on fighting at the grassroots for a decentralised social system which is just in all respects including the most important matter of gender equity. There will always be enough scope for such mobilisation within a liberal democratic system.
The AAP itself is going to face many hurdles to remain true to its ideals. The Socialists and Communists or say even the Hinduvadis of the RSS were very committed and upright in the beginning but the exigencies of acquiring and retaining power through elections have corrupted them. Kejriwal and a few at the top of AAP can remain true to their ideals but it will be difficult for them to keep their whole flock on the straight and narrow path of incorruptibility. Nevertheless at the moment the AAP is a progressive party within the liberal democratic set up and so it should be supported in every way to provide a better alternative than the Congress and the BJP which are both stooges of global capital."

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