(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)
Democracy started in Greece thousands of years ago . At that time, India was ruled by kings and tyrants . The first modern democracy is England and India picked up parliamentary democracy from England . Our democracy is only 70 years old and therefore a lot of imperfections like vote –buying has crept in .
After 1967, regional parties started forming governments in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and DMK in Tamilnadu . After that, there was the Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam, Biju Patnaik party in Odisha and a host of small parties came up everywhere . Only Andhra Pradesh and Telengana do not have many parties.
Regional parties brought a culture of family dynasties, corruption, building huge offices and owning newspapers and TV stations and having a caste base .To throw out an entrenched political party is very difficult and in recent times only Mamta Banerjee (Bengal), KCR ( Telengana ) and finally Arvind Kejriwal ( Delhi ) succeeded in forming governments . KCR could form the government only because Congress divided Andhra for its political greed . In recent times, it was only Arvind Kejriwal who never contested an election and defeated the mighty Congress in Delhi…
Arvind Kejriwal evicted both Congress and BJP out of Delhi. Now in Andhra Pradesh, Jana Sena is similarly placed as Kejriwal was in 2013 . Every political situation is different . But Jana Sena in Andhra Pradesh could learn a few things from Arvind Kejriwal . Kejriwal won power by breaking all the rules of politics.
Arvind Kejriwal before power and after ;
Kejriwal fought very well to gain power. But after becoming chief minister, he stopped following his own rules and became worse than an Aurangzeb and evicted every single leader from his party. My illustration of Arvind Kejriwal is only to study how he came to power and the Jana Sena is in similar circumstances.
There are similarities between Pawan Kalyan and Kejriwal. Both are charismatic leaders and not professional politicians . Both are ready to openly fight powerful people without worry about the consequences. The other common quality between Pawan Kalyan and Arvind Kejriwal is that both of them have the “ Teflon coat ”. Teflon is a is non-stick chemical. Once you coat something with Teflon, nothing sticks . Ronald Reagan was a “Teflon “politician, as no allegations stuck to him. Similarly, before Kejriwal came to power, allegations slipped off his skin like water off a Lotus leaf. Similarly, despite a campaign to attack Pawan Kalyan, nothing will stick . The “ abuse-campaign’ will fail.
- Kejriwal asked everyone to join the party and lead whatever section they There were no appointed leaders or office-bearers. Kejriwal and his advisers deliberately kept it very informal so anyone could work for the Aam Admi Party . Before Mamta Banerjee captured power in Bengal, her party was like Kejriwal’s party . Lok Satta failed in Andhra because it also became a regular party for the few and had too much organization, committees and no agitations..
- When walls are built, then people decide not to come. In political parties, existing leaders prevent anyone new from Old leaders don’t want new blood as they will be ousted. That is why old political parties decline. Congress, BJP, Telugu Desam, DMK, ADMK have the same leaders from 40 years and now their grand-children have lined up.
- Kejriwal got huge support of retired and serving officers :
Thousands of retired officers , ex-Armymen , lawyers, accountants , call-center employees became Kejriwal supporters. Right now, in Andhra Pradesh 90% of all officers are against the government and government officers say that the government is against farmers and tribals and only for contractors and real estate operators.
- NRI support for Kejriwal: Kejriwal attracted a large number of NRIs by his plans to fight corrupt political parties. All NRIs love their country and they see rampant corruption, casteism and loot . Thousands of NRIs visited India, canvassed and donated money for Kejriwal . Jana Sena also has immense NRI support. Every NRI knows that even in foreign countries dominant castes have set up caste-based NRI associations. Thousands of Upper caste NRIs invested huge sums in speculative Real estate in Amravathi .The State Govt. is trying to save them since Amravathi has collapsed. Jana Sena has to harness this great NRI support .
- Kejriwal did not announce tickets till the last minute .
Kejriwal waited till the last minute to announce candidates . There is no gain at all in early declaration of candidates. It is a trick to help rich candidates .Wait till the last minute like Kejriwal.
- Kejriwal and RTI; Kejriwal resigned from the Income Tax dept and became a famous RTI activist. Kejriwal encouraged his followers to file RTIs everywhere to get information from government and ensure that ministers will be caught . In Andhra Pradesh, people are afraid to file RTIs against Government , because police will go after them . But Jana Sena followers living outside Andhra Pradesh can file numerous RTIs on all issues.
- Kejriwal and the Gandhi cap : Kejriwal started wearing a Gandhi Cap with AAP written on it. This gave it immense publicity . Slum dwellers and retired officers started wearing AAP caps and made it Jana Sena need not worry about the media ignoring it. Just get a smart Jana Sena cap and that is enough . Every youngster will wear it and it will become a fashion statement.
Jana Sena could consider the good points of Kejriwal :
- Kejriwal never allowed relatives and friends near him. Do not appoint “family-friends” as Gate –keepers as they drive away people . In Praja Rajyam’s time, Chiranjeevi’s big mistake was that “family friends” took control . In Godaveri districts and Uttara Andhra , people with access to Chiranjeevi controlled Praja Rajyam and some became District Presidents . Once Chiranjeevi lost, they went back under-ground . If you need a brain operation, you hire the best and not a family friend to operate your head .
- Like Kejriwal, do not create committees, Politbureaus , High commands. Such actions will keep out people. The established parties main trick is to ensure that a new party tries to imitate them. A new party should do just the opposite .
- Never promise or announce tickets to anyone . Wait it out till the last moment. A new party leader must have the nerves of Winston Churchill and just wait till the right time.
Jana Sena should study how Kejriwal came to power.
There are a lot of lessons there !
*Dr Pullarao is a noted economist and political commentator