Politics of the middle, from the middle – The AAP way

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The Middle Path of Politics - Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via cc

When I was trying to understand AAP’s ideology by reading the book Swaraj written by Mr. Kejriwal, I discovered another book Breaking Free of Nehru - Let's Unleash India. The writer is Mr. Sanjeev Sobhlak. Interestingly, like Kejriwal Mr. Sobhlak has also served in Administrative Service, and he is equally vocal against corruption and claimed to be a whistle blower. Mr. Sobhlak is open supporter of capitalism and advocate for formation of new alternative political party based on Value and Capitalism. His argument is that all political parties including Congress and BJP are still unable to come out of Nuhruvian politics, even after economic reform. So we need a political party with pure capitalist ideology. While, Mr. Kejriwal doesn’t open his cards in ‘Swaraj’ and avoids words like socialism and capitalism. It seems he has cleverly positioned himself at the middle.

Swaraj by Arvind Kejriwal – Read in English | in Hindi

The problem with political ideology of the parties is that nobody understands what it means. The so called development model of Gujarat is hyped nationally, but the credit for the policy decisions for the same actually goes to congress, while the same policies failed to work in many other states. No ideological differences are visible in the policy matters among the parties on administrative reform, police reform, electoral reform etc. We have never heard any difference of opinion in the issues like how to deal with naxalism, what should be our foreign policy towards Pakistan, China or even towards America. If there is any difference exist it is in the primetime TV shows in throwing muck to each other. The differences lowered down to the level of supporting or opposing construction of a temple, to allow FDI in single brand or in multi-brand, reservation of x% or y%, to sell wheat at Rs.5/- or at Rs.2/- a kg. In many of these issues AAP is not in the middle, but ahead of many other parties.

The question is not about which ideology you support, the question is how it is being practiced. India neither succeed in implementing socialism nor implementing capitalism. In our socialist days, the thousands of crores of money spent for agricultures have actually never reached the farms.


The book ‘Everybody loves a good drought’ reminds us how actually government schemes were implemented in the days of socialism. The lands of the same farmers are now being snatched away in the name of capitalism, but neither they’re getting fair price nor getting benefited from capitalism. Neither that was socialism, nor is this one capitalism. That was bureaucratism and inspector-raj and now it is cronyism and contractor-raj. Where do we stand now, socialism or capitalism? Or at the middle?

Before Marx wrote Das Kapital, there was no socialism. Marx found a new form of economy by analysing the drawbacks of capitalism. Whether the socialism passed or failed, the questions raised by Marx are still there, unchallenged and unresolved. In the post-globalization catastrophe of economics, wars and climate risk, people across the world are again questioning the gains of capitalism. So where does the world rediscover itself; left or right? Or at the middle?

Who is talking of getting all steamed-up over corruption? Who writes the newspaper columns and who reads them? Who watches the primetime TV shows and concerns about the future of the economy? Who talks about climate change and runs NGOs to help the poor? This is the middle class. This is the class who advocates for socialism on behalf of the poor and this is the class who advocates capitalism on behalf of the rich. This is the middle class who are often criticized for being selfish, non-participator and inapt in development discourses. Neither world owns them, but none can ignore them.

Socialism has never made the middle class poor, nor capitalism ever made them rich. This class so far has waged war either in the interest of the bottom, or in the interest of the top, but never for the middle. If Arvind Kejriwal identifies himself with middle class and still standing at the middle, then he is clean and free from any hypocrisy. I am with Kejriwal, because starting from middle is always a fresh start

Written by Ankur Baruah >>

I work with an NGO based in Ahmedabad - VIKSAT and head Rural Livelihood Finance Programme. Also honorary CEO of a farmer owned company - Sustainable Rural Enterprise Producer Company.

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Indian Exponent: Politics of the middle, from the middle – The AAP way
Politics of the middle, from the middle – The AAP way
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