Mr. V.K.Talithaya is the President of Primacy Industries Limited an Export Oriented Unit at Mangalore. He is an HR professional both in Public and
Private enterprises. He has served with distinction in organizations such as Steel Authority of India, Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants, Deccan Herald group of publications, Kinetic Honda Motors, Bharat Electronics Ltd., Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. A thinker and practitioner, known for his transparent and solution based approach for long term benefits. His areas of specialization are Human Resource Management, Transactional Analysis, Communication and Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Sunday 16 March 2014


By V.K.Talithaya

The question may appear an oxymoron. Yes, I am clear, I will vote the Aam Aadmi Party, but I have many reasons why I should not vote the party. Let me first give the reasons why I will vote Aam Aadmi Party.

Aam Aadmi Party has, indeed, changed the rules of the game our politicians play. The games our politicians play are many such as saying that they are secular, but select candidates for elections and act on all political matters on the basis of community, caste and religion. They say they act in the interest of the country, but they give us corrupt politicians to represent us. They have made our electoral system so much dependent on money that they have to amass unlimited money for elections, which they can only do by plundering people’s money. They make laws for the people but they flout the laws themselves as if they are above law. Aam Aadmi Party has shown us in Delhi that elections can be fought with limited money as provided by law. Aam Aadmi Party also has shown us that election can be fought with money collected legally.

These will have salutary effect on our politicians and the way they play politics. It is not out of concern for generation young or providing opportunities for new faces that many politicians are withdrawing from contests, apparently championing the cause of younger candidates. This sudden outburst of realism and the love for younger candidates is the result of their realization that they will find it difficult to face the barrage of corruption charges that may be unraveled during the campaigning. Therefore, the actions of Aam Aadmi Party is having two salutary effects: (a) they are changing the rules of political game for good. (b) our political process is getting cleansed. It is not only the Aam Aadmi Party which will put up candidates without the baggage corruption but the fear of people’s wrath is gradually forcing other parties also to look for “clean” candidates.

The more the likes of Nandan Nilekani are nominated the cleaner the parties will become.  The more the likes of Yediyurappa and Ashok Chavan are nominated, heavier the political price they will pay.

So, I believe, let the broom do the cleaning; but that should not lead to the broom to sweep the floor itself from under my feet. That takes me to the second part of my question – why I should not vote Aam Aadmi Party?

Absence of corruption by itself does not bring development. Hypothetically if I am given a choice between development with corruption and no development with clean governance, I will opt for the former. If governance does not lead to prosperity then we better administer ourselves Mr. Kejriwal’s concoction of anarchy. Galbraith called India of the sixties a ‘functioning anarchy’. India has not changed much since then. Aam Aadmi Party appears to be keen on deleting the adjective ‘functioning’ from Galbraith’s description; and they are in a mighty hurry.  

Except the fight against corruption AAP has no other agenda. When I met a very senior office bearer of the party in Bangalore he gave me a fairly erudite-looking lecture on the constitution being a na├»ve moralistic document; and for morality, he said, we have The Geeta, why look at the constitution. This is the challenge I face in voting AAP. I, for one, see nothing moralistic in our constitution. It talks abundantly about rights – rights of the citizens, the states, the different institutions of the state. It further goes on to mention the mechanisms for protecting these rights – the judicial system, the writs etc. It lays down how power is separated, so important for a vibrant democracy. Where is moralizing here? I wonder, should I vote a party of highfalutin factotums? In fact if there is a group in our political scene today trying vainly to raise itself to high moral ground it is AAP.

We can bear with some innocent moralizing, if only we are assured of governance and development. Governance for development needs clear policy. Policies flow from ideology. What is the idea of India that you have? What kind of country you want make of India? A foreboding of the ideological foundation of AAP could be seen during the IAC agitation last year at Jantar Mantar. The movement did not go farther than Jantar Mantar because the leaders (most of them are in AAP now) took the path of intransigence – our way and no other way. That approach does not work in a plural society. You have the right to forcefully put forward your views. But let others also say what they think. Like the Tea Party in the US, interest groups need to influence law making, but they cannot dictate to the law making body what law has to be made.

Secondly it was credulous on IAC’s part to believe that law-making is one time process. Laws are made and amended and even repealed from time to time. I wonder what prevented them thinking of the long term – get a good law passed, not necessarily the best, and then prepare for changing for better, instead of destroying a movement through narrow minded intransigence?

Therefore, why I should not vote AAP is because it is a party without ideology, without any long term policy for development. It is a movement and not a political party.

Yet I said I will vote AAP. Yes, I will. I believe voting AAP now alone will carry forward the present move towards cleansing our political parties. What we need is not one AAP which is clean. We need a system which is comparatively clean. That can be achieved by putting the fear of God on our politicians by showing them that we can vote even non-political candidates who fought the election on low budgets. We can show them that elections can be fought within the legally allowed money. Above all we can show them that it is we, the people who make the choice.

What about the long term issues about development? This need not be a cause for worry for the time being, for two reasons: (a) We can bank on the AAP to destroy itself by its gimmicks and holier than thou attitude if it cannot govern and (b) If it changes and, indeed, can govern, then that is exactly what we need. Either way it is a win-win situation.