The Mavericks



Drawing-room political analysts, who were quick to discount the political process but rather slow to make it out of their homes on polling day, now have a reason to be involved. For many believers, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi experiment may have been short-lived, but the results on counting day instilled a sense of faith in the democratic process.

During my brief stint in university politics, a senior, who is now a mid-level functionary of a national party, told me: “If you want to be honest in politics, you need to have a source of income other than politics. A job or a skillset that provides for your everyday needs. Otherwise, you will turn to your constituency for money.”

Therefore, AAP’s experiment with professionals in politics as opposed to professional politicians should be interesting. The party has carefully selected many professionals: lawyers, activists, academics, military personnel, engineers and journalists.

It goes without saying that the party has kept ‘winnability’ in mind, catering to local dynamics while distributing tickets, but has picked rank outsiders. These outsiders — salaried employees, many of whom challenged the very political system that they are now entering — have taken a new avatar, leaving their jobs, families and the comfort of their homes, to hit the ground running.

They are likely to be efficient, honest, educated and motivated to deliver, as they have done in their professional fields. At the same time, they could end up being “naïve lambs”, who stumble in the face of bureaucracy and an aggressive Opposition, trying to fight the inertia of the political system.

With a shrinking purse and an almost complete dependency on donations, many AAP leaders are concerned where their funding will come from. Will they be able to remain transparent and honest, yet survive in a system heavily dependent of money and muscle power? Only time will tell. Until then, read about the 10 professionals who chucked it all to hit the campaign trail for AAP and fight for change they can believe in.

Avalok Langer


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