1176 hours equals 49 days. 49 days is all it took for the new kid on the political block to be compelled to render its resignation. The jury of course is out. I watched with amusement how the satraps were quick to vituperate and denounce the move and try to muddy the waters. We all saw what happened in the Assembly as old foes got together to defeat a bill that was meant to reign in corruption. I am not going into the merits of the bill which I am sure is not perfect, but then do feel that the valour with which old adversaries stuck to each other speaks volumes. The way in which they pretended to be knights defending the Holy Grail of corruption was to say the least laughable. And their wanting us to believe that they were simply safeguarding modalities and procedures did not fool anyone. The bottom line was that none of the old political parties wanted a law that would target them. It was too uncomfortable to say the least. When the session ended they were quick to go on camera to show themselves in a good light.
With the resignation came the accusations. The incumbent government it was said had run away as it was unable to keep the promises it had made. This sounded preposterous. They had been in power for a mere 1000 hours as compared to the 66 years the people of this country had patiently and stoically given to the old and entrenched parties. 66 years in which no government had been able to give drinking water, 2 square meals and a roof to millions of people. And what about proper schools, health facilities, roads without potholes, electricity in other words all the things that are enshrined in the very Constitution every one was pretending to defend. I guess it is a case of selective choices. Where is the justice, equality, liberty and fraternity we the people gave to ourselves on the 26th November 1949. These words ring hollow when we see them in the reality that surrounds us. Liberty and equality is only for the chosen few. So to my mind it sounds ludicrous to expect anyone to deliver promises in a mere 1176 hours.
What endeared and still endears the likes of me to the new political party that briefly shone on the political firmament of our city is the fact that they sounded like a breath of fresh air and went against everything that we were forced to accept as the almost holy prerogative of those we had elected: from red beacon lights to unbearable arrogance with everything in between. The 'mango' party as it has contemptuously been called, was the exact opposite. True they were unable to 'pass' their pet bill and thus true to their words they resigned but not before exposing for those of us who are willing to see, the fact that sleeping with the enemy is totally acceptable when needed and that finally all political parties have similar agendas.
This post is neither an apologia nor an elegy. It is simply a statement of facts that one needs to remember. The din and noise that is being made to try and drown the little positives that have happened in the past 1176 hours should not blind us to what we have witnessed. For the first time we saw some kind of shelters put up for the homeless and even if they were just tents at least it was something. An audit was made of the existing schools' resources something that activists had been clamouring for, hospitals were also inspected and remedial measures taken where possible. An anti corruption cell was set up and if nothing else, for the last 1176 hours the police harassed fewer people as was confirmed by the three wheeler drivers we employ.
An attempt to listen to the people was also made. True the weekly contact programme had to be abandoned for practical purposed but I am sure some other system would have been found. The idea of local committees to suggest how the money given to local leaders should be spent was a good one as we are all silent and mute spectators to the innumerable times perfectly good footpaths are destroyed and rebuilt for no reason at all if not the garnering of deep pockets. With time I am sure a via media would have been found and the money used in a sensible way that would benefit people. But therein lay the problem: all these changes were touching issues that would have hurt those used to make money. It was bad enough to have one's red beacon lights taken away but basta! Let us not forget how quickly - in a matter of minutes - the Parliament passes a bill to increase their salaries and how bills that would better the lives of the disabled or women linger in Parliament for years at an end. Get the picture?
No one wants their comfortable boats to be rocked. There is a line that cannot be crossed. And the AAP was guilty of crossing the line.
It was refreshing to see a party that believed in transparency. It is time political parties were upfront with the source of their financing. The uber expensive PR campaigns we are witnessing - be it the lengthy TV and print advertisement or the state of the art tea parties - makes us wonder where the funds are coming from. And come to think of it the sight of a CM sleeping on the pavement touched many more people - I am referring to simple people - then the glitzy advertisements that punctuate any TV programme we see.
The Cassandras will come up with all sort of criticisms as days go by. The Pollyannas will hold on to the dream that they believe in. Somewhere in between the likes of us must decide whether we want change and if we do, whether we are willing to forgive mistakes and above all give time to anyone who is willing to walk an honest talk. If we are not, then we are doomed to the old ways for a long time to come.