Ruthlessness is aam (commonplace) in politics, AAP included
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has only picked the common trait.
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The implosion/factionalism saga of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the newest harbinger of alternative politics in the country, has got a cross section of people interested in over the developments in the first 49 days of second stint of the AAP's power play since February 15.
A historian friend of mine suggest similarities between the current AAP saga with that of the "sequence, phraseology, choreography, committees, display of loyalism and dissent and laying their side of story to press/public to events in Moscow" by Stalin loyalists in 1926 in the run-up to the historic purge of 1936.
Orchestrating from behind, Stalin had got his loyalists to wield the knife against the likes of Trotsky. What happened is history.
But, attempts to equate the events inside the AAP with that of the historic events of the communist party of Soviet Russia less than a decade after 1917 revolution would be unfair in terms of their historic impact.
Given the fact that those booted out - Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar, Ajit Jha and Dharamvir Gandhi - are all, to say the least, have communist (left of the centre, at least) sympathies and consequently would know about the event leading up to Trotsky and his gang's expulsion from the Polit Buro of Soviet communism in 1926.
The AAP is not a global phenomenon like the Soviet-style communism that burst at the global early last century. The AAP has domestic roots and parallels should be drawn domestically.
Though there could be many parallels that could be drawn, but it is the trait of ruthlessness that seems to fit most appropriately with how the events in the AAP have unfolded.
Take any party in the national politics and you will remember names who were made to scream and cry hoarse (like Yogendra and Prashant have done) before realising that their ruthless superiors of internal power politics had got better of them. Some of them suffered silently. The AAP's current episode may look larger than those events back in time mostly because of the proliferation of electronic media and its Delhi-centric focus.
But remember how Sitaram Kesri and later Sharad Pawar lost out to power politics in the Congress. Ask an old Gandhi-Nehru family loyalist Natwar Singh how he was isolated after the Volcker report.
Even in the BJP, one has to ask Kalyan Singh (one of the stalwarts in the eyes of party cadres rivaling Vajpayee and Advani) and Uma Bharti how they lost the battle as party superiors managed the internal politics against them.
Lalu Prasad would better recollect how ruthlessly he got Deve Gowda make way for IK Gujral as prime minister even before that how he disempowered Ram Krishna Hegde in single stroke in the Janata Dal.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, in fact, has never been seen spitting venom against Beni Prasad Verma, Raj Babbar or Azam Khan (for the interlude when he left the SP) while they were made to exit the party as Amar Singh held forth playing Mulayam's politics. Amar Singh learnt it the hard way when Mulayam maintained a cryptic silence when the former met the same fate as that of Verma and Babbar.
The internal party politics to consolidate the power has always been ruthless and Arvind Kejriwal has only picked the common trait of ruthlessness practiced in Indian politics. There is nothing called alternative politics when it comes to ruthlessness.