In 2013, the Rupee plumbed new depths, while the current account and fiscal deficits saw a meteoric rise. Inflation breached 8% and the ‘aam aadmi’ was burdened with massive price hikes of essential commodities, and household monthly budgets became untenable. There was a silver lining in the cloud though — the rise of the aam aadmi party (or AAP), could well herald a change for the better, with the party becoming a harbinger of change, marking the dawning 2k14 as a new era in politics and bringing about a seachange in the way people participate proactively in governance …

Keeping their eyes firmly on impending general elections,political pundits of various hues and shades went overboard in their gameplay to worsen already tattered scenarios further,with their somnolescence and ill-thought out populist counter-productive gambits merely to score brownie points. Our resident UPA dispensation at the centre with the INC as pied piper stumbled and mumbled, leading to a policy paralysis on many fronts. Government knew not or knew but did not deal with an ever deteriorating economic crisis, while the opposition made it worse by further paralysing a hamstrung Parliament, letting key bills get consigned to the wayside without being passed, resulting in a situation akin to the shut down crisis faced by the US government not too long ago.

And then came this fairytale whiff of wind fresh out of somewhereland, dispelling the mists of FUD to reveal this part Robin Hood part Crusader part Visionary and his platoon of merry mango men,who have succeeded in pressing the right buttons with the amorphous common populace of this country, emerging as a viable and reasonably stiff opposition to traditional politics, and assumed the role of an alternative force in the socio-political arena. What began 3 odd years ago as an anti-corruption movement with gandhian Anna Hazare as its face, hit all the right chords, connecting with the common man on the street instantaneously.The Aam Aadmi Party (aka AAP,Common Man’s Party), is the new David on the block, vanquishing the old Goliaths in Delhi (capital of India and independent city-state), and contributing to a sweeping sentiment that saw the Congress facing ignominous defeat in 3 more
states. AAP’s ploy of testing the political waters with its Delhi gambit has helped it reap largish dividends, decimating an incumbent Congress that ruled the citys-state for the past 15 years, and literally stealing the thunder from under BJP, the other big national player which ended the day short of a majority in a hung house.
After many “pehale aaps”, the AAP has now finally formed a government in Delhi with ‘outside support’ from Congress,and BJP adopting the role of a constructive opposition.

It would surely be very interesting to observe how these two ‘Goliaths’ work with the ‘David’ AAP, with AAP’s stated goals including probes of scandals and scams that involve Congress and BJP members. One could say the tourney has already started with the AAP team getting down to work from day-one. First to be axed were conspicuous consumption of cars with red-beacons and security entourages as status symbols, followed by a decree providing 20 kilo litres of water at no charge for all Delhi families.Caveat: if you consume even one litre more, you pay for the entire consumption at an enhanced rate. So the arena is full and the games have begun,what with AAP proving that there sure is some methe drine, if not method in their madness in this trial by fire, as they convert the grandstanding in their manifestos into tangible deliverables. So we wait and watch.The emergence of AAP on the political scene may be the one singular and significant development of 2013.It has reawakened hopes in the hearts and minds of the common man, who have been wilting under the burden of corruption,nepotism, price rise, next to zero essential services, and … and … the list just goes on.

The lack of prior political baggage on the part of AAP members too is of immense advantage, and their stated objective of providing clean governance is assuring. Delhi’s response to this was reflected in the strong mandate they did get, and their performance during the first quarter of 2014 will most likely pave their way for more accolades in the coming general elections slated for the second So even if AAP delivers partially on their promises, their presence in parliament in reasonable numbers could well be assured. With the power of the people reawakened, if only in small measure, the writing is clearly on the wall: that vote bank politics, caste divisions, blathering rhetoric and empty promises would no longer win elections for parties or politicians any more. People today seek transparency,accountability, responsive and good governance, not to mention sustainable all-round development. Point worth noting here is the fact that in the many states that went to the polls in 2013, only those that have delivered upfront and ushered in prosperity have been voted back to power. So, are we on the threshold of a new era ? We at NRI Achievers are keeping our fingers crossed …

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