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Editorial

Corrupt suggestion

12th January 2017, 04:22 Hrs

AAP’s advise to electorate to accept money means promoting corruption

The raison d’etre of the Aam Aadmi Party into politics
was to fight the hydra of corruption. It was conceived
in the crucible of an anti-corruption movement headed
by Anna Hazare and managed by Arvind Kejriwal.
The demand then was to set up an all-powerful Lokpal
to tackle corruption in the government. The party went on
to win the Delhi elections in spectacular fashion on the basis
of this anti-corruption slogan and it entered Goa to contest the
election on the same basis. So when Arvind Kejriwal openly
tells voters to accept money from candidates, it is a complete
negation of everything that AAP stands for. It is anti-ethical
and it goes against everything that the Election Commission is
trying to achieve.
Most politicians give the same advise to voters because none
have come up with a way to counter gifts given to voters on
the eve of the election. The understanding between voters and
candidates is clear: it is okay to accept money. Is AAP just like
any other political party? Or does
it stand for probity in public life?
Public life does not begin only after
one is elected. It begins when one
decides to stand for elections. If the
agenda is not clean governance will
eventually be a casualty.
The larger question facing the
electorate and leaders is if the people
are corrupt how can one build a
non-corrupt edifice. How can a corrupt
electorate throw up non-corrupt candidates? These serious
questions were swept under the carpet by politicians and
political parties in the past and AAP, which projects itself as
the lone samurai against corruption, has done the same. And
this is disheartening because in one stroke Kejriwal has placed
his party in the same slot as the rest.
AAP has strived to select candidates with clean sheets. It has
worked hard to convey to the electorate that if it gets a majority
it will form a no-nonsense government. Was this too much
for the electorate, fed on goodies to bear? Come elections and
it is time for electorate to earn a few bucks. The aim should be
to reduce the number of people who have a stake in corruption
and increase the mass of ethical voters. AAP could have
helped in this process, but by openly asking the electorate to
accept money from candidates, it has taken democracy several
steps backwards.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process
he does not become a monster,” so said the German philosopher
Friedrich Nietzsche. In the present context it means those
who fight corruption should see that they do not become corrupt
in the process. AAP might not be hurtling down that road,
but it is precariously perched at the start. It must pull the electorate
to its level of aspiration, not descend to theirs.
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