Sunday, March 16, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal - Long Term Impact

Apologies to anyone who comes to this blog because it contains stuff about Android. This article is about Arvind Kejriwal (AK) and politics in India.

I have been tracking AK for some time now - ever since he started the agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill and have followed him through the process of forming a party, contesting elections in Delhi, becoming Chief Minister, resigning in 49 days and now contesting the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have been pretty impressed by AK. His willingness to leave a cushy job in the Revenue Service, struggle against graft and corruption on the streets (without much support), his political savvy, his strong principled anti-corruption stand and very importantly, his clarity of thoughts about what a good government needs to do and his ability to make a lot of that happen - despite the Indian bureaucracy.

This essay is not about that. It is about the huge long term impact that AK can have on politics throughout the developing world (and even the developed world).

Looking at politics both in the US and India, I had pretty much reached the conclusion that politics and elections always need a lot of money. So expecting the industrialists to buy influence by funding elections was the best we could get. At least in India, AK is showing us that people care enough about corruption, that they are willing to fund a party without any expectations of special favors. Also, that a campaign can be run with relatively little money.

This, I believe, is the much bigger impact that AK can have on politics in the developing world. The main thing he needs to do is maintain his momentum and not get crushed by the pressures being applied on him.