‘AGP failed because it could not address the principal question of illegal migration to Assam’
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 30: The AGP could not sustain because it failed to address the principal question of illegal migration for which it was voted to power, feels academician and politician Yogendra Yadav. He also feels that an altertive force "beyond Aam Aadmi Party" has a future in the country as there is a lot of "hope, excitement and willingness to engage" among people in most parts.
Yadav, whose major interests are in political and social sciences, is in the city to attend a few programmes. He has been a senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi since 2004. He is a former member of University Grants Commission (UGC) and tiol Advisory Council (C) on Right to Education Act (RTE) appointed by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He was a senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party until this year, when he was expelled in the wake of interl party problems. The Sentinel caught up with the political activist for his take on several topical issues. Here are excerpts of the interview.
Q: What is the future of a third force, or should we say a fourth force, in the tiol level and in the states?
Yadav: Depends on what you call the fourth force. We have many claimants to that title. Vey often the Jata Parivar forces come together. They call themselves third or the fourth force. But if you are referring to the altertive politics that began with the An movement, then my sense is that there is future for that. Let us distinguish between the Aam Aadmi phenomenon and Aam Aadmi party. Aam Aadmi phenomenon was an extraordiry opening in our politics that began as a result of An movement. AAP utilized a part of this opportunity and made significant achievements. But it could not fully utilize that opportunity. That is still waiting to happen. AAP could demonstrate that politics of idealism is still alive. It demonstrated that people were willing to give chance to a new altertive. It also demonstrated that a small and new political force could take on big parties. But having done it, it (AAP) fell prey to some of the diseases of our political system – like high command culture, Delhi-centric decision making, persolity cult – that is what needs to be changed. One of the things which AAP failed to do was that there was a tionwide opportunity. AAP only focused on Delhi and some places around it and therefore reduced that tiol opportunity. So I think an altertive force has a future beyond AAP.
Q: Much before the AAP was formed, there was a successful experiment of a people’s party in Assam in the form of AGP that was an offshoot of a people’s movement. But it could not sustain.
Yadav: All over the country, people’s movements have had difficulties in making the transition to politics. AGP was one of the exceptions – in a special situation, it made a successful transition to politics to begin with. But it failed not only because of persol reasons like ego clashes between the leaders and so on, which is tural. It failed because it could not address the principal question for which it was brought to power – mely the question of illegal migration. It had no answers to that issue. Having said that, I do not regard the AGP as a pure failure. I think AGP made a significant contribution to Assam politics and to tiol politics. All regiol parties have made a big contribution to tiol unity.
Q: Is an AAP-like wave possible in other states of the country?
Yadav: Yes, why not? As I said, AAP utilized only a part of the Aam Aadmi phenomenon. In most parts of the country there is excitement, there is hope, there is willingness to engage…but no political party has been able to tap that. If attempt is made in other parts, then it is possible. Under the Swaraj Abhiyan which we have started, we will make an effort to tell people that there is still hope. There is nothing special about Delhi.
Q: There is a saying that power corrupts. From your experience, do you think it is true?
Yadav: It is true that power corrupts. But it is not that nothing can be done about it. You need institutiol mechanism to check the corruption due to power. If there is no institutiolized mechanism, then of course nothing can be done about it.
Q: There is a notion that one needs money to contest elections? Your take on it.
Yadav: Yes, you need money to contest elections. That does not mean you need black money. One big achievement of AAP was that it demonstrated that use of clean, white money was possible in politics. It actually collected dotions openly and made public declarations about it. That was one of the extraordiry achievement of the AAP and it gave everyone hope that politics can be done without black money.
Q: You were also associated with the RTE and UGC. How do you view the present education scerio of the country?
Yadav: The education system is in something of a crisis now. Crisis is not that of numbers in terms of enrolment etc. The crisis is of quality of education. The quality of education in rural areas, in government schools.. is terrible. Every year the ASER survey demonstrates how poor the quality of learning of the students in our schools is. That is a crisis. The same is true for our colleges and universities. The level of learning outcome is not very encouraging. The students that our colleges and universities churn out are mostly unemployable. There is also a deeper philosophical challenge – about what is worth teaching. Most of our education system is a blind, mindless copy of the western education system which needs to be changed to our local need and local context and local intellectual tradition.