Nitin Pai interviewed on the fault lines that run in AAP

Takshashila’s Nitin Pai was interviewed in The Sunday Guardian about the fault lines that run in the Aam Aadmi Party.

The politics of populism or misplaced notions of polity?

“Q. AAP has made it clear that it would be contensting Lok Sabha elections, but the party’s stance on a lot of big issues like nuclear power remains vague and unaddressed. Are issues like foreign policy not people’s concern?

A. AAP does not seem to have a coherent policy agenda. As it moves from being an activist movement to a political party, it will realise the need to be coherent and consistent. It is no longer tenable to say foreign policy does not concern ordinary people — how many visas the US issues, what happens to the surplus militants fighting in Afghanistan, what happens to Sri Lankan Tamils, Bangladeshi Hindus and Tibetans across our borders affects us materially and emotionally. Indeed for a country like India that is highly dependent on energy imports, foreign policy matters for things like keeping the lights on and how much we pay for the fuel to run our vehicles. It is another matter that AAP’s leadership is not overly concerned about these matters.”

“Q. How important is it for AAP to alter the atmosphere of political cynicism that it bred during Lokpal movement, and how can they do it?A. AAP has already transformed the cynicism of the Jan Lokpal movement into positive enthusiasm for the democratic process. They shouldn’t undermine this by going on dharnas and dissing the constitutional setup. Cynicism pushes the richer and better educated voters away from the democratic system — they have a certain amount of choice to provide for themselves even if public services fail. They can also migrate. Their secession leaves the system weaker and with a weaker impetus for change. That’s why it’s important for all civic leaders to address the cynicism by showing how good people can make the constitutional setup work as intended.”

Read the entire interview here.