In my living memory, this is an unprecedented time in Indian politics. 100 million more Indians have registered themselves for 2014 elections than the corresponding 2009 figure and my facebook news feed is constantly cluttered with different news items covering the political atmosphere in the country. One thing stands out; on second thought, it is the only thing I have been seeing on my news feed these days: AAP vs BJP troll-war and I have a big issue over the rampant attempt to criticize, defame and eliminate AAP. I will get to it but I want to digress for a moment now.

BJP launched a campaign to get 272+ seats in the general elections some time back in September, I think, last year. Modi had been recently made the campaign chief and further upgraded to PM candidate. And then came the elections in 5 states, where AAP made  a stellar debut in Delhi elections. They chose to form the government but the performance was far from satisfactory. Worse, it ran into controversies with Somnath Bharti trying to do the work of police but being labelled as vigilante and racist; then Kejriwal trying to do a dharna to get a couple of policemen suspended and being labelled as anarchist and a man of gimmicks than substance. I don’t know what worked out for AAP with 49 days in power, but it sure worked out for BJP because they got the ammunition which they needed to tackle the problems generated by Arvind Kejriwal.

You see, politics is a playground of bullies. The one with the strongest arm will outwit and displace the others and there is nothing bigger than the muscle power in Indian politics. How do you win against these bullies? By knowing secret things about the other and becoming a bigger bully. Congress was the biggest one till 2009 until the scams broke out and prices started to skyrocket. It was caught red handed by the middle class and the poor in the rural parts alike as the symbol of corruption. Congress being the bully in ground, twisted SP, BSP many times and managed to complete its complete terms. And then there was the rival in the same ground, BJP. Strong in a few states, but lacked the punch to fight the grand old bully.

But things changed in 2011/12 when Anna Hazare and his team came into the same ground and suddenly there was a bull attacking all the players. It was opening all closets and putting the skeletons out in front of the people. People, who were used to being bullied by lies and with “lets try these guys out this time” attitude were suddenly talking about national issues. The 10 crore new registration has a very large contribution from these people who had started to talk and discuss politics actively with the Anna movement. News programs became more interesting than comedy nights with Kapil and IIFA awards. AAP came to party without any skeletons in its closet giving it enormous conviction to attack everyone else. Worse, there was little to attack AAP with and it was a movement that was scaring the shit out of politicians. BJP switched to Harshvardhan to counter the clean-guy image of Kejriwal, they aped AAP campaign and sold the same lollipop to Delhi-wallahs as AAP. Finally, they figured out that AAP was more of a movement and less of a one time election headache.

And so began the smear campaign with the sting operation that was covered all over the media for hours and not a squeak when EC rejected it as nothing but useless propaganda. AAP won the elections, and for three days, they became the poster boys of media till the question came of forming the government. BJP was seething because despite thrashing Congress in 3 states, it was AAP who got all the plaudits and they went back to the smear campaign.

AAP was pretty much free of skeletons in its closet. Although that sting operation was proven a waste of space, it did sow doubts in the minds of public and BJP IT-cell has done a remarkable job in amplifying it. They invented skeletons to show that AAP wasn’t a ray of hope, but yet another bully. They forgot that it was in their tradition to forget their promises made during campaign and they told us that AK has made a U-turn and taken a 4 bedroom flat after denying official residence. Suddenly how could we trust a leader who made U-turns! It was Anna and AK who woke up the sleeping masses in India and made them talk and discuss corruption and price-rise in country. Suddenly all they wanted to discuss what was the next food item AK will eat which he had never eaten in his life. Congress, its scams, its backward ass policies which has slowed the economic growth, price rise were the subjects which AK and team Anna raised. I believe that if the atmosphere wasn’t as charged as it was, the cry for proper development so loud, Narendra Modi would never have been selected as PM candidate. That environment gave Modi with his development credentials the perfect boost to pitch himself in the fray and win over many different aspiring leaders in the party to become the PM candiate. And in the Modi success story of Gujrat, BJP marked all the real issues of elections as tackled and resolved and changed the topic of discussion of social media from real issues to “which hand AK used to wipe his ass this day.”

This is what we think, don’t we? We think Modi will come to power and all issues of economy will get covered. Or, we can simply trust is the government and sleep off. If this was not the case, why is there little talk over development issues, or the agrarian crisis which is crippling farmers, or the corporate hijack of media, agriculture, politics alike. Why are so many of my friends so hell bent on proving day in and day out that AK is a U-turn specialist, an anarchist, a leftist, or a B-agent of Congress? I ask you people, how much did you tweet and post over the misuse of govt funds in Saifai mahotsav? If I ignore Parliament as the stage, why is their no discussion over the influence of Ambani and other corporates on the Indian policy making on the social media at least? How many have you got a view point on the agrarian crisis that is gripping the country? How much have you studied and posted about the kinds of economic policies which are needed to tackle the inequality in the country?

AAP came as a hope to change politics. It has made its mistakes, but why is everyone so hell bent on exterminating it? Why is losing 20-40 seats to SP or BSP acceptable and losing maybe 10 seats to AAP unbearable? It won’t take a PHD in Maths to know which one will hurt the mission 272 more. But I don’t seen a single goddamn attack on SP or BSP or other regional parties. I guess that is because BJP knows that they are bullies from the same ground and the lust of power will get them in fold eventually. But at the same time why is AAP attacked left right and centre for trivial issues? BJP and Congress and others have shared the rule and have had their share of limelight of making a mess of law and order. State wide bandhs, vandalism of public property have been their forte, but AAP blocking a few stations becomes the only law and order problem that India has ever had? How is not discussing the real issues and spending hours bashing AAP and AK nationalistic?

Finally the bullies have succeeded, haven’t they? There was a craze in minds of people for the betterment of this country. Indians used the right to express their will and realized how such discussions empowered them politically. For once, cricket was rivaled in this country with some other zeal. And today major part of it has changed its focus. Known corrupt and thugs (Yeddyurappa, Shiv Sena) have joined hands with BJP and there is not one discussion or criticism on that. But the movement which gave people a voice isn’t being spared at all. I can understand why people look up to Modi and BJP and if I were voting, I will vote for BJP as well. There is simply no other alternative to escape the bane called Congress. What flummoxed me was how did the ray of hope, became enemy number 1 in the eyes of those zealous to see BJP coming to power.

I have concluded one answer. I sense a desperation in the millions of trolls in facebook that nothing short of a 250 seats for BJP will assuage them. Many had married to the idea of AAP coming to power in Delhi and BJP coming to power after general elections. This has been bedrock of their political understanding and wish in the eyes of many. Having lost at the former, it has now become critical to the survival of that bedrock, that a complete victory is obtained in the latter. AAP tried to turn the population and its anger towards system into a movement. But, in the end, I found and I feel that living under the rule of bullies had, ultimately, changed us into bullies as well. The ridiculous posts, the AAPtards and Moditards genres in an evidence of that. Movement isn’t important anymore, the victory and seat of power, irrespective of its means or collateral damage (AAP), is important.

If we don’t engage our leaders to discuss the issues which grip our nation, they will focus on throwing stones at each other and in turn keep us occupied with same activity. It is not just the political parties which alone makes that band of bullies, in the end, it is actually us who make that band real. It is very essential to protect that movement, and appreciate everything that AAP has done for it. In that everyday attack, in my eyes, we are delivering body blows to the movement as well. All the best.