‘Replicating Delhi experiment across 545 Lok Sabha seats not possible’

Senior Congress leader and Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma has termed the brand of politics practiced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) “populism bordering on anarchy.”

“There are three distinct streams in Indian polity. On one side is the communal and authoritarian stream represented by the RSS, Narendra Modi and the BJP. Second, is populism bordering on anarchy. Third is the one represented by the Congress and its allies, which is the middle path,” Mr. Sharma said in an interaction with The Hindu.

Pointing out that being connected with the people did not mean that ‘you have to function from the street,’ he said: “For governance you need structures and systems. I’m sure no Chief Minister will say that he or she will sit in a public square and function from there and bring the entire bureaucracy on the road to sit with him. This is not how nations or societies are governed.”

Mr. Sharma, who was here to inaugurate the 19 International Seafood Show, was careful not to name the AAP throughout the conversation, merely referring to the party as “new formation.” Though he conceded that there was “a churning,” Mr Sharma felt that replicating the Delhi experiment across the 545 Lok Sabha constituencies was not possible.

Dismissing the talk of a ‘Modi wave’ across the country, Mr. Sharma questioned the BJP nominee’s credentials for the top job.

“Let him first let people know what he stands for, his geo-strategic view, his perspective on foreign policy his economic philosophy and agenda… he has never held a press conference and answered questions,” he added.

Mr. Sharma defended the UPA government’s performance on the economic front. He felt that a “negative narrative” was allowed to be built up and that the party was weak in communicating the positives, which, in his view, were many.

He quoted the example of the initiatives in opening up more sectors to foreign direct investment (FDI) which, he said, “resonated well” with international investors leading to India being termed the top destination for FDI in a report by consultancy firm Ernst & Young.

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