Dr. Sen noted that AAP had raised basic issues to mobilise people

The Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) rise is an “important departure” in politics which has challenged the established institutions, eminent economist Amartya Sen said on Saturday.

“Anna Hazare did not join the crusade which was not a very wise thing to do in the sense that you stand outside the legal system,” Mr. Sen said during a debate on TV news channel NDTV.

The Nobel laureate noted that the AAP had raised basic issues to mobilise people.

He also criticised the Supreme Court’s verdict restoring the ban on gay sex in India and said criminalisation of homosexuality was a violation of the protection of minority rights.

“[In] India, while it’s is a democracy, some people are privileged and some people are not,” Mr. Sen said.

Praising AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and his party, Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy said, “What Mr. Kejriwal has brought to the table is that if one has a few powerful messages, you can win elections with very little money. You can get a party ready fairly quickly to have a stunning debut. He has also given hope and confidence to a lot of people across various cities of the country to say we too can participate in the political process.”

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie described the AAP’s rise as a “stunning announcement” for political parties that the people are fed up.

“Everybody will be forced to field better candidates. But his economic policies are so regressive that it will certainly damage economic growth in many ways and that will lead to social tensions,” he said.

“Secularism had been prostituted”

Mr. Sen said democracy has never been defined as a majority rule and it was governance by discussion after panellist Mr. Shourie said “secularism had been prostituted”.

Noted jurist Fali S. Nariman, who was also among the panellist, while referring to the recent Supreme Court verdict on homosexuality said he had always been averse to important matters dealt with a bench of two judges.

“It has to be a constitutional bench of five judges,” Mr. Nariman said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Murthy said development on a platform of secular democracy was a must.

Referring to Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Mr. Murthy said, “The courts have not indicted the gentleman. Therefore the best we can do is to expect a sense of contrition from the individual and move on,” he said.

He said secularism was extremely important and government, state and religion should be completely separate.

Respect pluralism

“We have to respect pluralism and every leader should practise it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nariman said by destroying the Babri mosque, the message that was sent to the world and India was that this country, claiming to be a democracy, does not value democratic ways of life.

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