Thoughts on economics and liberty

Delhi unit of Swarna Bharat Party formed – and some further thoughts on liberal parties/ politics in India

I’m delighted that a small team of excellent persons has come together to create the Delhi unit of SBP, India’s only liberal party.

There is no doubt in my mind that when the superb ideology and agenda of SBP is explained to the people of Delhi, they will welcome this new party in their midst.

The socialist parties have made life hell in India. All of them are the same. SBP is like a breath of fresh air – and promises a proven agenda – that will make the life of the people of Delhi better in every way.

It is true (as I mentioned here) that there have been a few sporadic semi-liberal efforts in India over the past decade. But these efforts – such as Lok Satta Party (LSP) and Navbharat Party (plus Sharad Joshi’s Swatantra Bharat Party) – have failed to provide a genuine liberal alternative.

Not only is LSP a social democratic outfit (not classical liberal), JP lost me with his full-throated praise of Modi. If JP can’t distinguish between good and bad, or between liberalism and illiberalism, then he and his team can’t really help India.

Navbharat Party was my next hope. But it let India down, as well. RK Misra seems to have disappeared altogether, anyway. no longer exists. Shekhar Tewari of Navbharat had repeatedly told me that he supports the SKC agenda (which is now the SBP manifesto) but managed to avoid acknowledging it as the Navbharat party’s own manifesto on the party website. I find it hard to trust such people any more.

It is good that since July 2014 I have decided – along with a small team of leaders, mainly from the Freedom Team – to NOT work with any other party henceforth. Not even any coalitions or “working together”.

All my effort – and all Indian political liberal effort – is now concentrated on SBP – a party that a small team (in which I played a key role) built by accident in June 2013, and registered with Election Commission in June 2014.

While SBP came up by accident, it was a “good” accident. The further good thing that happened is that Ramdev stepped out from the plans for the launch of the party and so he is not a baggage for the liberals – given he is a man without any integrity.

The folly of trusting Ramdev and thinking he was an honest man who genuinely wanted a corruption-free India became clear to me towards mid-2013. It is clear he has chosen the path of blackness and corruption – which suits his temperament and style. He is an enemy of India, a traitor.

The July 2014 decision to go alone also relieves me of the burden of trying to engage and work with those who do not engage, who are confused, or who do not support the liberal manifesto that I have been instrumental in drafting.

SBP is now the ONE AND ONLY liberal party for India. There is no confusion about this. It is time to show India how a good liberal party should be run. SBP should build the best systems inside the party and create an ideal platform for good leaders to join.

By July this year, we’ll have a better understanding of whether SBP has been able to bootstrap into a viable political option.

Much will depend on the work that the Delhi team puts in in the next four months.

I’m also hoping that the Maharashtra and Telangana units will put in strong effort in the coming months. The Rajasthan unit has much potential – but has still to get off the ground. As far as the others – there is very little going on there.

It is time for Indian liberals to come forward and build the party.

* * *

One of the things I found over the years was that many Indian “liberals” are skin-deep liberals; more in this for their own personal glory and careerism. Most were looking for short cuts.

One of these – Munish Raizada – I have decided is completely unsuitable to even talk to. He recently met Subramaniam Swamy and posted that picture on his FB profile. If someone can degrade himself to that extent: first jumping after Arvind Kejriwal, then running after Swamy – it only shows that he is beyond redemption. Munish cannot be trusted in any way in the future. We have to let such alleged “liberals” go.

There are others who’ve had serious lapses of judgement in the past few years – people like Shantanu Bhagwat (who jumped into AAP, then jumped out) and Sandeep Shelke (who became a hardcore Modi fanatic). If these people have learnt their lesson and are willing to put in the hard work for the growth of liberty in India, they can be welcomed back into the fold.

And there are those like Surajit Dasgupta who could potentially become leaders BUT they have a huge illiberal streak. I’ve already raised concerns re: Surajit on this blog, and believe he can only be part of a liberal team IF he cuts out his violent streak – his threatening to beat up people if they disagree with him. He is currently trying to persuade me that it is OK to make such threats; I’m continuing the dialogue.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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