I am an anarchist, declared Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after leading his ministers and legislators from their respective office in the Secretariat to squat on the ground in front of the Rail Bhavan for a dharna. Neither Oliver Cromwell, who sent to gallows a King of England nor Lenin who ended violently the Tsar rule claimed to be anarchists.
Images of Delhi’s chief minister, flanked by his entire cabinet, sitting on dharna stunned the nation. Who will govern Delhi if members of the executive behave like trade unionists?
This is the worry. The other worry is the language used by the chief minister and some of his ministers in public speeches. His senior colleague Prashant Bhushan loves the word referendum and his remarks about Kashmir are inflammatory and anti- national. Bhushan wants a referendum in Maoist areas to find out if the people there want the security forces out. Even Kejriwal does not agree with Bhushan on the latter’s stand on the idea of referendums.
Street smart Kejriwal’s dharna brought back memories of Jayaprakash Narayan who was arrested in the 1970s unrest and packed to Chandigarh jail for asking the Army to rebel against the state. But Jayaprakash had held no public office when he made that revolutionary call. On the other hand Kejriwal has sworn to protect the Indian Constitution which he scorns now that he is in office.
If Congress support to Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Kejriwal is withdrawn, he will project himself as a martyr in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and ask for sympathy votes. If left alone he will have to bear the brunt of the failure to govern Delhi and his supporters will gradually wean themselves away from the AAP. The Party after all is an urban phenomenon, where the middle class is gradually getting frustrated at it’s agitational approach to politics.
It was just a little while ago when supported by Congress, the AAP had formed a government in Delhi replacing 15 years of Congress rule. Then AAP activists and party members had waved placards reading, Today CM (Arvind Kejriwal), Tomorrow PM.
AAP leaders were ecstatic noting how the whole country seemed enthused with their promise of transparency and of simple living. It was therefore no surprise when AAP declared it would contest hundreds of Lok Sabha seats as well. The ambition of the AAP is galloping, unmindful of the dissatisfaction and skepticism that its power politics is spreading around Delhi.
It is a risky gamble but when in a state of euphoria, the consequence of one’s action is seldom considered. AAP was founded on promises of honesty and a clean past but it is now exposed for taking in unknown people without knowing anything about them. Unconfirmed reports reveal that someone taken on board by AAP in Bihar turned out to be a history-sheeter.
A few other incidents have raised eyebrows. Like the alleged attack on Minister Rakhi Birla’s car and how it was given a political hue. In reality it was just a ball hit by a 10 year old boy playing cricket on the street that had by accident crashed through the minister’s windscreen.
Then there is AAP’s senior MLA, Vinod Binny who accused Kejriwal of arrogance, dictatorial conduct and of being unavailable most of the time. Binny is a favourite of the media that seems to encourage him to criticize Kejriwal. There are other rebels within the AAP, whose woes Kejriwal must look into. He must like clean up the proverbial augean stable of politics and no longer avoid investigating the conduct of his law minister Somnath Bharti. Kejriwal must no longer avoid investigating the likes of Robert Vadra and Sheila Dikshit of the Congress.
The primary aim of the Congress Party today is to stop Narendra Modi reaching South Block and it is using the AAP to fight a proxy war for it. AAP obviously does not mind being ‘used’ as it uses the opportunity to increase its base. Whatever the future of AAP, Kejriwal deserves kudos for spear heading revolutionary changes in the present day political culture. This revolution is unstoppable. People have tasted blood and will not allow power to be snatched away from them. This new year is special as it promises to usher in real democracy, of the people, by the people and for the people. When that dream will be realised is what we wait to see.