Kejriwal is Playing the Martyr: Tushar Gandhi

Published: 13th February 2014 06:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th February 2014 06:09 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has "realised he wouldn't be able to deliver" and will eventually resort to "playing the martyr" to cover up his inability to govern, reckons Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

As the white, triangular Gandhi caps turn into signs of protest in the national capital, Gandhi says neither social activist Anna Hazare nor Kejriwal are truly Gandhian. Kejriwal's dharnas and display of Gandhi caps are "superfluous" and "gimmicks" that ensure visibility in the media and snare young voters, says the Gandhi descendant.

"He is pandering to the mobs...he is not sincere. He has promised a lot of things which he now realises he wouldn't be able to deliver and so he is distracting people from starting to ask questions.

"I think what he is doing is he realises he is not going to be able to govern in the situation there is. He is now making it impossible for his political supporters to support him any longer and then he can play the martyr to the hilt...I think that is his game plan," Tushar Gandhi, 54, told IANS in an interview here.

The managing trustee of the official electronic archive on Gandhian information, The Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, Tushar Gandhi asserts that Kejriwal's "Gandhian pretext" might bring him the votes, but doesn't translate into proper governance.

"It doesn't lend itself to good governance...to good practices... it's like a child throwing tantrums all the time," he said.

"The CM of Delhi, should he be sitting on a dharna for the lynching of the northeastern boy, or should he be working with police or society in general and saying look this is the sin of all collective and we have to improve? What is the use of sitting at Jantar Mantar unless this is just to get yourself on the TV and front pages...?" he asks.

Tushar Gandhi is the author of "Let's Kill Gandhi" which attempts to clear misconceptions about the Mahatma's death. In March 2005, he organised and led the re-enactment of the Salt March on the 75th anniversary of the iconic movement.

He believes Hazare's movement that spawned AAP is an "exploitation" of his illustrious great-grandfather's legacy. It "lacked introspection" and "consistency", he points out, something which is uncharacteristic of a social movement.

"Anna's movement was convenient...he decided not to go the hard way because he knew if he started challenging people who were coming to join him he would be left with very few who had the courage to say, 'I am corrupt and the system won't change unless I change'," said Gandhi who is the son of veteran journalist Arun Manilal Gandhi and the grandson of Manilal Gandhi, the second son of Mahatma Gandhi.

When asked to compare the two, he said: "Anna Hazare pretends to be more Gandhian than Kejriwal, his pretence is more believable...none of them is truly Gandhian...Neither has the sincere ability to lead."

Even though both claim to bat for strengthening democracy, Gandhi surmises they are in effect "foisting a cult of idolatry".

"AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) is nothing but Kejriwal and India Against Corruption (IAC) is nothing but Anna; so where is the democracy in that?" he said.

And with Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi "selling Gujarat to Indians and foreigners", Gandhi contends the country has achieved the very thing for which Bapu gave his life - the division of people based on unity.

"Now if you talk to people there's always an 'us and them', whether there's the communal 'us and them', in terms of caste there's 'us and them' or gender 'us and them'... everything is 'us and them'...," he says, adding Modi, an "agent of hate", is exploiting that fissure.

In fierce criticism of Modi's development that according to him excludes the Muslims, Gandhi slams it as "silicone development" that can't be sustained and is "plastic.

"There is development in the sense that there are wide smooth roads; is that all?" he argues.

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