I believe I have been very fair to Arvind Kejriwal.I expressed nothing but goodwill and support for him from the time he started his agitation against corruption as a member of Team Anna. My support for him remained firm, even after he decided to turn political and launch the Aam Aadmi Party. And I sincerely believed that he would systematically address the hardcore rot of mal-governance and corruption that has consumed our body politic.
But no sooner did he assume the mantle of Chief Ministership of Delhi, clearly, some Faustian bargain seems to have been struck between the Congress and AAP. Plenty of credible reasons were speculated-- to cannibalize the BJP votes, particularly Modi votes, not just in Delhi, but in the rest of the country with high urban and middle class aspirations, for whom Kejriwal had become something of a hero, a David slaying Goliath; to avoid a Delhi re-election along with the national elections that would have further decimated the Congress tally of eight; and laughing over their shoulders, the Congress satraps would have been fairly certain that through the Faustian bargain, Kejriwal as Chief Minister would become his own worst enemy, exposing his thorough incompetence and inability to run a government and transforming any visible order in governance into mayhem. The deserter Congress voters would see it for themselves, reflect upon their foolishness, and return to the Congress fold.
All the while, the deceptive charade of the Congress-AAP animosity had to be kept at high decibel levels, with each publicly hurling insult upon the other on trivial issues, but concealing solidarity on the vital ones. The nation had seen enough of these dramas in the past, that had become a political forte of the Congress party when handling the friend-foe flexibility syndrome. Do they think they can still fool the people?
I had always suspected a Faustian bargain, particularly after Kejriwal’s strange encounter with the police and violation of prohibitory orders in January 2014. Now, I am convinced that Kejriwal has proved me right.
After taking full advantage of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that swept the country and piggy-backing upon it to attract national attention on himself, he coolly parted ways with his guru, when the irresistible dazzle of political power took possession of him. And that is when his undoing began. By assuming the Chief Ministership, Kejriwal exposed his secret deficiencies, notably, the lack of administrative skill and experience, a character incapable of acquiring sound advisers, even less, listening and learning from them, and a lack of integrity. Integrity is not a quality limited to financial dealings; integrity also relates to honesty in thought, word, and deed, and Kejriwal showed lack of it on all three counts.
Chief Minister Kejriwal also discovered that governance was too restrictive, too caged, with unnecessary Constitutional provisions to follow, rules of business and a plethora of other statutes, court and administrative diktats that had to be respected. And worst of all, the buck stopped with him to fulfil all the promises he had made to the people of Delhi, or else, there could well be a Jantar Mantar against him. How much unfettered creativity and adrenalin there was in wearing the garb of the eternal child of nature at Jantar Mantar, irresponsible and unaccountable, demolishing systems and people in charge at will, being a permanent agitator and activist, rather than a Constitutional deliverer. So he conveniently did another U-turn, a skill he has mastered to perfection. Incidentally, I am informed, that in administrative slang, the word Kejriwal has already come to substitute terms like volte-face or change of position.
He performed some histrionics about mohalla sabhas approving formation of his Congress-supported Government, regardless of his earlier solemn oath, but no such sanction seems to have been obtained from them when he vamoosed from the scene. Instead of lawfully reforming the water and power tariffs, which required some time and trouble, he coolly placed the entire bill of his promises on the tax payer, through subsidy-- no different from any other politician practising populism. Thereafter, desperately looking for an escape route from the responsibilities which he was just not capable of handling, he found one in the procedure for tabling his Lokayukta Bill. And then he fled, breaking all the other promises made to the people of Delhi, like a perfidious partner, also hoping thereby, that he had acquired the halo of martyrdom.
I am informed that Kejriwal has now set his sights on securing the Prime Ministership through the same shenanigans and chicanery, through which he inveigled the people of Delhi. I am inclined to believe this, because the nation has very recently witnessed another master U-turn from Kejriwal namely, junking the anti-corruption agenda, his original talisman for success. It had, anyway, become too boring and demanding, and he had no skills whatsoever to address it. More so, as the Chief Minister the onus of delivery lay on him and he had neither the time nor the inclination or capability to deconstruct the corruption systems and reform them. So he did another scandalous U-turn from his anti-corruption agenda, switching it for the anti-communal agenda, a catchy, undefined, populist and distorted phrase, far removed from its original construct, which requires no specific performance or achievement,
To woo the Muslim votes, which he believes will help him reach the throne of Delhi, he addressed an audience of prominent Muslim academics and intellectuals at the India Islamic Cultural Centre and reportedly declared “communalism is a bigger problem in front of the country than corruption”.
Using the language of a perfect communalist, he added that the BJP had done nothing for the Hindus and the Congress had done nothing for the Muslims. Notice the change of rhetoric, switching over from the secular welfare of the aam aadmi, to dividing the same people by religion. Shocking, communal and anti-national are the only words with which I can describe it. And that from an educated man who should know what true secularism really implies.
The adoption of the Congress party’s communal discourse cannot be a mere coincidence. It is a marriage of great convenience, trapped in its own ‘chakravyuh’, that will devour them both.
Never has one man thrown away so much for so little in such a short time.