In one year, Saxena has left Kejriwal bewildered

The usual Kejriwal style of staring a campaign of baseless and at times even maliciously false allegations targeting the opponent is now increasingly failing to provide optimum results.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena. (File Photo | PTI)
Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena. (File Photo | PTI)

There were no anniversary felicitations for Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor, Vinai Kumar Saxena on completing a year in the office last month. Probably it missed everyone’s attention because Delhi continues to be a ‘war zone’ with a bitter battle going on between the Raj Niwas and Delhi Secretariat, the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The hot-button political topic in living rooms across the capital today is exactly what will be the outcome of the ‘fight to finish’ which is going on between the AAP government led by Kejriwal and L-G Saxena. In the one year since Saxena took over as L-G, his forays into long-pending issues like clearing the garbage mounts and cleaning of Yamuna among other initiatives seem to have propelled him into the position of the ‘disruptor’, which Delhi desperately needed.

The Kejriwal government has been left flustered by the fact that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) entrusted Saxena with the task of cleaning the Yamuna and flattening the garbage mounts through lawfully established panels. While as much as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership may resent the ‘disruption’, for a common resident of Delhi, it’s now two authorities trying to develop the city in the place of one.

Saxena indeed has given Kejriwal a run for his money on his own pitch. First his administrative engagements, sans rhetoric, started resulting in visible work on the ground. That he also chooses to be on the streets and communicate with the people and the media proactively has put the ever-aggressive Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the backfoot, with little to attack Saxena with on these initiatives.

Saxena’s recent skirmish with Kejriwal during the inauguration of the east campus of Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) showed that he wasn’t going to let Delhi CM run away with all the credit. He ensured that due acclaim was also accorded to the previous administrations that began the work and the university, of which he is the Chancellor, which completed the project with its own funds.

When app-based bike taxis wanting to ply Delhi’s roads fell on the wrong side of the elected government in the absence of a policy, they knew that they had another door to knock on — Delhi L-G. This message has travelled to many such communities, who are now increasingly knocking at the doors of the Raj Niwas, much to the distress of the state government.

This Saxena has topped with the drive to cleanse Delhi's administration of ‘AAP cadres'. The termination of ‘fellows’ and ‘advisers’ on the rolls of the Delhi government has become another flash point between the L-G and the CM. The Speaker of Vidhan Sabha too has pitched into this latest round of strife albeit from the side of the government. Let’s see who winks first.

The usual Kejriwal style of starting a campaign of baseless and at times even maliciously false allegations targeting the opponent is now increasingly failing to provide optimum results. Saxena immediately responding to allegations and countering them, at times even promising a case in the court, has deflated many such defamation drives.

Saxena indeed is proving to be a millstone around Kejriwal’s neck as far as his political journey and growth are concerned. While AAP has become a national political party post its governments in Punjab, Delhi and 12% vote in Gujarat, Saxena’s‘constant vigil’ tactic has slowed down this excursion. Kejriwal needs a new playbook to deal with Saxena. Else, his track record of being the ‘biggest disruptor’ of Indian politics runs the risk of being ‘disrupted’ by the Delhi L-G, Vinai Kumar Saxena.

Sidharth Mishra
Author and president, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice

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