The burlesque of participatory governance staged by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his followers in the national capital raises many grave issues that have serious and far-reaching consequences for the functioning of parliamentary democracy. The sordid scenes witnessed during the so-called protest dharna on Monday show that Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has redefined democracy as mob rule. The Constitution provides for periodic elections to enable formation of elected governments to work according to the rule of law. The members of the elected political executive are administered oath of allegiance to the Constitution and they must abide by it.
The fact that Kejriwal decided to go ahead with his threatened dharna outside the Union home ministry despite Delhi Lt Governor’s announcement of judicial inquiry against police officers who refused to arrest some Ugandan nationals without a warrant on the orders of law minister Somnath Bharti is not only unfortunate but full of dangerous implications. Bharti’s attempt to take the law into his hands that ended up in a mob criminally assaulting some African women and forcing them to conduct drug tests was rank vigilantism. No civilised society can accept this display of lynch-mob mentality.
If there is cause for citizens to complain about illegal activity or crime, they should inform the police and press the authorities to take action. There is no justification for vigilantes to take what they believe to be corrective action on their own. The crime is compounded when the principal perpetrators are those who hold the constitutional responsibility of administering the rule of law. Kejriwal must realise that the people’s mandate in the Delhi state Assembly government was for good governance. Instead of resorting to agitations, he must go back to his office and deliver on his promises. Failure to do so will give excuse to others to defame him and his party and demand the Centre’s intervention.