Thursday, 29 May 2014

Arvind Kejriwal: The pr-oxyMORON

On 8th December 2013, an antiquated muffler-topi wearing, spectacle bearing gentleman, who referred to himself as the ‘Mango Man’ (Aam Aadmi), also sporting a persistent bronchitis became the Chief Minister of the capital of the world’s largest democracy. The stronghold and arrogance of Congress was decimated with the shocking loss of then CM Sheila Dikshit. Winning an unpredictable 28/70 seats in its debut election the Aam Aadmi Party took the world’s largest democracy by a surprise. Mr. Kejriwal rocketed to fame overnight with all the print and social media abuzz with the turnaround of the Delhi State Assembly elections. On December 28, the ‘Mango Man’ took over as the CM of a minority government with the unexpected ‘unconditional support’ of the Congress.

Taking the oath of working against corruption during his swearing-in ceremony he mentioned, “Aaj main nahi, Dilli ki janta CM bani hai”. The main agenda was to clear the Jan Lokpal Bill that included setting up of an independent organisation to probe into the working of politicians and even the top office of Govt. of India. He clearly failed to practise what he preached when he defended Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti by staging a dharna against the central govt. in order to prohibit an independent probe into his minister’s dogmatic moral policing of the Ugandan women.

AAP tried to bulldoze the Jan Lokpal Bill through the assembly with both BJP and Congress in strong opposition over the question of due process and constitutional decorum. The bill was manoeuvred in such a way as to invite opposition for the already minority govt. and not in view of getting it passed in the assembly. With such unexpected success in the state polls Kejriwal had already set his eye on the Raisina Hills. Delhi assembly was a mere stage of theatrics and histrionics. He must have seen dismissal of the Jan Lokpal Bill an ideal circumstantial exit window from the imbroglio he put himself into. He must have thought of gaining public sympathy by quitting as the leader of a minority govt. which was thwarted by political rivals rather than being criticised as a CM who was unable to deliver on his promises. On the contrary, the decision invited a colossal public dissent.

The Aam Aadmi party took this uproar on the offensive and fielded its candidates in 434 constituencies for the Lok Sabha elections, the highest by any party on the national level. Kejriwal in his daft over-ambitious attempt took on the deft and humongously popular PM candidate of the NDA, Mr. Narendra Modi in the city of Varanasi. As anticipated by the exit polls and being totally obvious, the masses refused to ride along with the whims of the broom bearer, whose govt. lasted just 49 days, ironically akin to the lifespan of a Jhaadu and Kejriwal suffered a brutal defeat and was swept clear by the Modi wave. AAP managed to carve out a meagre 4 seats, that too in Punjab only where anti-Congress voters considered AAP to be a better alternative to the BJP. The record-breaking public mandate of the BJP is hugely attributable to the political and administrative blunders that intensified the prevalent Modi wave into a Tsunami.

The matters worsened for the AAP with HC ordering to put him behind bars for the defamation case filed by former BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Mr. Kejriwal refused to furnish the bail bond of Rs 10,000 taking this as a matter of prestige with hopes of getting political gains. The spotlight hungry iconoclast further embarrassed himself with a failed attempt to reform the govt. with Congress sternly refusing to support him after the debacle. This also contradicted the party’s claims of seeking a fresh polls because minus Congress, a fresh referendum was out of the question. The very next day Mr. Kejriwal announced that fresh polls were an only option and apologized to the people of Delhi for quitting without a proper explanation. Eventually after spending a week breathing the air of Tihar Jail he had to give in to the judicial system after being reprimanded by the court for creating a mountain of a molehill. Aptly, the word U-turn is now slanged as ‘Kejri-turn’ after his humdrum dramatics.

Unfolding of such political upheavals clearly demonstrates that the main agenda of the AAP rather Mr. Kejriwal lies only in criticizing exposing inadequacies of the govt. Instead of functioning in-situ and providing a viable alternative to the BJP and Congress as predicted earlier, the party is limited to creating insurgency and anarchy. The mockery of the Delhi assembly polls that was made evidently exposes Mr. Kejriwal as a libel and an inefficient leader relentlessly seeking public spotlight to gain public sympathy and political marginalization. The ingenious opportunist soon turned out to be a desperate escapist.

Nevertheless, political pundits and press intelligentsia would argue that he is not power hungry and is playing a bigger game that India has not foreseen. Hitherto, my opinion would stand on the fact that he clearly failed to apprehend the sentiments of the common voter and exigently needs to reinvent his game-plan to emerge out of this predicament, essentially for the existence of his fledgling party. The Aam Aadmi Party, jocularly known as the most successful start-up in this recession by an IITian now shoulders a past imperfect with the future tense.