It is quite amusing to see Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, hogging the media highlight for almost 4 weeks now, especially since January 25, 2014. He is dominating all the newspapers and television channels- in admiration, criticism, lampoon, sarcasm and caricature. It is a bit too much for a new comer, but then, art is like that- it gets even the ordinary instant fame. Arvind Kejriwal has proved himself to be an able artist of the 24×7 political comedy being staged presently in the country. He has displayed great grit as a warrior, fighting some of the nastiest political battles under the coat of arms of non violence. His emblem; the famed Gandhi cap, yet with suitable modifications to send a subtle message of the changes perceived by him necessary for adapting or updating or modernizing Gandhism according to his vision and mission. His body language reveals it more than his other non-verbal statements such as the muffle, sandals for chappals, pant & bushirt for dhoti and kurta. The guy is making all his moves to a design others have failed to decipher as yet. He smirks but on camera looks like smiling. He knows what damage he is causing to all other artists and warriors of the great battleground of Kurukshetra that he has made of Delhi. Himself from the land of the real Kurukshetra, he understands its significance better than his other rivals. He has succeeded in forcing every columnist worth his or her salt to pen articles about him. Shobha Dey, Swaminathan S. Aiyar, Capt. Gopinath (a member of the AAP), M.J.Akbar, Gautam Bhatia, Swapan Das Gupta, many other respected writers and, of course, me (M.L.Gupta), have contributed their best pieces, analyzing the birth, growth, adulthood and repercussions of this new phenomenon called AAP (AamAadmi Party) and its Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. All these writers (excluding myself) are highly experienced people with several decades of witnessing political changes and evolution of democracy in India. Their views carry immense value. Even then, this man Kejriwal carries his business as usual. How? Is he a swollen head? Is he really mad? Is he ignorant?
Far from all this, this man is quietly pursuing his dreams- the dream of a Chakravarty Samrat. The allegory refers to the great Indian epic The Mahabharat and the ancient Indian tradition of declaring oneself as the king of the whole continent of Aryavarta or India as it existed before 1947. The kingdom of Hastinapur was ruled by the Kaurava family under a regency arrangement with the Pandava family. Both the Pandava King Pandu and his regent Dhritarashtra were brothers by blood. Dhritarashtra would have become the king under the right of primogeniture had he not been blind from birth. Pandu died a sudden death and the children of Dhritarashtra tried their level best to usurp the kingdom from the children of Pandu. Yudhistir was the eldest of the five children of Pandu. Under a treaty arrangement between the two branches of the family, the Pandu princes came to occupy the territory of Indraprastha, our present day Delhi. The river Yamuna (also spelt Jamuna) divided the two territories. Our present day Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, lives in the territorial limits of the ancient Hastinapur or the land of the Kaurava dynasty but rules Indraprashtha or Delhi. This is like the fulfillment of the dream of the Kaurav Prince Duryodhana, who wanted the whole territory for himself and not granting the Pandu Princes even as little as just 5 villages! That was the cause for the great Indian war depicted in the epic Mahabharat. While Duryodhana went on devising newer conspiracies to oust the Pandu Princes from Indraprashtha, Yudhistir, the Pandu King of Indraprashtha, announced the holding of the Rajsuya Yagya. It meant declaring himself the supreme Emperor of the Aryavarta if nobody rose to challenge him. For this purpose a decorated horse carrying the declaration of the would be Emperor was taken through the entire territory of the kingdom. If anybody opposed it, he had to fight a war with the King, otherwise pay tribute & accept his sovereignty. Why I recall this incident would be clear if the phenomenon called AAP is to be unraveled.
Riding high on a civil society movement against corruption under the leadership of a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Anna Hazare, a political party was born and christened as the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP. It contested elections to the Delhi Assembly, won 28 seats in a House of 70 members, and formed the government with the support of its arch rival, the Congress Party. Since it was even not taken seriously before the announcement of election results on 8 December, 2013 its electoral victory stunned everybody, including the media houses, journalists, intellectuals, writers, academicians, professionals and, of course, the people at large. This explains the sudden flurry of articles, comments and TV debates on the AAP, Arvind Kejriwal and the aam aadmi or the common man. The AAP government in Delhi has not even settled and become functional to provide the promised alternative of good government, excepting a few publicity stunts. It is already gripped by the forthcoming General Election fever, as it wants to capture the Parliament next in order to form the government at the centre. It is this possibility which is engaging the attention of all people: whether the AAP would be able to achieve its goal of forming the government at the centre or end up denting the prospects of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) PM nominee, Narendra Modi, which is the sole aim of the Congress Party as it has almost conceded defeat in the General Election 2014. The great artist, Arvind Kejriwal, has already put in to action his time tested machination of creating as much confusion as possible in the enemy ranks. To distract their attention from real issues, he has started agitating on most ephemeral, trivial and even non-existent issues like transfer of the very junior police officers. He has propped up his law minister to create more than enough material to keep the media engaged so that their attention is effectively distracted from the political plans of the party for the coming elections. So the law minister is doing everything that comes under the class of lawlessness. He calls the Africans as “black people” (though his own colour would be considered black), drug pushers, women as “P**********”, defies the Delhi Commission for Women, alleges the media to be asking him questions because Narendra Modi has paid them etc. This man is going to create more such bites for the next 6 months and dumped by the AAP thereafter. Meanwhile AAP leadership, with the active strategic and financial support from their foreign sponsors, would go for the killing at the next general election, hoping to repeat the Delhi performance and manoeuvre its way to forming the government even without a clear majority exactly the way it has succeeded in forming the Delhi government being not even the single largest party in the Assembly. It is promising to perform the Rajsuya Yagya in India. Its horse has left Delhi on 28 December 2014. It had made its plans in advance. While the political establishment was under the effect of such a stunning occurrence, the AAP had already spurred its horse announcing the Rajsuya Yagya, that is a “corruption free India, promising a government of the ordinary citizens, by the ordinary citizens and for the ordinary citizens, as clean as the water from the holy river Ganga and as transparent as the day light”. The horse has already covered vast territory of India and collected tributes from more than 500000 people, who have become its members in less than 21 days! They are no ordinary people- they are the elite, highly qualified professionals. If the AAP succeeds in delivering what it has promised, it would have revolutionized democratic governance in India and could influence all other democracies. India is desperately demands a change, a change for the better; a change from a corrupt government to a clean and transparent government. The AAP has come forward to deliver such a change. That is the sole reason why people have supported them. That is why they are hopeful of winning people’s trust even in the general elections. Everyone is conscious of the difficulties they are going to encounter. But at the same time, everyone is also conscious of people’s power. The people have asserted in 1977 against the black emergency rule of Indira Gandhi and the corrupt Congress government of Delhi and Rajasthan in December 2013. They are going to do the same, provided, the AAP government in Delhi does not falter. Its attempts towards creating confusion by choice is hurting its own interests & image, and raising doubts in the minds of political thinkers, commentators and civil society by and large, in its capabilities to deliver.
The AAP has to update its working. As the best of computer is susceptible to virus attack & damage, a political party comprising of even the holiest men can suffer damage. The AAP has to maintain humility, which has suffered in the past one week due all to the Dharana by Kejriwal & his cabinet at the Rail Bhawan, public misconduct of Somnath Bharati the Law Minister against the African men & women, sexist remarks of its bard, distasteful language of several of its members, arrogance similar to the ministers of the previous government etc. It has lost too much ground in less than 4 weeks that it has been in government. It can ignore harsh comments from the public at its own cost, since most of them emanate from people wishing success to the AAP efforts to bring transparency in public affairs and people’s participation in running the government. It has some credit to itself: it is being copied by the Congress government in reducing electricity tariff in Haryana and Maharashtra; police security enjoyed vulgarly by CMs/Ministers/MLAs and other VIPs has come down everywhere; the drinking water tanker mafia in Delhi raking several millions of rupees every month in illegal trade in water has conclusively ended; policemen and other officials have stopped taking bribes openly; and all political parties have opted to nominate only such candidates as are without any criminal background. However, it has yet to initiate any constructive work or project of public benefit. It is surviving on anti Congress, anti-BJP rhetoric alone. It avoids mentioning other parties, charged with mass scale corruption or crime. It has fastened the charge of corruption on both the Congress and the BJP. It forgets the bigger and more powerful players of crime and grime in the states, which have been under the vice like grips of a few families on the strength of money and muscle power wielded by them. Unless such empires of crime are torn to pieces, any dream of providing a clean and/or transparent government is as distant as any Utopia.