Anarchy of Aam Aadmi Party

After having watched the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government in Delhi function one is apt to wonder whether Team Kejriwal has made a travesty of governance. In fact, many observers had cast doubts on AAP's ability to govern given the fact that the party had been just out of its nappies.

The recent wacky incidents in Delhi seem to prove that they were right. AAP managers have to get into a huddle and introspect on an urgent basis whether what they have done so far would be approved by the commoners after whom their party is named.

The dharna (sit-in) by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters in the heart of Delhi just ahead of the Republic Day parade was irresponsible in the extreme. By defying the prohibitory orders the chief minister conveyed to the common man that lawlessness is a dominant gene in the new party's DNA.

Nobody has granted the AAP functionaries the carte-blanche to trash the law of the land. Democracy should not be seen as a free-for-all. True, there is a raft of systemic flaws in Indian democracy and they need to be recalibrated. But a scattershot or maximalist approach to reform is not just undesirable but dangerous.

The chief minister did not seem to give a fig about the Republic Day or the fact that the capital was to gussy up for the arrival of the chief guest, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mercifully, Kejriwal called it off in the nick of time and the nation heaved a sigh of relief.

If the common people had expected he would retreat with a mea culpa they were mistaken: he vowed that he would stage this kind of protest again.

Kejriwal asserted to the effect that he prided in being unconventional. No problem there. But that does not mean he can indulge in activities that militate against decorum and respectability. Out-of-the-box thinking is, no doubt, the need of the hour but it should not snap out of all that is sensible.

President Pranab Mukherjee was right on the button when he warned in his R-Day-eve address to the nation against irresponsible populism and shambolic governance. Without naming the AAP government, the president said that "populist anarchy" cannot be a substitute for governance.

AAP's chief spokesperson Yogendra Yadav was at pains, on TV channels, to explain that the president spoke generally about populism and the Delhi government was not in his mind when he referred to 'populist anarchy'. Yadav's attempt to infantalise the aam aadmi (common man) is certainly not a healthy sign for his party. The fact is that the commoners who have brought the party to power in Delhi are not amused by the party's infantile shenanigans.

The alleged mid-night raid on a group of African women by the Delhi law minister and his henchmen brought disrepute to India. Three of those women were reported to have identified the law minister who they said led the group which manhandled them and forced them to give urine samples.

The law minister who had sworn by Indian constitution went against its tenets by throwing the rule of law to the winds. The policemen who did not obey the minister's orders to raid and arrest the women proved to be more law-abiding than the latter. The cops, who came under the central government, knew that a warrant was a must for any kind of raid or arrest.

The chief minister's sit-in demanding the suspension of the disobliging policemen was tantamount to intemperate behaviour and judgement. In the event, he had to backstop his party's image by calling time on his sit-in, accepting a suggestion that two cops would be asked to go on (paid) leave.

Nobody has a clue about what the AAP government would do next. Will it order a probe into allegations of corruption against the Shiela Dixit government as promised in the party's election manifesto? 

Add to all this the party's key leader Kumar Vishvas' statement lampooning and running down the Kerala nurses and the scenario is subsumed with a mishmash of arrogance, recklessness, racism and even sexism.

The racist taunt of the party's key leader Kumar Vishvas has angered not just Kerala nurses spread across India. It has, in effect, nettled the entire south Indian women.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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