Kejriwal acted according to the script prepared by its think-tank. The party must have heaved a sigh of relief after abdicating its responsibility to govern albeit amid odds. Now it can focus on the Lok Sabha poll which is only two or three months away
Special to Times of Oman
Aam Aadmi party (AAP) honcho Arvind Kejriwal has finally put down his paddles in a huff and in a hurry. The common people who voted him to power in Delhi certainly wanted him to fulfil all the promises his party had made in its manifesto. However, they wouldn't wish anarchy to prevail in the state. Unable to swim against the current, Kejriwal had no alternative but to go cold turkey on governance.
It was widely expected that his government would call it quits the moment it decided to table its Holy Grail, the Jan Lok Pal bill, in the assembly without the consent of the central government, something which is contrary to the tenets of the nation's constitution. As Kejriwal's actions in the past point to a streak of unpredictability in his character, many were keeping their fingers crossed till the moment he announced his resignation.
AAP decided that it was the opportune time to quit and focus on the parliamentary elections where the stakes are, certainly, higher.
It could tell the voters that the government had become a martyr for fighting against corruption and the only way to enable it to root out corruption was now to vote for it in the Lok Sabha elections pencilled in for May.
The Jan Lok Pal fiasco was a fitting coda to a tale of theatrics, anarchy, protests and populism. The party knew full well that the so-called Jan Lok Pal bill, which flouted constitutional requirements, would be torpedoed by a court of law, if not by the legislators of the BJP and the Congress which had been supporting the government from outside.
Kejriwal knew that such a crucial bill, which would have far-reaching effects if passed, needed intense discussions and debates on several forums before its introduction in the assembly. But his intention was to come out as a martyr on the issue of corruption and a fossilised system that fortifies it. As expected, Lt.Governor Najib Jung instructed the speaker against the tabling of the bill.
Kejriwal acted according to the script prepared by its think-tank. The party must have heaved a sigh of relief after abdicating its responsibility to govern albeit amid odds. Now it can focus on the Lok Sabha poll which is only two or three months away. The party wants and hopes for a big bang entry into parliament like it did in the Delhi assembly poll.
It is perhaps the first party to come out with the first instalment of the list of candidates for the parliamentary poll. Its key member, Kumar Vishwas, the poet-turned politician, will lock horns with Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
He must be hoping that his racist remarks against women in a southern state would not dent his chances in a distant land like Amethi. Another key member, Prashant Bhushan, who is likely to be in the second list, was rooting for a referendum in Kashmir over the presence of army in that state and withdrawal of police from Naxal-hit areas. Anjali Damania, who is being pitted against BJP's Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur, herself was said to have been involved in an irrigation scandal in Maharashtra. The buzz is that Kejriwal is waiting to see which constituency BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi would choose for his electoral battle so he could stand against him.
One of the key issues the party highlighted before it performed its cut and run act was corruption in the corporate world, something which people are aware of but unable to do anything. In a specific case, AAP targeted Mukesh Ambani's Reliance. The Kejriwal government filed FIRs against Mukesh Ambani, Union Oil Minister Veerappy Moily and former union oil minister Murali Deora over irregularities in natural gas prices. Rumours had been afloat for sometime after Jaipal Reddy was shunted out from the petroleum ministry for being reluctant to dodgy adjustments.
No doubt, AAP's charges were vehemently denied by the parties concerned. Congress and other parties say it is no great shakes as the matter has already been in the court.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is Kejriwal who has showed the guts to highlight the matter and it will certainly be a key campaign issue for the new party.
Sure, AAP is wet behind the ears and full of contradictions and, to a great degree, just sound and fury. But some issues and points it has brought before the voters are in step with the overall concerns of our society and these are matters which pretty much all parties would like to side-step.
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.