False promise, anarchy, planned exit define AAP

Special to Times of Oman

Chaos, anarchy, allegations, controversy and a general sense of helplessness were the order of the day during AAP's short stay in power in Delhi. Time and again, Arvind Kejriwal has emphasised that the main purpose of his entry into politics is to eradicate corruption, as if he were the one and only "Avatar" sent by the heavens to clean up the system. He alleges corruption by just about every politician he runs into (many of them are, undoubtedly, corrupt).

If the stakes were so high, why did he not attempt to prove his credibility by remaining in power for a while longer and establish himself as a clean politician? The AAP raised issues of scams and lodged FIRs, but left them unsubstantiated and unresolved. There appeared to be a distinct method to its madness. Work was left incomplete on purpose — to be exploited as "tools of excuse" in upcoming election campaigns.

Kejriwal praised the media before forming his Delhi government. However, media bashing started as soon as it began to question his actions and false claims, including the disrespectful comments and arrogance of his ministers. It is no wonder that he recently said at a public rally "Media ko bhi sabak shikhana hai" (the media, too, must be taught some lessons).

Let's go back. Inspired by the non-violent movement of his mentor — social activist Anna Hazare — Kejriwal joined Team Anna and made lots of noise for passage of the "Lokpal Bill". However, ideological differences with Team Anna caused Kejriwal and his associates to break away and enter mainstream politics.

The "Aam Admi Party (AAP) was launched as a platform to fulfill Kejriwal's political aspirations. The success of AAP in the Delhi Assembly elections surprised even the AAP, along with many political leaders and pundits.

The verdict underscored the strong sentiment of the people that this was a time for change. It was clear that the electorate had lost trust in current governance and corrupt practices, but loved the fresh, new faces of the AAP and their pre-election promises.

Faced with spectre of government formation in Delhi, Kejriwal showed his referendum tactics and waited for the people's opinion. There existed real challenges for the AAP, such as the fulfilment of pre-election promises and good governance. So they started with gimmicks, initially refusing official vehicles for ministers, and made a big "tamasha" regarding the residence of Kejriwal and his family.

Controversy would not let go of the AAP government. The much hyped "Janta Darbar" resulted in utter chaos and was finally scrapped. It was ridiculous to witness a sitting chief minister go on "dharna" (sit-in demonstration) in front of the Rail Bhavan, threatening to jeopardise the country's Republic Day festivities.

The prevailing system of endorsement by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, was used to pass the money bill. However, the AAP did not like this procedure for tabling the "Lokpal Bill". The game plan here was a planned exit which was well-executed.

Thus, the era of dramatic 49 days of AAP governance came to an end. Kejriwal did not feel compelled to seek the people's opinion in a referendum prior to quitting.

Given his inclination to enter mainstream politics to eradicate corruption from inside, what was his hurry in staging the drama of pre-planned exit?

When the opportunity presented itself, why did he not exhaust all possible options to establish a genuine attempt at sincere governance? Kejriwal and his associates realised that promises made by them could not be fulfilled.

From the very beginning, they fooled the people and chalked out a quick exit plan to return to the electorate with issues and excuses, and a fresh set of false claims with an eye on the forthcoming Lok Shabha elections.

After his resignation, Kejriwal addressed the CII meet to clarify that "he is not against capitalism but against crony capitalism," that he is not against business but against "corrupt business".

He referred to a survey conducted by an independent agency and claimed "corruption had been reduced in Delhi" and that "medicines were available in hospitals in Delhi" during AAP rule.

Within two days, the entire nation learnt that no such survey had been conducted by the said agency. He also claimed that the country's Attorney General and several senior legal experts had been consulted prior to introducing the "Jan Lokpal Bill". One such legal expert and the Attorney General soon, thereafter, denied that any such consultation.

Until Anna Hazare officially announced his support for Mamata Banerjee and his decision to campaign only for the TMC (Trinamul Congress) in the upcoming Lok Shabha elections, Kejriwal used to claim "all is well" with respect to his relationship with Anna.

A cartoonist rightly used the popular Hindi film song "Abhi na jaao chhod kar" depicting Kejriwal pleading with Anna "Do not go without me..."

The writer is a poet and  an author. 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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