Personalities

Battered & bruised, Arvind Kejriwal could soon crack! Sources say the CM disheartened by the scale of conflict and hostility

I won’t be surprised if Arvind decided to call it a day, yet again! Who else can edure such relentless attack over petty politics?

It is both easy and convenient to bash Arvind Kejriwal for everything that has gone wrong with the Aam Aadmi Party. Whether it was the farmer’s suicide/accidental death, confrontation with Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, attack on media, or his ongoing clash with Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, everyone is holding the Delhi chief minister responsible for the mess Delhi finds itself in.

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High-handedness, inflated self-esteem and delusional fantasies of power are characteristics attributed to AK, but it sounds ridiculous when it comes from political leaders who are themselves knee-deep in the filth of corruption. They are the ones who are the real megalomaniacs, not someone who is not even two years old in politics.

It is also difficult to comprehend the latest assault on Kejriwal. His confrontation with Najeeb Jung on the issue of the appointment of bureaucrats is baffling! How can a Government which enjoys the mandate of its people be sidelined and not have any say in the selection process? It is Arvind Kejriwal who has to work with officers like Ms Shakuntla Gamlin, not Najeeb Jung. Kejriwal is asking for a basic right.

Constitutionally, the Lt Governor is supposed to take such decisions in consultation with the chief minister. How can he overrule Arvind on this matter?

The Delhi Police continues to operate under the aegis of home ministry. The AAP has limited control over the law and order situation in the capital. Clearly, the Delhi chief minister is handicapped, yet he is expected to solve all of Delhi’s problems. But unless Delhi achieves full statehood, Arvind will continue to be a suitable scapegoat for all.

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The center may have a point. Delhi is the seat of power and the Government of India fears it could lose control over critical entities like police, bureaucracy etc. But this is a weak and dated argument. Delhi has achieved full-fledged assembly with legislative powers now, there is an elected Government with unprecedented mandate of its people. If Arvind has to fulfil his promises made during election campaign, he must have the basic authority to deliver.

There is no clear cut demarcation of powers and responsibility, the executive and legislative jurisdiction, for both governments. There is disorder and no one is backing down. It has become a clash of egos and the only sufferer will be the people of Delhi. Unless Delhi is granted ‘full-Statehood’, the problem will continue to exist. ‘Statehood’ will arm Delhi with enough power to have direct control over police and bureaucratic appointments. The allegations that Najeeb Jung is perceived to be the mouth piece of the Narendra Modi Government is a bit overstretched, but the fact remains: For Arvind to make a difference, he needs to have the necessary resources. It’s that simple!

The Delhi chief minister’s manners may seem to be highly confrontational, but what he is asking for should have been a CM’s right to begin with. There is a need to revisit the impractical constitutional  arrangements.

Look, the issue shouldn’t have been allowed to extend beyond a certain point. Arvind is being forced to embroil himself in petty politics. He should be allowed to do his job without undue and vengeful interference.

Perhaps, it is time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to step in and give it a closure. Like a true statesman, he should express solidarity with the Delhi Government and help them run the State seamlessly. The Government’s fear that it will lose control over critical establishments is a misplaced premise. There is no reason why AAP will hold the city to ransom once it gains control.

The Delhi Government is an integral part of India’s political establishment. Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP have no intentions of jeopardizing the security of India. And in any case, whenever there is a situation which warrants the center’s attention, the powers can be shared keeping India’s best interests in mind.

Arvind Kejriwal and the Prime Minister must fix a date for the resolution, and that can only happen if they sit together with an open mind, realise the gravity of the situation and begin curative measures. The Central and the Delhi Government can work together. Division of responsibilities will ensure that.

Arvind Kejriwal has faced all types of people with their own sets of hatred, but he seems unaffected. He is not afraid to take tough decisions. The Prashan-Yogendra episode had put AAP in a dangerous situation, there were hushed voices that spoke of the emergence of a parallel political party, party leaders started making all kinds of demeaning comments on public platforms and generally accused AK of ruling with an iron hand. Well, the last part may not entirely be a bad thing.

More than two-third of MLAs are first timers. There is every likelihood that they would be fascinated and tempted by all the attention and the scope to manage money. It would not have been surprising if there were reports of bribery and corruption. Had Kejriwal not been pro-active, who knows, many news of corruption would have come out. If he is instilling discipline and doing it in a tough manner, what is wrong with that?

How can those who cannot adhere to party policies and codes of conduct be allowed to be a part of AAP. Such people will not have a place anywhere, for that matter.

Arvind Kejriwal is one of the most educated politicians today. An IIT and IIM product, who instigated fear among those who committed tax fraud in his capacity as a top ‘tax man’, must be having second thoughts about his decision to plunge into politics. He didn’t sign up for a circus show. Is it really worth all the effort and sacrifices?

For a brief moment, let’s take the politics out and see him as a human being.

In 1989, when he was employed at Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, he left his job and went to Kolkata. He met Mother Teresa at the Missionaries of Charity. He was really impressed by her and his mind got more driven towards social service. In 1993, he started his training at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration situated in Musoorie. In 2000, he thought of entering the world of social service and he established an NGO, Parivartan. He used RTI as a weapon to fight against corruption. His unconditional support for Anna Hazare in the historical movement at Jantar Mantar for Jan Lokpal Bill is still fresh in our memories. Why do we detest such a man?

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Let’s give the man his due. Let us all take time out and a step back. Let us go back in time and understand where it all started. He only wanted to remove the scourge of corruption.

He is not perfect and has his flaws, but an Arvind Kejriwal happens very rarely. He maybe the only politician in the world who has managed to rise to such level in just two years!