Arvind Kejriwal is to the road born, and if there’s one road which he is partial to, then it’s 7RCR (Race Course Road), which, as you are aware of, is these days home to a Sikh gentleman partial to sky-blue turbans and a mumble that places him in the list of people in the world who talk very little and when they do talk, very little of what they are talking can be understood or made of. Dr Manmohan Singh, who threatens to be India’s longest serving prime minister, belongs to that exclusive club, and someone somewhere tells me Arvind Kejriwal would not mind evicting Singh from 7RCR and help place somebody else there (most probably a BJP nominee) or move in himself!
Now, that’s too much liberty with thoughts and words, could very well be the repartee, especially from those who lay faith in Kejriwal’s sterling qualities. Arvind is no doubt street smart. That quality has been tested and Kejriwal has not been found wanting. The other Sunday when India Against Corruption activists led by Kejriwal took to New Delhi’s streets, where live India’s high and mighty, to get a bath at government expense, it was no coincidence that Arvind chose to plonk himself down in front of 7RCR while lesser IAC mortals like Hindi journalist Manish Sisodia and compere-in-Ramlila-stand-offs Kumar Vishwas were packed off to try and get close to 10 Janpath which has stopped housing prime minister material these days.
Arvind is a canny activist. He keeps his ambitions close to his chest like do so many blackhearts with their black money stash secrets. All along, right from when Anna Hazare came out of the blue, with Arvind on his tail, to take the issue of Jan Lokpal to Jantar Mantar and Ramlila ground and to Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, Kejriwal had taken care to keep up the illusion that he is a selfless and flawless social activist with ambitions running only up to finding a vacant toilet at Ramlila ground-in-agitation-mode. He swore to every television mike thrust into his face that he had no political ambitions, that politics is a dirty word and politicians even more so, especially the Congress kind.
Now we know better, and Anna Hazare even more so. The old lion has returned to his den — may be disillusioned, probably browbeaten — Ralegaon Siddhi, quietly announcing that Team Anna stood disbanded. Of course, he hadn’t taken into account Arvind’s steely resolve, another of his qualities much spoken of and seen most in his eyes, which Kapil Sibal said houses anarchy. Those eyes and near anarchy were very much at the core of the recent Sunday when Kejriwal showed his preference for roads, notably 7RCR.
Kejriwal has, with a certain crude sophistication. managed to get all attention centred on him. Anna is no more the fulcrum. In fact, some very anti-Kejriwal sorts have let it be known that Anna was exhorted (by guess who!) to fast and get out fast from centre-stage, his health no longer permitting him to wield his most potent weapon, that is: fasting.
That done, Kejriwal has now trained guns on Kiran Bedi. He sees a threat there to his ambitions, say some people at IAC core, of course, in private. These people say Arvind’s move to target both the Congress as well as the BJP was solely to ease Bedi out, knowing very well that the former IPS officer was as stubborn as him and wouldn’t budge until Kejrwal backed off, which is an impossible. Where Arvind scores is, he has the majority of the IAC activists with him, the rabble of it at least, and in street battles the rabble count more, literally. Bedi could never have engineered the ‘Sunday’ like Arvind did.
No wonder then that people and media are taking of ‘Team Kejriwal’. Team Anna is history. There never was a Team Bedi unless you hark back to Bishen Singh Bedi leading India in Test cricket long years ago.
And, for those who follow the gentleman’s game, there’s nothing much of the gentle in Arvind. He made that much as plain as a grounded Air India plane on the ‘Sunday’, when he told a particular TV channel’s mike that ‘Hum Ziddi Hain, Hamare Hak Hain Zid Karne Ka’. Note the third person in which he spoke, much like the Mughal emperors of yore in old movies of yore. The only problem is, the man now resident at 7RCR is equally ‘Ziddi’, may be even more so.