Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal: The reluctant fundamentalist writes Suhel Seth

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 8:48am IST | Agency: DNA

Winning an election is easy. Especially when all you have to do is abuse everyone else; be totally cynical and self-righteous. In urban India, if you wish to be popular, just abuse the politician. Ask me. I do it all the time on national television. But then again I am too much of a coward to jump into frenzied national politics which is why I am happier being a commentator than a doer and at least I am not hypocritical about it.

The problem with Arvind Kejriwal has to be analysed in the context of P G Wodehouse. One of his characters, Lord Fauntleroy would erect a statue of himself every time he looked in the mirror because he thought he was perfect. That is the problem with Kejriwal. It was, until some time ago, also a problem with a certain Mr Tejpal. Kejriwal believes he is India’s only honest citizen and possesses the panacea to all our ills. He doesn’t realize, yet, that he is only a human mascot of the cynicism and the distraughtness that has set in thanks to a vacuous Government.

Delhi went to vote on December 4 hoping to have a Government. The blokes in Delhi didn’t vote for an opposition. But then is what we have. An impasse in the basics of democracy. We the citizens of Delhi have become untouchables. No wants to govern us. Everyone is scared. The BJP is scared because they don’t have the numbers. The Congress is wiped out so whether they are scared or not doesn’t matter. The AAP is scared because now rhetoric will have to transform into delivery and where on earth will they deliver 700 litres of water for free to every citizen and slash electricity bills by half? AAP to my mind is a party of anarchists. They want to do every thing differently. Being different is one thing and pretending to do things differently is quite another and as far as governance is concerned, you have to work within the domains of established institutions. If someone told me to start cleaning the street tomorrow I would be aghast. It is not my job. I pay taxes so that I get some benefits. I don’t pay taxes to be Gandhian.

No one wants to govern Delhi because they are all eyeing the General Elections in 2014 and want to take no chances as far as letting the people down is concerned. But is that the politics of change that Kejriwal professes. Must we be forced to accept cowardice now where there was indecision earlier? The more Kejriwal and his ilk procrastinate, the more they will be seen as obstructionists rather than people who have committed to their new role: which is enabling better governance of the nation’s capital.

I don’t know who Kejriwal’s advisors are but they seem to be just like Rahul Gandhi’s. While Kejriwal is voluble, his utterances alone will not provide solace to a government-starved city like Delhi. What is required is demonstrable proof that while he can be good at rallying folks at Jantar Mantar he should be equally good at running Delhi albeit as an Opposition.

I hope he finds the time to read this column within his busy schedule of TV studio hopping telling us how much India loves this new Gandhi.


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